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Black Spatial Relics: Performance Showcase

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Painted Bride Art Center

230 Vine Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

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Black Spatial Relics is a new performance residency about slavery, justice and freedom.

About this Event

Gather with Black artists investigating freedom amongst narrative, storytelling, and an array of embodied practices at the Black Spatial Relics Performance Showcase. Pointing toward the multitudes of approaches to Black freedom, the showcase engages works in varied forms and stages of development amounting to a space for collective witness and dreaming. Hosted by activist, artist, writer and co-founder of the Black and Brown Workers Collective, Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, the evening features the brilliant works and practices of Vitche-Boul Ra, Rayla Reshawn, Misty Sol and Denise Valentine. The evening will also hold opportunities to learn about other efforts nationally working to convene witnesses in and around Black vigilant performance.

Artist Bios:

Vitche-Boul Ra is an Omnidisciplinary Performance Practitioner, receiving his BFA in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts (Sculpture concentration) from The University of the Arts in 2018. Primarily focusing on performance practices in the field of dance, he additionally studied in the UArts School of Dance under Donna Faye Burchfield. Winning the Edna Andrade Travel Scholarship from The University of the Arts in 2017, he studied Balinese dance in Bali, Indonesia to expand his movement practice and theatrical vocabulary beyond the western cannon. In Philadelphia, he has shown solo (+collaborative) works at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Vox Populi Gallery, Little Berlin Gallery, and Hightide Gallery. In New York, Ra performed in Fridman Gallery’s 5th Anniversary Festival, had work selected for the Center for Performance Research’s Spring Movement Festival 2018, and was curated into the New Dance Alliance's 2019 Performance Mix Festival: 33.

Misty Sol creates art that explores Black people’s connections to nature, wellness, and speculation. Her paintings, children’s book illustration, stories and eco practice are heavily influenced by Black history and aesthetics. Particularly, her grandmother’s history as a migrant farmworker, midwife, and gifted storyteller in early 20th century America. From her grandmother’s tales of dangerous journeys in the racist North and Jim Crow South, to her epic Bible tales and terrifying ghost stories, Misty’s work inherits a sense of narrative, sensuality, magic, timelessness, hope, the bucolic and fecund. But also contained are senseless abstractions, images of stark violence, and the weight of the oppression of being Black in an unrelenting world. Ultimately she uses these elements to distill elements of dignity, legacy, humor, and connection. With acrylic color vibrant as her gardens, the gurgle of a stream, a hymn her grandmother used to sing, the smell of onions, and the coolness of garden soil, she creates a body of work that explores and affirms the subjective experiences of Black people.

Rayla Meshawn studied sociology and psychology at Howard University. She utilizes her skills and interest in direction, performance art, and multimedia to create psychospiritual themed pieces. Her work traverses the fields of art, spirituality, and community activism. Ms. Meshawn challenges herself to explore more nuances with her work as a proponent of liberty. She is a Masters of Fine Arts candidate and presents performs throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Denise Valentine is a Master Storyteller, historical performer, consultant, and the founder of Philadelphia Middle Passage Ceremony & Port Marker Project. She is a storyteller of forgotten and neglected histories of the African Diaspora with special emphasis on colonial Pennsylvania. Her workshop, Historytelling, integrates archival research, folk heritage and oral history. As a historical performer she has portrayed Sojourner Truth and Phillis Wheatley. Denise has been a featured storyteller at the 2014 Ananse SoundSplash Storytelling Conference and Festival, Jamaica, W.I.; Pete Seeger’s 2015 Clearwater Hudson River Festival NY, and Richardson Hall at Princeton University. In 2017, Denise was editor and collaborator on an investigative art project, Philadelphia Assembled, with Dutch artist Jeanne Van Heeswijk for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She was the Inaugural Artist-in-Residence at Mount Pleasant, Fairmount Park Historic Mansion in 2018. Currently, Denise works as an educator at the Museum of the American Revolution. She also serves as advisor to the curatorial team of the remolded Early American Art Galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art opening in 2020.

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Painted Bride Art Center

230 Vine Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

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