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shani jamila
 

Shani will be debuting several new works on paper in this exhibition, opening tonight at Harvard University. If you are in the Cambridge area, please come to the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery for a reception beginning at 6pm.
 

The Cooper Gallery spring 2018 exhibition features an interpretive version of the remarkable installation, ReSignifications, by our guest curator, Awam Ampka. ReSignifications was originally presented in 2015 at New York University’s Villa La Pietra in Florence, Italy as part of “Black Portraiture[s] II: Imaging the Black Body and Re-Staging Histories.”
 

ReSignifications links classical and popular representations of African bodies in European art, culture and history as it interprets and interrogates the “Blackamoor” trope in Western culture that emerged at the intersection of cross-cultural encounters shaped by centuries of migration, exchange, conquest, servitude, and exile.
 

The installation includes contemporary artists who respond to the artists and designers of yore, and infuse inert objects of art with voice and presence across the ages.”
 

shani jamila

Collages by Shani Jamila

Tonight, Shani will be at the University of Virginia to moderate a post performance conversation with Rashida Bumbray & the Dance Diaspora Collective, presented by Dancing While Black.
 

“Join us for a FREE performance of Run Mary Run by Rashida Bumbray & Dance Diaspora Collective. This performance serves as the kick off event for “August in Perspective,” a series of arts events scheduled throughout the month of February fostering creative responses to the events of August 11th and 12th through theater, music, and dance workshops with guest artists, UVA students and faculty, community organizations, and local area high schools.
 

Rashida Bumbray has been performing the ring shout – a spiritual dance developed during slavery – for about a decade. For the newest installment of this work, Run Mary Run, she considers the harmonic ideas and tonal vocabulary of the McIntosh County Shouters – master ring shout artists – as a point of departure. Creating an active ritual for the ceremony of the ring shout, the performers go on a ride through the cosmologies of the Low Country, Geechie Sea Islands, Tennessee Blues, P Funk, and Hip Hop – relating the shout to the history of Black music. Run Mary Run is developed in collaboration with a large ensemble, the Dance Diaspora Collective and special guest master dancer, Adenike Sharpley, Professor, Oberlin College. Costumes by Gingie McLeod, Dindi Designs.
 

Rashida Bumbray Adenike Sharpley

“Motion and music and memory entwined” – The New York Times Best Concerts of 2012
 

“It was an enduring blood memory…we were in the waters of William Henry Johnson’s I Baptize Thee.” – 2014: The Year According To LaTasha N. NeVada Diggs, Walker Arts Center
 

Nominated for a 2014 BESSIE: Outstanding Emerging Choreographer
 

2014 Recipient: Harlem Stage Fund For New Work
 

The performance will be followed by a talkback session and panel moderated by Shani Jamila, with Paloma McGregor, Director of Angela’s Pulse and Founder of Dancing While Black, Rashida Bumbray, Adenike Sharpley, and local artists, students, and faculty.
 

About the Artists:
Rashida Bumbray’s choreography draws from traditional African American vernacular and folk forms including ring shouts, hoofing, and blues improvisation in order to interrogate society and initiate healing. Bumbray was nominated for the prestigious Bessie Award in 2014 for “Outstanding Emerging Choreographer.” Her performance Run Mary Run in collaboration with Jason Moran and Dance Diaspora Collective was named among Best Concerts of 2012 by the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff. Bumbray recieved the 2014 Harlem Stage Fund for New Work. Her work has been presented by Columbia University, Caribbean Cultural Center, Dancing While Black, Harlem Stage, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New Museum, Project Row Houses, SummerStage, Tate Modern and Weeksville Heritage Center. Bumbray received her MA in Africana Studies from New York University and her BA in African American Studies and Theater & Dance from Oberlin College where she studied Jazz, Blues and Afro dance forms with Adenike Sharpley and collaborated with the late Wendell Logan’s Oberlin Jazz Ensemble.
 

