Jihan Imago

NBH (Natural Born Healer)

NBH (Natural Born Healer) is a poetic solo performance, halfway between fiction and autobiography. It speaks of homelessness, of a long journey: that of healing.

Of escape, of a tragic destiny in which the protagonist escapes death and sets out to meet himself. A solitary crossing of the desert during which memories are revisited, invoked, abandoned or cared for. One walks there as in a dream in the manner of Lynch’s cinema. The title is a nod to Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, which, like Gregg Araki’s Doom Generation, are two cult films from the 90s where macabre roadtrip and love stories are superimposed. The play questions the notion of departure, often with a very limited choice: “To stay and suffer, or to leave? This story is a prayer, a breath of life, an impulse, a healing song. It says “I have survived and I have just been born.” A tale about how to love and survive.

“As a poet and visual artist I like to think of each work as a stage of transformation. It is an incredible opportunity to go to areas of discomfort or unexplored areas and make a change. Using dance has challenged me a lot. I had to unlearn in order to learn. Imago, my artist name refers to the hatching phase of the butterfly after the larva and cocoon. The big question this piece asks is: Who does it have after the butterfly? We’ll find out together on stage.” Jihan Imago


Jihan Imago is a visual artist, performer, drawer and writer, born into a family of Algerian miners in the Hauts-de-France region of France in the 1980s. This heritage, this loaded cultural heritage, as well as being trans, have had a strong social impact on him, particularly regarding the discrimination that each of these aspects implies and the roles that are presupposed. Although these two subjects are not generally the themes of his works, they are nevertheless necessarily imprinted on them.

Jihan studied drawing and silver photography in the 1990s at the Saint Luc Institute in Tournai. To this day, he still uses illustration in the form of installations in the public space and as a research medium. He recently took part in an exhibition in the Brussels metro as part of the project « These streets, our streets » by Johanna Couvée, which brings together the work of 4 artists on the theme of street harassment.

It is only from April 2019 that he decided to approach the body as a medium of exploration and expression, discovering his own language. He then embarked on a two-year research residency in movement dance at Citylab Pianofabriek Brussels. The project, called Natural Born Healer, was created a year and a half later, and this solo was supposed to be performed for the first time as a work in progress in October 2020 at the KVS Brussels as part of the Wipcoop festival. He’s also the Belgium and Francophonia coordinator of Trans United Europe, a European NGO whose aim is to support and improve the quality of life of Black and Coloured Trans* people in the field but also within institutions.


Artistic direction & performance: Jihan Imago
Dramaturgy: Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi
Scenography/audiovisual creation: Enzo Tibi
Choreography adviser: Quan Bui Ngoc
With support from: Citylab-Pianofabriek, PodiumKunsten, Mestizo Arts Platform & Darna, maison des Cultures Marocco-Flamandes