Sunday, March 2, 2014
Over the past eight years, I have had the pleasure and honor of designing for the Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now. This year, the founders, Kendra Kimbrough Barnes and Laura Elaine Ellis invited me to install a retrospective of posters at their venues in San Francisco and Oakland, California. The first San Francisco venue was at Dance Brigade's Dance Mission Theater, and the Oakland event was at the Laney College Theater. I attended Saturday night's Oakland performance and was once again completely blown away by the craft and artistry. Composer Gregory P. Dawson is now one of my favorites. He shared a piece with the Richard Howell Quintet that blended jazz piano, sax, harp, percussion and vocals with beautiful series of movements with fluid shifts between single dancers, pairs and groups. The piece entitled "birds eye view" descried the twits and turmoils of relationships between romantic couples, the perils of courtship and competition for a mate, and how we all fit into this maelstrom of looking for love and acceptance. It said so much without words. The festival opened with "Dying While Black and Brown", a piece featuring four male dancers and a simple structure framing the form of a house. The dancers moved on, over and through the "house" as they transitioned from county jail orange to prison blues in a never-ending cycle of entering and exiting the space, turning outward, inward and at times on each other. It was a chilling commentary on the incarceration and recidivism rates amonst Black men.
I may have an opportunity to hang the retrospective one last time at the ODC theater in San Francisco this week when Robert Moses' Kin present The BY Series and Draft, two original compositions crafted just for BCF.
As an artist specializing in the world of 2D design, dance and music take my senses and imagination places that demand that I draw and paint with a renewed, relentless effort fueled by a love for beauty and culture.