Queer|Art Awards Second Annual Eva Yaa Asantewaa Grant For Queer Women(+) Dance Artists

By: Jan. 22, 2020
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Queer|Art Awards Second Annual Eva Yaa Asantewaa Grant For Queer Women(+) Dance Artists

Queer|Art, New York City's home for the creative and professional development of LGBTQ+ artists, is pleased to announce the winner of the second annual Eva Yaa Asantewaa Grant For Queer Women(+) Dance Artists, Hollerin Space. Philadelphia-based duo Hollerin Space will receive a $10,000 cash grant to support the development of Hold On, a new work that researches algorithms of black assembly and theories and practices of being free. This particular work traces black gathering and migrations in the broad period between 1919 and into some optimistic future. Development of this work will include study and enactment of the Juneteenth tradition of call, drum & step as part of the group's training for the premiere of an ensemble production set for 2020 in Philadelphia. The ensemble will convene for 10 workshops over a 9 month period, centering research and world building, at House of Black Infinity located in Philadelphia.

Hollerin Space was one of 59 applicants who applied for the Yaa Asantewaa Grant in its second year. Four other dance artists were acknowledged as finalists for this year-Xianix Barrera, ChE Ware, Taja Will, and Anna Martine Whitehead.

The judges, who were selected by Queer|Art to review applications for the grant, include dance and movement-based performers and curators from around the country: Gabrielle Civil (LA), Jasmine Hearn (NYC), and Jane Jerardi (Chicago). Named in honor of visionary dance curator, critic, and educator Eva Yaa Asantewaa, the grant seeks to highlight the important contributions queer women and gender non-conforming dance artists have made to dance throughout history.

"Folks who care about the art of dance-an art of the moving body in time and space-try to preserve its wonders against disappearance," Yaa Asantewaa writes. "With this award, we seek to record and honor the creative innovation and labor of queer women(+) dance artists. To acknowledge them as full humans and artists informed and nourished by love, by experience, and by culture. To support and revere our artists for exactly and completely who they are; so they know a fierce community of peers, elders, and ancestors has got their back; and to make our world a safer, more empowering place for queer artists and, in truth, for all artists and for all people."

About Hollerin Space, Winner

Hollerin Space is initiated by artists muthi reed and Angela Davis Johnson. They make dream culture. They collaborate to unpack shared preoccupations with data, objects, materials, space, displacement, embodiment. Black life is a particular lens through which they center their work. They study and reproduce cultural ways and artifacts, generating a Hollerin Space "happening." They world-build, evoking blood memory, love, kinship, Black women, and Queer sensibility. Their combined tools for making include paint, found objects, trash, fabric, light, sound, photo and video technology, the QR code, public practice, migration, dreaming, and speculation.

About Hold On

"Hold On: devotions for hotfoot living is a series of site responsive performances that explore algorithms of black assembly, philosophy, and acts of being free. Hold On follows a wayward cryptograph unmapping of sacred sites of significance for Black folx, a journey through black and indigenous geographies. We enter the work to engage the deep study and practices of infinite kinship through play, with sound, objects, scene, gesture, adorning, portraiture, time and dream keeping. Hold On is a Hollerin Space conducted by a dream reader (Angela Davis Johnson) and a seed keeper (muthi reed) in collaboration with an ensemble of masculine presenting queer Black feminists, me/we les flameurs Sirenes. The Eva Yaa Asantewaa grant will support an incubation period for ensemble development at House of Black Infinity located in the historic abolitionist neighborhood called LaMott, Philadelphia, PA. We are so happy to be receiving funding support and inclusion in the Queer|Art network.

About Xianix Barrera, Finalist

Xianix Barrera Flamenco, founded in 2012, produces flamenco performances that highlight bold and tenacious female artists and their unapologetically robust femininity. Continuously pushing boundaries, while remaining true to the flamenco tradition; female empowerment, queer themes, sexual identity, and social justice color the company's choreographic work. XBF's most recent production, "Mujeres", showcased a rare all-female cast that featured revered female and queer guitarist Antonia Jiménez, one of five professional female guitarists in the world. In Fall 2019, the company will embark on its first national tour with performances in New York, Portland, and Phoenix for their annual flamenco festival "Lluvia Flamenca".

ChE (they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist-organizer weaving ancestral healing, liberatory facilitation, and socially-engaged artmaking to transform systems of oppression and conjure expansive worlds of Freedom. They work in mediums of painting, immersive installation, harmonic vocal arranging, community organizing, and dance forms of the Queer Afro-Indigenous Diaspora. ChE is the Founder/Artivist Director of #DignityInProcess- an Intersectional Justice platform rooted in embodied artivism, Freedom Schools, and transgenerational Wisdom Councils to activate a movement of QTGNC+ Afro-Indigenous life beyond the binary. They are an honored Fellow with Southerners on New Ground: The Lorde's Werq and Intercultural Leadership Institute for their holistic equity framework, Afro-Indigenous Liberatory Praxis.

