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Equations for a Body at Rest

6 July to 22 August 2022

Johannesburg-based painter and filmmaker Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi presents a multi-site multimedia artwork titled Equations for a Body at Rest, which tracks the history and symbolic presentation of the Commonwealth Games (and, by association, the Commonwealth body itself) from its genesis in empire to the current day. 

Equations for a Body at Rest has three components: The Same Track (video), The Name Game (series of posters), and the Equations for a Body at Rest reference website. Each element works in concert with the others. 

The Same Track is a video work playing on screens around the city. It uses archival footage of Commonwealth Games athletes, spectators, and administrators cut together with images of economic and promotional activity in various British colonies and Commonwealth states. Through symbolic juxtapositions of scenes from different eras, the work highlights both transformation and stasis through time. The Same Track draws attention to the idea that the Games, including in its current iteration, is implicated in an ongoing political project centuries in the making. 

Find out more about The Same Track screening schedule HERE

The Name Game takes the form of a series of posters placed at billboard sites throughout the city. These posters – some reminiscent of, or alluding to, historical Commonwealth Games posters – are intended to interrogate the meanings of the Games in Birmingham and some of the discourse that surrounds them. Via QR Codes on the posters, audiences can also access an online database of information relating to the history of the Commonwealth Games and the Commonwealth itself. This curated repository is designed to illuminate, provoke and inspire.


– Barford Street Right, 10 Barford Street, B5 6AG

– Custard Factory Carpark, High Street Deritend, B9 4AA

– Chester Road Station, Chester Road, Erdington, B73 5JS

– Bradford Street Canal, Bradford Street, Digbeth, B12 0QY

– 67 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, B29 6BJ

– 245 Golden Hillock Road, Small Heath, B11 2PJ

Visit the project website at

A map of the poster sites can be found HERE

Alongside projects by Amy Ching-Yan Lam, Rajni Perera and Jon McCurley, Thenjiwe’s project is part of our programme for Birmingham 2022 Festival. This programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Canada House and Canada Council for the Arts.

Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi (b.1980, New York) was raised in New York, Harare and Johannesburg, where she now lives. She obtained her BA from Harvard University and her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Nkosi divides her time between studio work, performance, and navigating the field of art as social practice. Her first solo exhibition with Stevenson, Gymnasium, took place in 2020 in Johannesburg. 

Recent solo exhibitions include; Gymnasium, Stevenson, Johannesburg, South Africa (2020), The Beginning of Stories (part 1 of Many), Seedspace Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, USA (2017). Recent group and collaborative shows include; Mixed Company at the Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa (2021);  FIVE, We Buy Gold, New York (2020); Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, (2020); That’s What She Said, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg (2019); Lost Lover, Rampa, Porto, Portugal (2019); About Face, Stevenson, Cape Town (2018); Nkosi is the recipient of the Philippe Wamba Prize in African Studies (2004), and the Tollman Award for the Visual Arts (2019).