Okwui Okpokwasili 

Poor People’s TV Room, Work-in-progress, 2016

Denniston Hill inaugurated its Distinguished Performance Artist in Residence program in 2016 with Okwui Okpokwasili and her collaborator Peter Born. 


Poor People’s TV Room, was a public performance by Okwui Okpokwasili, recipient of Denniston Hill’s inaugural Distinguished Performance Artist Award (DPAA), performed at our first Annual Open House in August 2016.

As part of the DPAA award, Okpokwasili staged a “collective embodied performance” with a number of guests who volunteered to participate in the piece. The work, led by Okpokwasili, drew on material from a new performance Okpokwasili was developing while in residence at Denniston Hill. Poor People's TV Room, which premiered last fall, is a multi-media performance rooted in the kinetic history of collective action in Nigeria. It references 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.

Writer, choreographer, and performer Okwui Okpokwasili creates multi-disciplinary projects in partnership with Peter Born, her long-time collaborator. 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.

Photos courtesy of Timothy Gerken.




Okwui Okpokwasili shares work in progress at Denniston Hill's Open House on August 20, 2016