Denniston Hill inaugurated its Distinguished Performance Artist in Residence program in 2016 with Okwui Okpokwasili and her collaborator Peter Born.
Writer, choreographer, and performer Okwui Okpokwasili creates multi-disciplinary projects in partnership with her collaborator Peter Born. Their work has received numerous awards including a 2010 and 2014 New York Dance and Performance "Bessie" Awards for Outstanding Production for Pent-Up: A Revenge Dance and Bronx Gothic respectively. During their residency at Denniston Hill, Okpokwasili and Born shared a work-in-progress during an open house event on August 20, 2016. A movement workshop, led by Okpokwasili, drew on material from Poor People's TV Room, a longer multi-media performance rooted in a kinetic history of collective action in Nigeria. Participants in the workshop performed on the knoll behind the caretaker's home.
The longer piece is informed by two historic incidents in Nigeria: the Women's War of 1929, an anti-colonial resistance movement led by women, and the Boko Haram kidnappings which launched the Bring Back Our Girls movement. Poor People's TV Room not only excavates these historical events but underscores the ways that women of color have historically been--and continue to be--a catalyst for social change throughout the world.
Photos courtesy of Timothy Gerken.