India Davis

India Davis, a choreographer, trained acrobat, aerialist and pole dancer, combines physical feats with multidisciplinary art forms to illustrate the breadth of her inspirations.

India Davis, a choreographer, trained acrobat, aerialist and pole dancer, combines physical feats with multidisciplinary art forms to illustrate the breadth of her inspirations. Skilled in moving image and writing, her visionary work has been shown both nationwide and internationally and is guided by themes of multi-dimensionality, spirit, and the link between legacy, timelessness and the body. India Davis is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Topsy-Turvy Queer Circus; the company’s sold-out shows have been annually featured in the National Queer Arts Festival since 2013. In February 2016, Davis completed a month-long solo exhibition of performance and visual art entitled From a Place with no Space or Time shown at two Oakland venues: Qulture Collective and The Flight Deck and featured in Bust magazine. In June 2016, she conceived, directed and starred in PARADISE, Topsy-Turvy’s first full-length narrative production that featured an all LGBTQ of color cast. Davis teaches aerial, pole and acrobatic classes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She recently co-designed Destiny Arts Center’s groundbreaking new Queer Emerging Artist Residency program.

Cyrée Johnson

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson is a black non-binary essayist and poet currently working towards an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University.

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson is a black non-binary essayist and poet currently working towards an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. They are a Poetry Editor at The Deaf Poets Society, a journal of D/deaf and disabled literature and art. Their writing has appeared in make/shift, bedfellows, and has been accepted into Issue 7 of The Suburban Review. Johnson’s writing considers disability as a cyborg reality, community as a state of shared trauma, and afro-pessimism. Their recent invited speaking engagements include the LGBT and Disability Forum at The White House and CARSS Town Hall at Mother Bethel AME Church.

Be Steadwell

Be Steadwell is a singer songwriter and filmmaker from Washington DC, whose self-produced albums and films feature her earnest lyricism, proud LGBTQI content and unapologetic silliness.

Be Steadwell is a singer songwriter and filmmaker from Washington DC. In her live performances, Be utilizes loop pedal vocal layering and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage. Be’s self-produced albums and films feature her earnest lyricism, proud LGBTQI content and unapologetic silliness. As she pursued her career in music, she began a career in film. Shooting and editing her own music videos, Be combined her love of music with narrative film. In 2014, Be completed an MFA in film from Howard University. Her most recent film, Vow of Silence (2014) received the Howard University Paul Robeson Award (2015), Best Experimental Short at The Black Star Film Festival (2015), Audience Choice Award at QWOCMAP Festival (2015), and was featured at the NYC Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In 2016, Be was selected to be a Strathmore Artist in Residence and the DC Commission on the Arts awarded Be an artist fellowship. In April 2016, Be took her music to the UK in a five-show tour. She has conducted songwriting, loop pedal and film workshops for LGBTQI youth groups internationally. Be currently tours her music and film internationally.

awQward

awQward is a collective dedicated to the financial sustainability of trans & queer artists of color.

As performers, poet/educator J Mase III & poet/mc/percussionist Vita E. have toured the country and the world. Being featured for their solo work in such publications as Buzzfeed, Colorlines, the New York Times, the Root, the Huffington Post and more, these two together create a powerhouse of words, spit, drums and pure Black Trans Liberation. When these two are not on stage, they spend their days coordinating performances for, and negotiating fair wages for, the artists on the awQward talent roster. awQward being a collective dedicated to the financial sustainability of trans & queer artists of color, these two create a space not just to curate talented performers and orators, but to delve deeply into cooperative economics. In addition to their daily administrative work, these two provide free and low cost consultations to trans & queer artists of color seeking to turn their artistic skills into a workable career, as well as have provided numerous small emergency grants for trans artists of color in crisis.

2017 Global Arts Fund grant funded #BlackTransMagick, a full length show that will travel to LA, New Orleans, DC, New York & Philadelphia.

Annie Gonzaga

Annie Gonzaga is a black, lesbian, mother who grew up in the favela in Salvador Bahia, known as one of the most racist and most dangerous cities for LBTQ people in the world.

Annie Gonzaga is a black, lesbian, mother who grew up in the favela in Salvador Bahia, known as one of the most racist and most dangerous cities for LBTQ people in the world. She is a practitioner of Candomblé and lives in the outskirts of Salvador. About her creative practice, Annie states, “I have been resisting and practicing survival for the last 500 years through all my ancestors who have preceded me.” She began to draw at a young age in response to the overt policing of her community and the violence that surrounded her. Annie states, “through art I can understand myself as whole. I can’t publicly assume my religious identity because the public space is dangerous, nor leave my lesbianism locked in the closet because I can suffer lesbophobia on the street, much less undress my color, to finally be accepted, loved and then love myself. These are identities that are with me all the time and in everything I do. And through artivism I could see myself. To create an epistemology, through our ancestral heritages, is to glimpse the Afrofuturist black identity, diasporic utopia re-cognizing our cosmologies and identities. And all this is what I try to express in my art whether on paper or on a wall.”

Akwaeke Emezi

Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo/Tamil writer and video artist based in liminal spaces.

Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo/Tamil writer and video artist based in liminal spaces. She works in fiction, memoir, experimental shorts, and video art. Her debut novel, FRESHWATER, is forthcoming from Grove Atlantic in Winter 2018 and her video portrait UDUDEAGU won the Audience Award for Best Short Experimental at the 2014 BlackStar Film Festival. Within her work, Akwaeke is interested in transgressive stories that challenge idealistic perceptions of humanity and examine how people navigate their embodiments. Her practice centers themes of neurodivergence, African faith traditions, loss and loneliness, death, dislocations, and liminal identities.

