Freedom Dance II

Freedom Dance II

From June 2 to 4, 2017, Leslie-Lohman Museum will present Freedom Dance II by Nigerian artist and activist Adejoke Tugbiyele and American musician Will Calhoun of Living Colour.

Freedom Dance II embodies an improvised/experimental movement towards reclaiming the female body in personal and political dimensions – undoing false historical narratives and breaking free from boundaries/ limitations through dynamic collaborative performance and story-telling. Seeking to move beyond labels around sexual identity and towards the strength of the heart and mind, it also explores levels of fluidity embedded in the dualities of masculine/feminine, through the play of light/dark, movement/stillness, object/space.

The sound of the drum, light, costume and drawings on parchments (the presence of calfskin also on the djembe), and the architecture of intimate space converge to create a transformative experience for the audience, encouraging them to find, carry and illuminate their own inner lights into the future. These forces are mediated by objects – two brooms titled Same-Sex operating as ritual dance wands – they carry a life force anchored in love.

Adejoke Tugbiyele was born in 1977 in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a bachelor of science degree in architecture from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a master of fine arts in sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Art. She is an award-winning, queer, black artist and advocate. Foreign Policy described her as one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers for her sculpture addressing the criminalisation of LGBTQ individuals in Nigeria. Tugbiyele’s multimedia work has featured in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Nigeria, Poland, Spain, France and Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates. In 2016, she received the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant, United States.

Will Calhoun was born in 1964 in Bronx, New York, and holds a bachelor degree in music production and engineering from the Berklee School of Music, Boston. He is a musician who crosses many boundaries in music, combining the indigenous past with the progressive present. Transcending the ideologies of musical styles, Calhoun prefers to relate to music simply as sound. His latest jazz release is titled Celebrating ElvinJones, featuring Christian McBride, Jan Hammer and other Elvin Alumni. Calhoun’s creativity does not begin and end in music as he is also a photographer and visual artist.

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