Artist’s Choice: Dance, Design and Community Justice Shared Practice
MK Abadoo and Wes Taylor, VCUarts professors whose individual art practices overlap with social justice and community organizing, discuss the work of their Shared Practice with Free Egunfemi, creator and founder of Untold RVA. They will present and co-facilitate participatory activities, based on their foundations in choreography and graphic design.
MK Abadoo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance + Choreography at VCUarts, and a lead faculty member in the Racial Equity, Arts and Culture Core of VCU’s iCubed, the Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation. Adadoo’s creative work exist at the crux of dance theater, undoing racism cultural organizing, and critical education studies. Combining classical American modern and postmodern dance vocabularies, neo-traditional Ghanaian movement, and social Funk styles, Abadoo draws from the “tradition of black literature and art that unites past and present in unsparing dialog.” Her practice is rooted in the justice work of Urban Bush Women, Gesel Mason, Angela’s Pulse, and the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.
Wesley Taylor is an Assistant Professor in Art Foundation and in the Department of Graphic Design at VCUarts. He is a Detroit based printmaker, graphic designer, musician, animator, educator, and curator. He roots his practice in performance, and social justice. His work oscillates between, and blurs these disciplines. Wesley’s individual practice is inextricably linked to the constellation of collectives he has helped form for over 20 years. These include Emergence Media, Complex Movements, Talking Dolls Studio, Design Justice Network, Big Models Gallery, and Athletic Mic League. His work is inspired by elder knowledge, complex science, 90s underground hip hop, funk, punk aesthetics, and science fiction.
Free Egunfemi is a tactical urbanist, historical consultant and CEO of Untold RVA, Untold Tours and COMMUNIVERSITY. She was recently appointed by Mayor Levar M. Stoney to serve on the City of Richmond’s new History and Culture Commission and is a 2019 fellow in the Philadelphia-based Monument Lab as well.
Free hosts annual commemorations in Richmond for Black Freedom Day, Self Determination Day, Emancipation Day and Gabriel Week. Her groundbreaking projects include the strategic installation of community curated art and typography along our city’s streetscape using mobile phone technology to create urban sacred spaces revealing 400 years of deliberately submerged stories about self determined Richmonders who fought to disrupt systemic race-based oppression.
Free is internationally recognized for coining the phrase “commemorative justice” to describe the emergence of a powerful new Richmond-based movement that centers the unearthing of hidden historical freedom narratives as an act of resistance.