Premieres "Memory Withholdings"
Friday - Sunday, April 25-27
Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX)
Memory Witholdings "...examines memory residing in the bodies and practices of African descendant communities in North America. [Love and Fortè looks at what they call]...a sea of ambiguity around race and inequity, [where] what seems clear, is the value of culture as a humanizing element that informs conversations seeking to dismantle inequity. With Memory Withholdings [they] intend to be participants and catalysts of these conversations," according to the release. There will be concurrent installations, plus a film and media design to help create an interactive environment. Find out more here
In a conversation with Love and Fortè, they jointly answered some questions about their collaborative history and share some poignant thoughts on the making of Memory Witholdings:
What brings you two ladies together?
History, time, spirit, revolution, craft. In these ways and an infinite amount of others, I connect with Nia in a way I have never connected with anyone. We share an understanding, sensitivity to, and commitment to these elements that propel our work and purpose.
What keeps you together?
It changes every day, every week, every engagement. Watching each other work, affirms "why" we work together. Awe, Energy, Curiosity, Politics, Love.
Your partnership is how old now?
How did Memory Withholdings come about? What are some seeds that help you to realize the importance of this work?
We'd applied to present work for the DanceNOW Festival at Joe's Pub and became super interested in the physical language and memory of the Black body. Nia was looking at her work in Ghana under the Fulbright Fellowship, looking at slave holdings in Ghana, and what those architectural spaces held. I had just watched the documentary "WattsStax" that covered the music festival in Watt/LA Ca, in 1972, years after the Watts Riots. We were noticing gesture, stance, gait- so colorful (pun intended), specific/distinctly Black, architecturally expressive, so thick! The way we nodded to acknowledge, the way our husbands walk, the way we welcome, pass, ignore, plead, boast... It's so hard, impossible in fact, to replicate without the personal experience, because, we claim that it is directly of our ancestry; our fore-fathers and fore-mothers mark on us as future generations, their legacy and omnipotence surfing through our bodies, living in our food, and announcing their presence in our spaces, i.e. the smell of grand-mommy's house, creaks in the floor, etc.
This is one hell of a rabbit hole that we've been digging through for the past 2.5 years- gleefully.
Our references over the years, are, but not limited to:
- Wattstax, the documentary film
- Ghana and the national dance- Adowa traditionally done funerals and public events
- "Beloved" the film and novel by Toni Morrison
- James Baldwin's The Artist Struggle for Integrity, part of talk given at the Community Church in 1963
- Billy Holiday
- Mama Nankuleku
- Our families, our travels, Kitchen Koversations with...
This is an inclusive event, correct?
In that it incorporates audience and non-traditional staging? If so, yes.
There are installations, film and media that make up the whole project. The collaborators are:
- Ebony Noelle Golden Artistic Director of Betty's Daugther Arts Collaborative
- Vincent Ballentine Media Designer and Videographer form Flux Innovations
- Veleda Roehl Artist and Audience Guide
- Coni Lopez Artist and Audience Guide
Life. Hoping, praying, chanting for Commission! Management! Representation! International Tour!