12.30 – 1.30pm
Talk: Transcommunality: Collaboration Beyond Borders by Laura Anderson Barbata
For over 20 years, transdisciplinary artist Laura Anderson Barbata has worked on long-term, participatory art initiatives in many parts of the world (Venezuela, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Norway and Brooklyn, New York) that merge art practice with social action. Transcommunality presents the artist’s work with the Brooklyn Jumbies—an African diasporic stilt dancing performance group—with stilt-dancing communities from Mexico, the West Indies and Brooklyn and master artisans from Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, and the United States.
Laura Anderson Barbata and the Brooklyn Jumbies have worked together for over 10 years in Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Jamaica and New York creating public presentations for Carnival and performance ¨interventions¨ that combine social commentary, dance, music, sculpture, and costuming. Transcommunality highlights the vitality of the moko jumbie stilt walking tradition and demonstrates the possibility of using this storied art form as a platform for social contemporary performance, group participation and protest. The project combines community participation in construction, development, and presentation of the work.
2.00 – 4.30pm
Workshop: Transcommunality: Collaboration Beyond Borders by Laura Anderson Barbata and the Brooklyn Jumbies
In this workshop, the participants (individual or groups) share about their practices and traditions, while Anderson Barbara and the Brooklyn Jumbies present the history of stilt dancing in Mexico, West Africa, and the Caribbean. The session will focus on the exchange of history, traditions, and knowledge through images, talking, and demonstration. This workshop is open to anyone interested in dance, performance, and movement.
Laura Anderson Barbata (Mexico/United States) works primarily in the social realm and has initiated projects in Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Norway, and the United States. Her ongoing project Transcommunality (since 2001) includes traditional stilt dancers the Brooklyn Jumbies (United States, West Africa, and the Caribbean); and los Zancudos de Zaachila (Mexico), and has been presented at various museums, public schools and avenues, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Modern Museum Fort Worth Texas; Museo Textil de Oaxaca; Museo de la Ciudad de México; BRIC, New York; and Rutgers University. Barbata's work has received numerous awards and is included in various private and public collections in Germany, Mexico, and the United States.
Brooklyn Jumbies Inc. (United States), founded by Ali Sylvester and Najja Codrington, is an organisation with the purpose of heightening cultural awareness of African and African-Caribbean culture. Performing stilt dancing, one of the numerous cultural elements of the African and Caribbean diaspora, their goal is to help revive knowledge, respect, and pride in these traditions. Since 2007, the Brooklyn Jumbies have worked closely with Laura Anderson Barbata, presenting outreach projects in Mexico and the United States, also collaborating with los Zancudos de Zaachila, traditional stilt dancers from Oaxaca. With Barbata they have performed in various museums. Among their most significant performances are Intervention: Wall Street, in the Financial District of New York (2011); and Intervention: Indigo, Brooklyn, New York, and The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (2015). Publications include Transcommunality. Interventions And Collaborations With Stilt Dancing Communities (2013).
Image credit: Laura Anderson Barbata in collaboration with the Brooklyn Jumbies, What_Lives_Beneath, 2016. Photo by Lauren Matic. Courtesy the artists. Developed with Barbata’s fellowship at the TBA21 The Current during the convening in Kingston, Jamaica.