But Some of Us are Brave

(all images taken by Antonio Hernandez)

Yeah, that’s me standing in front of a TV featuring a still of me, holding my camera.

*record scratch/ freeze frame* You’re probably wondering how I got here aren’t you?

Well, I turned this blog into an art show. Like I told you I would a few blog posts ago. And now I’m back to reflect on the process and drop some photos of what you missed.

Drapetomania; the Strong Urge to Escape took place at Waller Gallery, a new gallery opened and operated by Baltimore native Joy Davis. You can read more about the gallery here.

drapetomania-0305

This show focused on travel, the African diaspora in the Western Hemisphere, black women, identity and escapism.

drapetomania-0307

The Process

Writing has helped me to feel less anxious about sharing my own thoughts aloud. Traveling and performing taught and prepared me to show and express myself in front of crowds. But before this show, I never had to show my interpretation of a group of people before. It was a lot. I was extremely nervous to show people how I saw people. Especially black people from a place that I was not born into. In today’s social climate, identity politics make it hard to claim empathy or even knowledge of an experience if you aren’t born into it. But in stretching myself and sharing what I captured in my travels I proved my initial questions about being black in the Americas. Which was something to the effect of, this is what it’s like here, is it similar there? And the overwhelming response was, yes.

It was also weird to go through ALL OF MY PHOTOS. Like, I seriously got caught up in my own memories looking at images. It was about 6 years of photography to choose from. Eventually Joy had to step and take over curation. Something I was legit having panic attacks about but eventually saw that it was for the best. She did an amazing job.

drapetomania-0315

This show was the second attempt at an exhibition. And it was in preparing for a show that never happened that I learned the little that I knew about putting up an art show. Once I met with Waller Gallery I had a decent idea of what I wanted to do and what I wanted to convey. There was a lot I didn’t have though, like RAW printing files or money. But that’s water under the bridge now. What’s most important is that the struggle of putting up the show, made the results that much sweeter.

drapetomania-0312

The Events

The programming might have been my most favorite part of the entire experience. I got to do an artist talk moderated by Sheila Gaskins, who is a major influence in the art scene of Baltimore and also my mother. I think she finally understands that I was doing more than Ayahuasca in South America.

1.pngThere was the Black Femme Supremacy Film Festival which is taking on a life of it’s own, more about that in a post to come.  You can read about it here.

That film festival was a major game changer for me. As an aspiring filmmaker, hosting a film festival centered on black female film makers felt like…power. I loved planning every detail of that 2 day long event.  Special shoutout to the team, Hilda and Samah! I made so many great connections in two days that seem really promising, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed on the future of those relationships.

We also had an amazing panel discussion moderated by Tiffany Autrianna Ward of Cores Brilhantes about Drapetomania and Afro Latina Identity. Featuring Professor Jessica Marie Johnson Assistant Professor at Hopkins University, Nohora Arrieta Fer, Afro-Colombian Ph.D Candidate at Georgetown University and Aurora Jane Ellis, Afro Costa Rican Journalist and editor at The Huffington Post.  Catch the entire panel discussion below. That discussion felt like something I had been waiting to do for a long time. To connect with other black people and actually discuss our feelings about the realities and myths surrounding our shared culture was relieving and healing.  Dash Harris  a primary reference for me in this diaspora culture work was in attendance! I still can’t believe that happened.

 

The Response

drapetomania-0351

It’s been nothing but love honestly. I’m so humbled by the interest in the work and elated by the reception. I especially love this write up by Jhoni Jackson in BESE.com.

drapetomania-0374

drapetomania-0335

I’m still reeling from the freedom of it all. Not only did I present photo work, but I dabbled in installation. And I can’t lie, it’s a great feeling. It’s fun and limitless and surreal, but that is also art making. And I feel like I can actually call myself an artist now.

The Future

Bringing my experience abroad back home to my city has left me feeling satisfied and complete. This isn’t to say that I won’t be traveling or relocating anytime soon, cause I’m nomadic, it’s just who I am, I’ve accepted it. But I am looking to find away to settle down (whatever that means for me). Moving forward we’re getting ready for the second Black Femme Supremacy Film Festival, so if you wanna be down, holla at ya girl!