Rebeca Lane/Somos Guerreras

Lane has participated in many notable festivals and seminars in Central and South America on human rights, feminism and culture of hip-hop.

Eunice Rebeca Vargas (Rebecca Lane) was born in Guatemala City in 1984 amid civil war. Early on, she began researching methods to recover the historical memory of those war years, subsequently becoming an activist for families whose loved ones had been kidnapped or killed by the military government. Through this organization work, she realized that women had less power in leadership and thus she birthed a feminist vision. The theater has always been part of her life; she is currently part of a theater and hip-hop group that created the Eskina (2014) to address violence against youth in marginalized areas of the city, with the use of graffiti, rap, breakdancing, DJing, and parkour. Since 2012, as part of the hip-hop group Last Dose, she began recording songs rap poetry as an exercise. In 2013, she released her EP “Canto” and she began a tour of Central America and Mexico. Lane has participated in many notable festivals and seminars in Central and South America on human rights, feminism and culture of hip-hop. In 2014, she won the Proyecto L contest, which recognizes music that reinforces the right of expression. In addition, she works as a sociologist with several publications and lectures on urban youth cultures and identities and, more recently, on education and its role in the social reproduction of inequality.

She is the founder of Somos Guerreras project that seeks to create opportunities for empowerment and visibility of women in hip-hop culture in Central America. With support from Astraea is, she performed We are Guerreras with Nakury, and Audry Native Funk in 8 cities, from Panamá to Ciudad Juárez to record a documentary about the work of female hip-hop in the region.

*** En Español***

Rebeca Eunice Vargas (Rebeca Lane) nació en la Ciudad de Guatemala en 1984, en medio de una guerra civil. Desde temprano comenzó a investigar métodos para recuperar la memoria histórica de esos años de guerra, subsecuentemente convirtiéndose en activista por las familias cuyos seres queridos habían sido secuestrados o asesinados por el gobierno militar. A través de este trabajo de organización ella se dio cuenta de que las mujeres tenían menos poder en el liderazgo y así nació su visión feminista. El teatro siempre ha sido parte de su vida; ella actualmente forma parte de un grupo de teatro y Hip Hop que creó La Eskina (2014) para abordar la violencia contra la juventud en regiones marginalizadas de la ciudad, con el uso del grafiti, el rap, el breakdance, pinchar discos (deejaying) y el parkour. Desde 2012, como parte del colectivo de Hip Hop, Última Dosis, comenzó a grabar canciones de rap como un ejercicio de poesía. En 2013, salió su EP “Canto” y ella comenzó una gira por Centroamérica y México. Lane ha participado en muchos festivales y seminarios notables en Centroamérica y Suramérica sobre derechos humanos, el feminismo y la cultura del Hip Hop. En 2014, ganó el concurso Proyecto L, el cual reconoce música que refuerza el derecho de expresión. Además, ella trabaja como socióloga con varias publicaciones y da conferencias sobre culturas urbanas e identidades juveniles y, más recientemente, sobre la educación y su rol en la reproducción social de la inequidad.

Es fundadora del proyecto Somos Guerreras que busca generar espacios de empoderamiento y visibilidad de las mujeres en la cultura Hip Hop en Centroamérica. En 2016 con apoyo de Astraea se realizó de Somos Guerreras junto a Nakury, Nativa y Audry Funk por 8 ciudades desde Panamá hasta Ciudad Juárez para grabar un documental sobre el trabajo de las mujeres Hip Hop en la región.

AFRITUDE Laboratorio Creativo Político

AFRITUDE Laboratorio Creativo Político is conceived as a space where the arts and activism are harmonized.

AFRITUDE Laboratorio Creativo Político (Creative Political Lab) is conceived as
a space where arts and activism are harmonized; a co-working safer
space/arts studio for interdisciplinary creation and community based
learning. We dream to become a space for art-led political discussion and
production rooted in struggle that informs and curates Afro-LBTQ messages
for social justice with a black feminist antiracist intersectional emphasis and
approach. AFRITUDE intends to use multiple art disciplines as tools to
produce social commentary through our testimonies and experiences as
black women, lesbians, bisexual, transgender and queer people of African
descent to challenge official-traditional narratives that invisibilize, silence and
oppress these identities in the Dominican Republic. Our artivism production
aimed to provoke conversation to fight and resist racism and colonialism
includes T-shirts, murals, photography, street art, graffiti, ad reclaiming-
intervention, canvas painting, poetry, street theater and audiovisual
installations.

Batukada Estallido Feminista

The Estallido Feminista batucada is a collective of lesbians and feminists using art, theater, music, and performance to generate dissident political action.

The Estallido Feminista batucada is a collective of lesbians and feminists using art, theater, music, and performance to generate dissident political action against all forms of domination, oppression and exploitation based on sex, race, class, sexuality, and immigration status.

*** En Español***

La batucada Estallido Feminista es un colectivo de lesbianas y feministas que usan el arte, el teatro, la música y la representación del performance para generar acción política disidente contra todas las formas de dominación, opresión y explotación con base en el sexo, la raza, la clase social, la sexualidad y el estatus de inmigración.

 

Beldan Sezen

Beldan Sezen is an artist who uses drawing, collage, and text. She has given workshops and master classes, participated in comic jams and exhibitions in Amsterdam, London, Berlin, Wiesbaden, New York, Beirut, Istanbul and Aleppo. Her previous graphic novels were Zakkum and #GeziPark. Her graphic memoir Snapshots of a Girl was listed in the 2016 ALA Over The Rainbow list. She has been awarded with the 2015 Astraea Global Arts Fund Award for her Turkey based project Butch It Up!. Her latest book To Separate The Body From The Machine is part of the New York Public Library and The Library of Congress special artbooks collections. Born in Germany to Turkish parents, she currently lives in Amsterdam.