Since 2012, Dancing While Black has worked to bring the voices of Black movement artists from the periphery to the center. A New York-based initiative with national reach, DWB supports dialogue, documentation, process and performance, particularly among Black artists whose practices do not fit neatly into the boxes created for us. Over the past five years, DWB has produced the work of more than a dozen Black dance makers, supported 22 Fellowship artists in the developing of their practice and networks and gathered scholars, writers and artists to participate in diverse platforms that center their voices and build community. Our work is done in partnership with individuals, institutions and communities committed to creating a more equitable landscape. Now celebrating its Fifth Anniversary Season, DWB will host a three-day festival at Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance in May 2018 and is developing a new digital journal that will launch in Fall 2018.
 

Angela’s Pulse creates and produces collaborative performance work dedicated to building community and illuminating bold, new stories. We provide a home for interdisciplinary collaborations that thrive on both politics and play, and we are committed to developing timely performance works that provoke, inform and inspire. Co-founded by Paloma and Patricia McGregor, Angela’s Pulse was named for their mother Angela, an artist, teacher and activist who continues to inspire their work.
 

Dancing While Black/Angela’s Pulse is supported by the Surdna Foundation and Dance/NYC’s Dance Advancement Fund, made possible by the Ford Foundation.
 

This event was made possible by the support of the Arts & Sciences Collective Response: Moving Forward Fund, UVA’s Department of Drama and its Dance Program, The Carter G. Woodson Institute, Citizen Justice Initiative, and the University of Virginia Arts Council.”
……….
 

ALSO: Praise Traditions Workshop with Dance Diaspora Collective
Friday Feb. 2, 11am-1pm
UVA Helms Theater
Free and Open to the Public
 

……….
Kick Off Events for UVA’s August in Perspective Series
#runmaryrun #dancediasporacollective
 

Photo Credits: Shani Jamila

Shani Jamila Carrie Mae Weems Park Avenue Armory The Shape of Things

Legendary artist Carrie Mae Weems invited Shani to be one of “more than 50 artistic all-stars, centered on ‘interrogating the deep structures and multiple dimensions of violence'” featured in her convening at the Park Avenue Armory, The Shape of Things.
 

“As Armory artist-in-residence Carrie Mae Weems concludes her year-long residency, she continues to grapple with the history of violence in our country-personally and within her body of work. Weems curates this day-long convening of like-minded artists, writers, poets, musicians, thinkers and social theorists, inviting them to join her in a critique of our tumultuous political and social climate. Audiences are invited to join participants in interrogating this complex topic through a series of readings, performances, conversations, and other artistic responses held throughout the day in the Armory’s first and second floor historic rooms.
 

Notable participants include: choreographer and dancer Kyle Abraham; poet Elizabeth Alexander; performer Eric Berryman; performance and installation artist Tania Bruguera; urban revitalization strategist Majora Carter; innovator James Burling Chase; actress and playwright Eisa Davis; architect Elizabeth Diller; The Met’s Kimberly Drew; photographer John Edmonds; juvenile justice reformer Adam Foss; writer and performance artist Malik Gaines; social practice artist Theaster Gates; filmmaker Tony Gerber; FLEXN dance pioneer Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray; trombonist, painter, and composer Dick Griffin; dancer and choreographer Francesca Harper; trombonist Craig Harris; vocalist Nona Hendryx; playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins; cinematographer Arthur Jafa; artist and cultural worker Shani Jamila; trumpeter JAWWAAD; gaming pioneers Navid and Vassiliki Khonsari; NYU Professor and musician Jason King; philosopher Gregg Lambert; composer and Bang on the Can co-founder David Lang; novelist, filmmaker, and curator Ernie Larsen; Wooster Group founding member and director Liz LeCompte; Harvard Professor Sarah Lewis; journalist Seamus McGraw; poet Aja Monet; jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran; performance studies professor Fred Moten; visual artist Shirin Neshat; playwright Lynn Nottage; professor of contemporary rhetorical theory Kendall Phillips; doctor Jeremy Richman; poet Carl Hancock Rux; performance artist Alexandro Segade; writer and activist Tanya Selvaratnam; guitarist and composer Marvin Sewell; playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith; conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas; performance artist Carmelita Tropicana; puppeteer Basil Twist; theater director Roberta Uno; vocalist and composer Imani Uzuri; and Wooster Group founding member and actress Kate Valk, among others.”
 