Selected works will be on sale throughout the summer through the Waller Gallery online shop. 

And Waller Gallery will be tabling at the Brown Paper Zine and Small Press Fair in Harlem this weekend! Stop past the table and buy a print if you’re in New York between June 30th and July 1st.

unnamed.jpg

And the biggest announcement is that this will be my final blog post on WordPress as I’m taking my talents to Squarespace and working on getting my store up and running finally. My goal is to have a professional online store by the end of the summer, stocked with prints, and physical chap books. I think it’s a natural progression. Thank you for sticking with me through the inconsistent posting, silly writing and I hope you’ll stick with me on this wild and crazy ride.

thanks for reading and see you on the flip side.

“Black Bodies in Travel” on drumBOOTY radio

Last month I had the opportunity to catch up with Abdu Ali on his new podcast drumBOOTY radio on maskfm. It’s an incredibly insightful chat about my experiences in South America, most notably Brazil and Abdu’s time spent touring in Europe.

Click this link to access the podcast. 

IMG_6326

VONA my VONA

I’m still pretty high from my week at VONA.

I feel like Celie after Shug Avery kissed her.

Who knew that writing about dystopia, environmental racism, immersion therapy, death and leeches that make you suicidal would make me so happy? Tananarive Due, our fearless leader knew, that’s who. I like to think of her as the Beyonce of Speculative Fiction. I know- I know, big shoes to fill. And if Tananarive is Beyonce, who is Octavia Butler?

OCTAVIA BUTLER IS GOD.

At least she is to me when it comes to this speculative fiction book writing thing. So Tananarive Due is Beyonce, aka Jesus. And me and my SPECCC FICCC (rocketship) group, well-we are the disciples. A ragtag group of queerish nerds who dream of worlds without whiteness, the male gaze and dragons, (except the occasional neccesary one). We loved on each other, made each other feel seen and ate really well together. I’ve never felt safer. And that’s saying a lot considering what the past 6 months have been like for me.

I spent most of June in California experiencing my own surreal reality as a nomadic black girl tryna make it home while traversing rapidly gentrifying terrains. I got called a nigger in Santa Jose and was pick pocketed in San Fran and oh wee it’s a jungle over there. The homeless population in LA are aggressively ignored and white people don’t make eye contact and I think most black people are in prison. At least, that’s how it felt to me, over there. So coming home to the East Coast and being at VONA with all it’s radical-ness really reset me in the best ways. I can’t stop telling all my creative friends about the community I found. I feel so in love with the people at my writing workshop. In my dreams we’re writing the next season of Black Mirror and working on the next major Marvel film. We’re publishing all the books and getting all the coins and changing the current reality one spec fic story at a time.

Checking In #001

This post was surprisingly hard to write. Maybe it’s because I’ve been lucky to find myself getting paid to write now. Maybe it’s cause I hit the ground running on this return to Salvador. Either way things are changing and I’m not sure what direction to take the blog. I’m also pondering an extended stay in Colombia, which would change the central theme of “Black Girl in Brazil”. I’ve also recently accepted a junior editor position with a really cool fashion blog, on top of the online teaching gig that helps maintain the nomad life I live.

The latest venture is dabbling in creative direction. I find myself falling in love with the different skills needed to pull off a scene or look. Writing is solitary. Assisting on a set is community oriented. My teenage dream was always to be a filmmaker since being an extra on the set of “The Wire”. Being on a set feels like home. This time around, I came back to Brazil with a trunk full of cute vintage clothes for my pop up thrift store. I hired the dopest photographer in Salvador and we had a cute photoshoot in Santo Antonio. A few things changed last minute but that’s what happens when your producing creative work!

Follow the blog’s instagram page to see some behind the scenes footage of the photoshoot that will be released in November.

