About the Artworks and Artists
MARC BAMUTHI JOSEPH
Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s Black Joy In The Hour Of Chaos is a cycle of musical, dance, and spoken word poetry performances that evoke “Black joy” under a parachute-turned-performance space on the Great Hill.
Invoking the history of Central Park, the legacy of hip-hop, the Great Migration, New Orleans ‘second line’ parades and contemporary racial politics, Marc Bamuthi Joseph has composed a vibrant and participatory performance of music, dance, and spoken word. Performers move through the Park’s paths and congregate regularly under a parachute-turned-revival-tent for moments of intimate performance and celebration atop the Great Hill. Each week of the exhibition, Joseph will also engage the nearby Harlem community in weekly salons and picnics on the Great Hill lawn.
THE GREAT HILL ENTER AT WEST 106TH STREET AND CENTRAL PARK WEST
FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS, PERFORMANCES EVERY 28 MINUTES BETWEEN 12–5:30PM
AND OTHER EVENTS ASSOCIATED WITH BLACK JOY IN THE HOUR OF CHAOS
ABOUT MARC BAMUTHI JOSEPH
Photograph by Umi Vaughan
Marc Bamuthi Joseph is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, poet, curator and educator, whose body of work focuses on social action and community revitalization. Drawing inspiration from hip-hop, slam poetry, and contemporary movement, Joseph is known for using these art forms to create performative works that invite dialogue around broad social issues cultivate a collective voice for under-represented communities, and facilitate self-determined social change. Joseph is the founding Program Director of the exemplary non-profit Youth Speaks, which mentors teenagers in writing, and is a co-founder of Life is Living, a national series of one-day festivals designed to activate under-resourced public parks, with the intention of promoting peaceful urban life through hip-hop, the arts, and focused environmental action. Joseph is currently completing new works for the Philadelphia Opera, Chatauqua Symphony, and South Coast Repertory Theater. He is the Chief of Program and Pedagogy at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Dahlak Brathwaite is a multi-faceted hip-hop artist maximizing his abilities as musician, actor, poet, and educator within the transformational space of the theater. Since launching into the national spoken word scene by winning the Brave New Voices international poetry slam (as now seen on HBO), Dahlak has performed on the Tavis Smiley Radio show and the past two seasons of Russell Simmons’ present Def Poetry Jam. Dahlak has worked extensively in the past with featured artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, by writing and performing in his critically acclaimed plays Scourge and Word Becomes Flesh. As a member of the organization iLL-Literacy, Dahlak has showcased his seamless, blend of hip-hop, theatre, and spoken word throughout the U.S. and overseas. From 2007 to 2010, Dahlak has released three musical projects, which includes, most notably, his full-length album Dual Consciousness. Currently, Dahlak is crafting a multi-dimensional project entitled spiritrials that will be released as an album and performed as a one-man play.
David Szlasa is a designer and producer for live performance and public art. Specializing in producing works which utilize new media such as projection technology for theatre, dance, music, museums, industrial spaces, and site-specific outdoor installation. Known as a “design/build” design firm, David Szlasa Production and Design handles all aspects of production from creative content through to full physical installation in compliance with a high level of care and oversight. Past clients include Stanford University Arts Initiative, the de Young Museum, Contemporary Jewish Museum and Zero1 Art and Technology Network in addition to a longstanding collaboration with artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph. Szlasa has also launched a studio business that provides alternative sustainable residencies and micro-studios to professional artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Szlasa is the recipient of many awards and grants that help fund his multi-faceted endeavors such as a recent grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation and Creative Capacity. When David isn’t working for his firm or on developing his residency program, Szlasa often gives lectures or workshops on performance and public art at a number of colleges such as New York University and at smaller organizations such as Milk Bar in California.