Join us! For more details about what the day will hold, check out the article quoted above in the New York Times.

 

New Solo Exhibition by Shani Jamila

Photography and Collage Sourced from Around the World

 

Art@UJC  proudly presents PORTALS, a solo presentation of photographs and collages by Brooklyn based artist and traveler Shani Jamila. Curated by cultural critic and co-founder of ARTNOIR Larry Ossei-Mensah, this exhibition draws on Jamila’s years of international travel to nearly 50 countries. Utilizing the camera as a “portal,” the artist explores the connective tissue that binds humanity, while highlighting individuals and communities that often go overlooked and ignored. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events that will be free and open to the public.
The programming began on November 29th, when Shani spoke about storytelling in photography with:

  • Teju Cole, Writer, Art Historian and Photography Critic, New York Times Magazine
  • Laura Raicovich, President and Executive Director of the Queens Museum and
  • Larry Ossei-Mensah, Curator and Co-Founder of ARTNOIR

 

Shani Jamila, Teju Cole, Laura Raicovich, Larry Ossei-Mensah, Portals Exhibition

Photo Credit: Christopher Anderson (Teju Cole), Kris Graves (Larry Ossei-Mensah), Alaric Campbell (Shani Jamila) and Michael Angelo (Laura Raicovich

It continued on December 15th, when Portals: A Solo Exhibition by Shani Jamila presented One World: Art + Literature.

Photo Credit: Shaniqwa Jarvis for the New York Times (Chris Jackson), Derek Blanks (Shani Jamila)
Shani was in conversation with the legendary publisher and editor Chris Jackson.

 

On January 19th, we held a lunchtime discussion on Reframing the Image: Art as a Tool for Social Justice. Shani was joined by Brendan Wattenberg, Managing Editor of Aperture Magazine and Elizabeth Mendez Berry, Director of Voice, Creativity and Culture at the Nathan Cummings Foundation.


 

Finally, the exhibition closed with a reception featuring a performance by Broadway singer and voice of Shani’s short film Altar, Alicia Hall Moran and musician Brett Sroka.

 

 

This Saturday Shani will be performing at the Brooklyn Museum as part of the closing celebration for the landmark exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85. Join her and other members of Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter at 200 Eastern Parkway in BKNY. The performance begins at 3:30, wear red and come ready to play!

 

shani jamila black women artists for black lives matter brooklyn museum
September 16, 2017
1:00-5:00 p.m.
Cantor Auditorium (3rd Floor) and Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art (4th Floor)

 

Come together to celebrate the exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85 with artists, activists, and scholars. This daylong event honors the trailblazing artists in the exhibition, and highlights the intergenerational connections between art and activism.

 

Schedule:

  • 1 pm Curator Tour with Catherine Morris and Rujeko Hockley
    Sackler Center, 4th Floor
  • 2 pm Conversation with Howardena Pindell and Andrianna Campbell
    Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
  • 2:30 pm Conversation with Barbara Chase-Riboud and Catherine Morris
    Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
  • 3 pm Thomas Lax and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar on Blondell Cummings
    Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
  • 3:30 pm Performance: Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter
    Sackler Center, 4th Floor

shani jamila brooklyn museum black women artists for black lives matter

Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter formed in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and believes that a unified and polyvocal front is a powerful agent of change in the fight against racialized violence. In coming together, we are committed to producing work that addresses Black care and self-determination through public programming, exhibitions, and digital projects.

 

**Update: It was a fantastic day in Brooklyn! See below for some video and pictures from our performance.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

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!

 

 


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.

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.