I’m thrilled to have been awarded a 6-week residency at the Power Plant Gallery to develop a collaborative project with Aya Shabu. “Hayti|Haiti|History” is an embodied history project investigating coalitions and care in Durham, NC. As a collaborative community endeavor, this trifold performance project will be grown from the cultivation of a community space for story-sharing and creative exploration, tilted toward local memories of social justice organizing and coalitional care in downtown Durham. Through performance and dialogue we pursue the question: How can Durham’s histories of activism and resistance inform our current freedom struggles? We hope to engage local community actors and social practitioners in the creation of an archive for the future.
In this project, we (Chapman and Shabu) plan to utilize the Power Plant Gallery to generate a space for creation, exchange, and invention that excavates and activates Durham’s vibrant history of activism. We take interest in two aspects of this history. First, we consider how Durham’s Hayti neighborhood evokes the defiant memory of Haiti, the First Black Republic. As artist-scholars with deep interest and connections to Haiti and Haitian performance idioms, we are interested in exploring how everyday actions of local Hayti community residents—both past and present—have (or have not) drawn from Haiti as an imaginative resource. At the same time, how have residents created their own forms of resistance and creative survival in the face of marginalization, policing, and—more recently—gentrification? Second, we seek to learn about the coalitional alliances between white and black residents during the struggles for civil rights and gender/sexual justice. Taking inspiration from these histories, but desiring to hear local accounts of participation in them, we propose to develop a performance based on oral histories, workshops with local community, and our own creative resources.
The Power Plant Gallery is a laboratory for documentary and experimental art practices at Duke University, in the heart of Durham, to support work that considers the essential role and transformative capacity of the arts in society. http://powerplantgallery.com
If you are in town between June 1 and July 15, come visit us and see what we’re up to!