@_glowingpain

que coisa linda! só 25 reis #glowingpain #brechó

A video posted by @_glowingpain on Oct 29, 2016 at 1:22pm PDT

 

vai tem calça jeans sim! #glowingpain #brechó #calça

A video posted by @_glowingpain on Oct 29, 2016 at 1:20pm PDT

 

algumas momentos de o ensaio de Glowing Pain Brechó #glowingpain #brechó

A video posted by @_glowingpain on Oct 29, 2016 at 1:19pm PM

Corpo em Casa; instaLAR-se: silêncios, marcas e tensões

Experimental theater aims to trouble the relationship between audience and performer. Through breaking the fourth wall, the audience no longer passively observes the spectacle but becomes apart of the scene. Last night, at Casarão Barababá in Santo Antonio, hairy vaginas slowly made their way across a quaint living room. They rolled over spectators and trembled on hardwood floors. Bare breasts laid squished on a tiled kitchen floor as arms grasped at audience members who tried to stifle nervous laughter. 13938184_1771955066414373_393073765558646240_o

Playing on the functions of women’s bodies in the home. Four naked women literally inverted themselves and walked around a home, vagina first. I tried not to stare at the diverse looking labia that greeted me, chased me and silently hovered around the space.

13925940_1771956766414203_4462699307956425109_o

In the hallway, two women tried to get through the mundane ritual of getting ready for the day, despite a violent tick that continually disrupted the ritual. Simple things like putting on lipstick and mascara turned into something else resulting in black and red stained faces. It was hard to watch and I let the show feeling achey in my bones as if I was the one with the uncontrollable movement in my body.

13988208_1771954013081145_2789037633291094897_o

The first room featured a thin young man, caught in a web of red string that bundled thickly at his crotch. He is preoccupied with organizing the sting and each pull creates another web that entangles his limbs. All the pieces of string are connected from the thick bundle tied around his crotch.  Of the three pieces, this one didn’t take much for me to interpret.

13958156_1771957986414081_2296211697440901023_o

There was a ominous buzzing and cracking sound in the house that would play for minutes at a time. The audience was told to walk around and explore everything, as experimental theater is big on interaction.  It lasted for about an hour and you left the space wondering what just happened.

I’ve seen and been a part of quite a few experimental theater pieces and I’m a fan of simultaneous pieces being performed where audience members can come and go as they please. This was a good solid show. Although this genre of theater tends to rebuke narrative, the use of mundane rituals like putting on clothes and the theme of nudity really made me feel like I was in actual home and being privy to some really personal random weird shit. It was also really interesting to see four different women be naked and walk around on the hands, extending their vaginas into the air. Made me think of how society relegated women to just their vagina, but what would actually happen if we took ownership of those organs and led our walks through life from our vagina?

Corpo em Casa runs every thursday night until November. Next months installation is entitled “Há violência no Silêncio?”. You can read more about the group here. 

Women, Art and Activism

This past Tuesday, Coletiva Muitas, hosted a discussion about feminism, art and activism.  Performance artists Laís Machado and Mônica Santana, photographer and poet Helemozão and visual artist Marie Tharont came together and provided the back stories of their success as female bodied artists in Salvador, Brasil.
IMG_3772  I’ve only been back in Brazil for 2 weeks so the language is a barrier but my general understanding of the discussion was despite the difference in medium these women worked in they all had to battle patriarchy to bring their visions to life. For all the women except Marie Tharont who is French, racism is/was a glaring obstacle as well.

IMG_3779 IMG_3778 IMG_3777Every woman’s story was invaluable and unique. Topics ranged from the lack of finances to societies reaction to the female voice and how we as women have to continue to fight to be heard in the creative industries. I’m looking forward to more discussions from Coletivas Muitas.

Cicatrizes

unnamed-9This is it.

It’s for sale.

This time last year I released “Hunger”. What started out as an attempt to pay rent, turned into a labor of love and a secret affair. Here’s my attempt at travel writing.

“Cicatrizes” by Nia Hampton, edited by Bani Amor, designed and formatted by Maya Rodriguez, featuring a special story by Davi Nunes.
gumroad coverpics2 (1)