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Art from the Beloved Countries
February 24, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pmFree
This is a donation only event. Recommended donation: $25; $10 for students.
On February 24th, Center for the Arts at Kayenta will host a vibrant multicultural celebration: Art from the Beloved Countries—a jubilant evening of African and Afro-Caribbean literature, art and music. Part benefit performance, part artistic protest, this event was inspired by opposition to the President’s most recent remarks disparaging immigrants to the US. On January 11th of this year, the press reported that during a bipartisan meeting in the Oval Office to discuss protections for refugees from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries, the President dismissed these nations as “shithole countries.” In protest against such disturbing language and sentiment —and in honor of Black History month—the evening will showcase poetry and literary excerpts from the works of such world-renowned African and Caribbean writers as Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat (winner of the National Book Award and 2009 MacArthur Genius Award) and Nigerian novelist and public intellectual Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (winner of the 2008 MacArthur Genius Award). Members of DSU’s African exchange-student community—men and women whose rich heritage was so blithely dismissed by the President of the United States—will perform music and dance from Nigeria and Somalia, and share personal stories of homeland and migration. The performance will be followed by refreshments and an informal discussion. Artwork by African artists residing in Southwestern Utah will be on exhibit in the lobby.
Art from the Beloved Countries is a benefit performance on behalf of refugee children. Proceeds will be donated to KIND (https://supportkind.org/): a pro-bono, legal aid organization defending the rights of children who enter the U.S. immigration system alone.
Spearheaded by DSU Theatre and Communications major Abby Taylor, this performance event is presented by Us. Here. Now. The New World Drama Series, a joint project of the Center for Arts at Kayenta and Dixie State University’s Department of Theatre, under the direction of Dr. Kathryn Mederos Syssoyeva. Speaking about the unifying potential of theatre, director Syssoyeva remarked: “Theatre has many kinds of work that it can do, and one of those is to create communities…. These can be communities of exclusion—and too often are. Or they can be communities of inclusion: theatre making that serves to build bridges, invite listening, create shared space.” Dr. Syssoyeva characterized the event as both an honor and a duty on her part. “Our DSU exchange students are our guests in St. George, and it seems to me that as their hosts, it is our responsibility to invite them to share with us who they are. Performance is one way of doing that.”
Asked to encapsulate the event, Abby Taylor demurred. “I think this event will speak for itself. I won’t do it justice in my opinion or my perspective. My eyes are somewhat… I have a small scope. It’s going to be better for me to let the performers do the talking, and do what they do so naturally. I’m not asking anything unusual of these international students; it’s in their blood, they are so rich with their culture… you’ll see the light in their eyes.”
Art from the Beloved Nations takes place Saturday, February 24, 7:30pm, at the Center for the Arts, Kayenta. Recommended donation: $25; $10 for students. kayentaarts.com.
Photo Credit: Kathryn Syssoyeva