Traci Tolmaire has a deeply eclectic background in the performing arts with rich backgrounds in dance, drama, education, and even administrative work in entertainment. Traci received a BA in Theater from Spelman College in Atlanta, and during her junior year of college she participated in an academic exchange program at New York University where she studied drama at Tisch School of the Arts. While there, she performed as an actor and dancer in Spell #7 written by Ntozake Shange and directed by Tony Award-winning actress Trazana Beverly. After college, Traci stayed in Atlanta for 2 years to further develop her skills. She began dancing for various R&B artists while working on her own one-woman show under the direction of Hilda Willis. Traci’s first experience working with Marc Bamuthi Joseph was as a performer for his pivotal work red, black and GREEN; a blues. She currently lives and works in New York.
Afaliah Tribune received a B.F.A in Dance from The Ohio State University. She has toured and performed with Rennie Harris of Puremovement and other artists such as Andrea Woods of Soloworks, R&B Jive Records artist JOE, Bebe Miller, Philip Hamilton and VOICES. An accomplished singer and songwriter, Afaliah has commercially written songs for several major advertising campaigns as well as for the CBS soap opera “Guiding Light.” Afaliah is currently the Artistic Director of the Brooklyn based contemporary dance company, SoulRebel Dance Inc, that infuses Hip Hop, House, and West African dance forms. As a choreographer, rapper, singer and songwriter, Afaliah uses her various artistic skills and interests to create a marriage between movement and music in a way that speaks largely to the urban experience.
Adia Whitaker has performed modern and Afro-Haitian dance both nationally and abroad for the past 16 years, and is currently the Artistic Director of Ase Dance Theater Collective. She completed a BA in Dance at San Francisco State University and the Professional Division U.S. Independent Studies Program at the Ailey School the following year. She is the recipient of several prestigious residencies including Restoration Dance Theater and counterPULSE Performing Diaspora, and has been awarded major grants from Theater Bay Area CA$H Grant and Zellerbach Family Foundation Grant. In 2011, Whitaker received an Isadora Duncan Award for her performance in “Ampey!” a choreopoem she wrote, directed and choreographed. Adia was a co-choreographer and touring cast member of Scourge, a choreopoem written by Marc Bamuthi Joseph that toured in the U.S. and abroad for two years. Adia’s work has been featured in numerous national and international dance festivals.
Michael Wayne Turner III
Michael Wayne Turner III is an interdisciplinary performance artist, working with the media of dance, spoken word, and poetry. All of Turner’s impressive dance performances aside, his true objective remains engage young people with his art through an educational lens and has performed and led workshops in over 50 cities and hundreds of schools across the country. He is the recipient of several awards for both his poetry and his dancing, including the first place award at the International Performing Arts Conference for best original monologue and best performance as well as co-championship of HBO’s Brave New Voices (International Teen Team Poetry Slam). Recently, Michael Wayne Turner III was involved in Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s Word Becomes Flesh, a 60-minute performance piece that examines the domestic role of the ‘father’ within the constructs of hip-hop culture.’ Word Becomes Flesh at its inception, but was reinvigorated as the five-man piece in which Turner participated in performances across the country for roughly two years (2011-2013).
Juliette Jones, Violin
An avid performer and highly-sought after freelance artist, Juliette Jones has established herself as a consummate musician. A multi-genre acoustic and electric violinist, she performs as a live and studio recording artist; and works extensively with bands, DJs, and solo artists. She also works as an arranger and composer and has contracted for a number of live, television and multimedia events, including the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 51st New York Film Festival. As a composer and songwriter, she has completed album projects for R&B singer/songwriter/producer, Ryan Leslie; and Gospel-recording artists Donnie McClurkin and Donald Lawrence under the direction of Darin Atwater. In addition to a great number of recording projects, Jones has performed at major venues across the country ranging from the Golden Globes, to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, to Glee and countless others. Juliette performed her solo debut with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2003; and has performed with a veritable list of “who’s who” in the music industry including Aretha Franklin, Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Pharrell, Common, Frank Ocean, Florence & The Machine, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole and many others.