Noemí Segarra Ramírez works collaboratively across disciplines with movement improvisation, performance, intervention, documentation and the creation of online archives. Her Puerto Rico based research project, PISO proyecto @piso_proyecto aligns collaborations which explore our rights as citizens in Puerto Rico and the world. Relying on imagination and the creative process, she unites, organizes, and seeks the infrastructure needed to continue making art from embodied praxis; empowering a sense of co-creation as an alternative to the alienation and passive consumption that capitalism perpetuates. Segarra's commitment is pushing forms and the medium forward, remaining grounded in local context yet open to interconnection at a larger scale.

About Anna Martine Whitehead, Finalist

Anna Martine Whitehead received her MFA in Social Practice from California College of the Arts, and has been presented by the San José Museum of Art; Velocity Dance Center; Links Hall; AUNTS; Pieter; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She has developed her craft working closely with Onye Ozuzu, Jefferson Pinder, taisha paggett, Every house has a door, Keith Hennessy, BodyCartography Project, Julien Prévieux, Jesse Hewit, and the Prison + Neighborhood Art Project, among others. Martine has written for Art21 Magazine, C Magazine, frieze, Art Practical; and contributed to Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings (Oxford, 2017) and Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of Self-Determination Movements (Soberscove, 2016). Martine is the author of TREASURE | My Black Rupture (Thread Makes Blanket, 2016

About Eva Yaa Asantewaa

Eva Yaa Asantewaa is Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney, New York's acclaimed center for dance and social activism. She won the 2017 Bessie Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance as a veteran writer, curator, and community educator. Since 1976, she has contributed writing on dance to Dance Magazine, The Village Voice, SoHo Weekly News, Gay City News, The Dance Enthusiast, Time Out New York, and other publications.

Ms. Yaa Asantewaa joined the curatorial team for Danspace Project's "Platform 2016: Lost and Found" and created the skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds, an evening of group improvisation featuring 21 black women and gender-nonconforming performers. Her cast was awarded a 2017 Bessie for Outstanding Performer. As EYA Projects, she has begun partnerships with organizations such as Gibney, Abrons Arts Center, Dance/NYC, BAX, and Dancing While Black to curate and facilitate Long Table conversations on topics of concern in the dance/performance community.

She was a member of the inaugural faculty of Montclair State University's MFA in Dance program and has also served on the faculty for New England Foundation for the Arts' Regional Dance Development Initiative Dance Lab 2016 for emerging Chicago-area dance artists. In May 2017, she served on the faculty for the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography's inaugural Forward Dialogues Dance Lab for Emerging Choreographers.

A native New Yorker of Black Caribbean heritage, Eva makes her home in the East Village with her wife, Deborah, and cat, Crystal.

About the 2019 Judges

Gabrielle Civil (Los Angeles) is a black feminist performance artist and poet, originally from Detroit, MI. She has premiered over forty original solo and collaborative performance art works around the world, including a year-long investigation of practice as a Fulbright Fellow in Mexico and a trilogy of diaspora grief works after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. A widely published writer and journal editor, Civil is the author of the memoir Swallow the Fish, which intersperses original performance texts, essays, and images with critical meditations on black feminist performance practice. Her recent book, Experiments in Joy, engages race, performance, and collaboration in essays, scores, critical dialogues, and performance texts. In addition, she has designed and facilitated workshops in writing and performance in California, New York City, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Haiti, among other places. The aim of her work is to open up space.

Jasmine Hearn (New York City) is a performer, director, choreographer, organizer, and teaching artist. A native Houstonian, they graduated magna cum laude from Point Park University with their B.A. in Dance. She currently is a member of Urban Bush Women Dance Company and also collaborates with BANDportier, Vanessa German, and Alisha B. Wormsley. They have worked and performed with David Dorfman Dance, Alesandra Seutin's vocabdance, Solange Knowles, Kate Watson-Wallace, STAYCEE PEARL dance project, Marjani Forté-Saunders, will rawls, Tara Aisha Willis, Jennifer Myers, Helen Simoneau Danse, Lovie Olivia, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, and with Nick Mauss as a part of exhibition, TRANSMISSIONS, at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Awarded a 2017 "Bessie"Award for Outstanding Performance with Skeleton Architecture, Jasmine has had residencies at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Camargo Foundation, and Dance Source Houston. She currently is a 2018 Movement Research AIR and a 2019 Jerome Foundation Jerome Hill Artist Fellow.

Jane Jerardi (Chicago) is a time-based artist working in the media of choreography, performance, and video. Her work has been presented by spaces such as the Joyce Soho, Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church, the LUMEN Festival (in New York); Links Hall, 6018North, Sector 2337, and defibrillator performance gallery (Chicago); at Transformer, The Warehouse, Dance Place, and the Kennedy Center (in DC), among other venues. A recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities' Artist Fellowship and a three-time recipient of its Young Emerging Artist award, she has also received support through its New Media grant program. She received a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist award in 2019. She holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Performance and a BA from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she studied choreography and cultural studies. She is currently on faculty and staff at the Dance Center at Columbia College, Chicago.


Queer|Art Awards Second Annual Eva Yaa Asantewaa Grant For Queer Women(+) Dance Artists

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