(Photography Credit: Andreas Brandl)
Short bio: Nigeria-born Irish performer Mufutau
Yusuf made his professional debut at 18 years of age with the Irish Modern
Dance Theatre in ‘Fall and Recover’, the first of many works he would perform
with the company.
subsequently enrolled in a four-year undergraduate program at Salzburg
Experimental Academy of Dance, and since graduating in 2016, Yusuf has worked
as a freelancer with various choreographers and companies as well as developed
his own artistic works for both stage and film.
is currently based between Ireland and Brussels, where he works with Belgian
choreographer Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez. Mufutau was a recipient of the Dance
Bursary award in 2020 and has been using this award for the research and development
of a new solo work.
What did you do with your Bursary award?
I used the award for the research and partial
development of a new work called Òwe (working title), which is a solo looking
into my own archive and seeking to decode this personal archive through the
lens of the ancestral archive and exploring the many facets of an archive, from
the digital to the ritual, the live to the plastic and the individual to the
What has receiving a Bursary award meant
to you as an artist/for your career?
This bursary has meant a great deal for me, and even
more for my career as I venture into the realm of dance making. It has afforded
me the time and space to research and articulate the ideas I wish to explore as
a dance maker, an opportunity most aspiring choreographers often don’t get. So it
was really a blessing for me to receive it in this moment of transition.
How would you describe your creative
I’ve yet to personalise a distinctive creative
process but I often begin with an idea, feeling or thought process I wish to explore
and communicate, and any ensuing process is informed by those concepts. I’m
quite a visual person and can spend days daydreaming about images or scenes I
wish to depict in a show, meaning I can enter the studio at times with a
finished piece in my head, before even beginning any process. However, I’m
learning to not get too attached to those images and allow myself to dive into
What would you say is your biggest
challenge as an artist?
Self confidence and overthinking.
What is the best piece of advice you
received as an emerging artist?
To take my time with everything, nothing good comes
out of rushing, especially in the middle of a creative process.
Nothing is impossible or unattainable if it can be
Staying true to my vision and desire, compromise
only when absolutely necessary.
What or who has influenced your practice
I draw influences and inspirations from many
avenues, from books to films to visual and plastic arts. I guess it depends
most on my present mood, engagement or thought process, relating particularly
to where I am in my life and current global issues. I’m currently reading some critical
essays on Pan-African literature and visual arts, while enjoying a volume of
Giorgio de Chirico’s work. I believe something in these will influence my
current work, tomorrow it might be a movie I watch or a piece of music I listen
to. So basically, influences or inspirations can come from anywhere depending
on how open I remain to them.
What are you doing next?
I’m currently in the later stages of development of my solo work
meanwhile doing research on a new work.