Maryam Blacksher, Violin
Maryam Blacksher is an exuberant violist who approaches her instrument with precision, strength and grace. An alumni of Manhattan School of Music, she is a product of the late 90’s Brooklyn poetry scene which was instrumental in her explorative artistic expression. Maryam has had the opportunity to perform with notable artists such as the great Butch Morris, poets Saul Williams, Carl Hancock Rux and Aracelis Girmay; hip-hop artists Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, Kanye West; indie rock band Yo laTengo and punk rock vocalist Tamar Kali, among others. Maryam also lends her musical hand to the mind clearing practice of Kirtan, led by SistaShree.
Marika Hughes, Cello
Marika Hughes is a critically acclaimed cellist who has played across the country in a wide variety of professional contexts ranging from various symphonies, to three years with the Grammy nominated quartet, Quartet San Francisco, in addition to recording four separate albums and countless collaborations with major musicians such as David Byrne, Lou Reed, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige and more. By 2006, Hughes’ career had been firmly established on the west coast and even internationally with several tours of Europe under her belt with her bands 2 Foot Yard and Charming Hostess, but she chose to return to her birthplace of New York City to continue to focus on her solo craft and continue to collaborate with major recording artists. Since returning to New York, Hughes has released two studio albums of her own material under her own name, (Afterlife Music Radio and 11 New Pieces for Solo Cello) in addition to two other albums as a part of an ensemble (The Simplest Thing and Bottom Heavy). In addition to her continued devotion to performance as a cellist, Marika has also performed as an actress onstage and as a guest host on the radio show All Ears on WQXR as well as having been a featured storyteller on WNYC’s The Moth.
Christina Knight, dramaturg
Christina Knight received her Ph.D. from Harvard’s Department of African and African American Studies and History of Art and Architecture. She is currently on faculty in Theater and Dance at Bowdoin College. She writes and teaches about black performance and visual culture. Follow her on Twitter: @misscackalak.
Jacinta Vlach, choreographer
Daniel Bernard Roumain, composer
Brett Cook, designer
Brett Cook is an artist and educator who uses creative practice to transform outer and inner worlds of being. His objects feature drawing, painting, photography, and elaborate installations that make intimately personal experiences universally accessible. His public projects typically involve community workshops featuring arts-integrated pedagogy, along with music, performance, and food to create a fluid boundary between art making, daily life, and healing. He has received numerous awards, including the Lehman Brady Visiting Professorship at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Richard C. Diebenkorn Fellowship at the San Francisco Art Institute. Recognized for a history of socially relevant, community engaged projects, Brett was selected as cultural ambassador to Nigeria as part of the U.S. Department of State’s 2012 smARTpower Initiative and was a 2014 A Blade of Grass Fellow for Socially Engaged Art. His work is in private and public collections including the Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery, the Walker Art Center, and Harvard University.
David Szlasa, designer
David Szlasa is a designer and producer for live performance and public art. Specializing in producing works which utilize new media such as projection technology for theatre, dance, music, museums, industrial spaces, and site-specific outdoor installation. Known as a “design/build” design firm, David Szlasa Production and Design handles all aspects of production from creative content through to full physical installation in compliance with a high level of care and oversight. Past clients include Stanford University Arts Initiative, the de Young Museum, Contemporary Jewish Museum and Zero1 Art and Technology Network in addition to a longstanding collaboration with artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph.
Szlasa has also launched a studio business that provides alternative sustainable residencies and micro-studios to professional artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Szlasa is the recipient of many awards and grants that help fund his multi-faceted endeavors such as a recent grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation and Creative Capacity. When David isn’t working for his firm or on developing his residency program, Szlasa often gives lectures or workshops on performance and public art at a number of colleges such as New York University and at smaller organizations such as Milk Bar in California.
OPENING MAY 15, 2015
CENTRAL PARK’S NORTH END
FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS 12-6PM
THROUGH JUNE 20, 2015
NOTE: PARTS OF THE EXHIBITION MAY
CLOSE IN THE EVENT OF HEAVY RAINFALL.