Drawing on our university's mission of personal and social transformation, CIIS Public Programs released a call for bay area performers of all types interested in presenting new and existing work in response to the concept of Performance as Resistance. This event features one of three performances selected for presentation during our fall/winter 2017/18 season.
In times of protest, the works artists create are often a reflection of, and contribution to, resistance efforts. This evening explores the intersection of art and resistance in a three-part performance created and performed by Gabriel Christian, Nekia Wright, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto followed by a conversation with the three artists about their process, the meaning behind their work, and more.
Their performance asks how can violence—in the form of death—be transmuted, transformed into something greater? Each of the three performers shares a personal story of loss linked to oppressions experienced throughout the world. They came together as artists to question the violence that society has accepted and model a sustainable form of resistance that transcends borders and connects all humans on an intimate and personal level. Their goal is not only to create hope, but direct it towards the creation of a brighter tomorrow.
Gabriel Christian (t(he)y/(t)him) is a multidisciplinary artist/teacher. After receiving a BA in Theatre Studies from Yale in 2013, their work pivoted towards reifying queer desire, genderfluidity (or "juicyness") and black resilience through conceptual art and performance. They've held residencies at Destiny Arts Center, Finnish Brotherhood Hall, and This Will Take Time. They have also mounted/supported works at Counterpulse, SOMArts, CTRL+SHIFT Gallery, Brava Theater, Eureka Theater, and Stanford University. Ongoing projects include a bricolage exploration of black presence with twenty-nine blaq and brown artists.
Nekia Wright received her BA in Communications studies from Furman University and a MA in Special Education. She is a self taught musician, visual artist, and performance artist. She's performed with musicians in Guatemala, Mexico, and California. She facilitates the YMCA's first Sound Massage and Meditation Group in San Francisco. She was recently featured in two documentaries: Kestrin Pantera's Lives of Women and Erin Kokdil's Sound Healing Process. Her most recent performance was a self-written piece for Jovelyn Richards' Strip Down to Story. She also performed the accompanying music for the dramatic performances. Her music can be found on soundcloud, Nekia's Music.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is an artist, performer, drag queen, and curator of mixed Pakistani and Lebanese descent. He sees his body caught in the middle of complex identity politics formed by centuries of colonialism and exacerbated by contemporary international politics. In his creative work, he explores issues of state violence and how that violence resonates in our collective memory, how it forms and shapes communities and by extension how it affects the individual. Zulfikar has performed at Counter Pulse, CTRL+SHFT Collective, Safe House Arts, Cantor Arts, The Stud Collective, The Queen's Museum, New York, the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and was a guest speaker for RADAR Productions. He has also performed and shown work in Colombia, the UAE, the U.K, Pakistan, and Occupied Palestine. He is currently one of three curatorial residents at SOMArts Cultural Centre.