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On July 12th Shani will be performing in Times Square with Mendi + Keith Obadike’s Compass Song. Join them at 11am on Broadway Plaza between 45th and 46th streets.

 

“Turn your walk through Times Square into a journey through a song. Artists Mendi + Keith Obadike have stretched fragments of music, poetry, stories, and myths across the pedestrian plazas and surrounding blocks in all four cardinal directions, for visitors to discover whether they’re exploring theneighborhood or simply on their way to work. The result is Compass Song, an app-based public sound artwork inspired by Times Square’s rich history as the Crossroads of the World. 
 
A special kick-off performance exemplifying the Compass Song experience will take place on the Broadway Pedestrian Plaza between 45th and 46th Street. Sixteen performers will vocally recreate the city’s sounds as they hear them and then begin singing the freedom song Walk With Me as they divide into four ambulatory groups, each group walking off in one of the cardinal directions. The audience is encouraged to follow whichever group they choose, finding their own individual viewing and listening experience across the landscape of Times Square. Like the app itself, it is an invitation to meditate on the process of finding yourself at a crossroads and choosing your path.”
With Mikel Banks, Monstah Black, Joshua Bowens, Julie Brown, Rashida Bumbray, Nia Drummond, Asma Feyijinmi, Jovian Ford, Paloma McGregor, Nina Angela Mercer, Sharaé Moultrie, Shani Jamila, Sue Rock, Jamara Wakefield, and Akron Watson.
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Artist and cultural worker Shani Jamila shares how her family lineage and world travels shape her journey toward justice. Inspiring lessons about the social significance of art and how it can teach us to see emerge from the stories she tells. Shani is a managing director of the Urban Justice Center in New York City, where she curates exhibits and events with a human rights focus.

 

 

Shani’s portrait and quote are featured in a permanent installation at her alma mater, Spelman College. The mural, named “A Choice to Change the World,” also features women such as Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells, Rosa Parks, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Toni Cade Bambara, Shirley Chisolm, Michelle Obama and Alice Walker.

 

 

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Shani recently traveled to Havana to attend the opening of the Significations exhibit at the Centro Provincial de Artes Plastics y Diseno. Featured artists include Shani, Deb Willis, Sara Shamsavari and so many more great talents. It’s curated by the brilliant Awam Amkpa. Africa as a place and a font of diaspora has long served as an energizing if contentious context for producing, mediating, and sustaining art and art making. Significations is a dialogic exhibition that frames contemporary imaginations of a capacious Africa as a subject of conversation among artists from all over the Atlantic World. It extends a previous exhibition ReSignifications, that opened in Florence, Italy, in 2015. If you or those you love are in Havana any time before June 5th, please stop by and spread the word!

 

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Shani recently had the opportunity to travel to Chile. She visited a coastal city that was one of Pablo Neruda’s hometowns, spent time in the country’s capital Santiago, gazed at the Andes mountains and took a hot air balloon ride over the Atacama Desert– known as the driest place in the world. She also visited the beautiful country of Panama! Click here to check out her travel photography on her Instagram account.

 

Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter

 

 

Shani is a member of the Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter collective, which works in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives. Currently, BWA for BLM is included in a group exhibition,”Vanishing Points” at New York’s James Cohan Gallery, and at Project Row Houses in Houston, TX. If you are in either city, please stop by!

 

 

The Porter Colloquium

 

 

Lastly, Shani traveled down to DC to attend the Porter Colloquium on African American Art at Howard University. In the dawn of her career, she organized a symposium series about the arts and human rights on Howard’s campus, so it was really wonderful for her to be back “home” for this occasion.

 

APPLICATION OPPPORTUNITIES

 

Please see below for news about two organizations that are currently accepting applications for upcoming opportunities. Shani is a mentor at New INC and a Resident at TED, and highly recommends both groups. If either of these would be a good fit for you or someone you know, please apply and forward widely!

 

 

NEW INC is “the first museum-led cultural incubator dedicated to supporting innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship across art, design and technology. It occupies eight thousand square feet of dedicated office, workshop, social and presentation space. Each year they select an outstanding interdisciplinary community of one hundred members who are investigating new ideas and developing sustainable practices.” Applications are now open, click here to learn how you can become a part of this dynamic organization.

 

“The TED Residency program is an incubator for breakthrough ideas. It is free and open to all via a semiannual competitive application. Those chosen as residents spend fourteen weeks at the organization’s headquarters in New York City working on their ideas.” If you are interested in applying for the 2017 Fall Residency cohort, click here to learn more.

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New York Times Broadcast

shani jamila
 

Shani is featured in a New York Times broadcast about how American identity is constructed. The conversation, which was filmed live at the NYT offices, is resonating with tens of thousands of people from around the world– it reached over 190,000 views after just one day!!
 

The NYT describes the series as follows: “What makes someone American? That’s the central theme of “Hyphen-Nation,” which tackles the issue of American identity being tied to the concept of “whiteness” through the lens of 9 people who don’t identify as white.” Join Bayete Ross Smith, Armando Somoza and Shani by adding your comments on race, identity and citizenship to the discussion posted below from the NYT Facebook page.
 


 

Afro Punk Harlem Takeover

shani jamila
 

Shani loved hosting a conversation with this magical group of women: musician Tamar-Kali, dancer and choreographer Adia Whitaker, director Ashley Brockington and writer Feminista Jones. The panel was preceded by an incredible performance of Demon Fruit Blues, featuring Ase Dance. Many thanks to the co-sponsors AfroPunk and the Harlem Stage, in addition to all the members of the sold out audience!
 

The Schomburg Center

shani jamila
 

In January Shani was pleased to host a spirited discussion of writers and scholars at Harlem’s renowned Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The event featured Brittney Cooper, Susanna Morris and Robin Boylorn taking on popular culture, politics, race and gender as they celebrated the launch of their new book The Crunk Feminist Collection. Click here to watch!
 

The Whitney Museum

shani jamila
 

On Inauguration Day, Shani was proud to stand with fellow members of Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter to read their Notes Toward a Manifesto.  They joined a long list of artists who chose to spend the day speaking out about their principles and who they stand for.
 

Brooklyn Arts Exchange

shani jamila
 

Lastly, it was a true pleasure for Shani to head over to the Brooklyn Arts Exchange as a contributor to their forum on the five year history of Dancing While Black. It was a great afternoon visioning and strategizing about the arts and social change during Artist Services Day.

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