As the first outing of her work-in-progress The Light Fantastical, renowned Trinidadian dancer and choreographer Makeda Thomas (along with two dancers from her company) will present a 40-minute performance on August 16 at the Delaware Art Museum. Thomas is an Afrofuturist performer and “a post-modern African Diasporan scholar” who lives and works in both Port of Spain (Trinidad) and Brooklyn.
Thomas, an award-winning choreographer and filmmaker who is a frequent national and international performer, is noted for her site-specific pieces like this one–an improvisational performance, developing over the past ten years, that will be imbued with metaphors for art and technology and what she titles “Caribbean Futurisms.” Thomas says it will consider how Caribbean cultural forms navigate time and space to create new histories, sciences, and aesthetics.
The exploratory work is rooted in the bedrock of memory, both cultural and personal. When her house in Brooklyn burned down, Thomas lost everything, including her years of research for this project, and so in addition to looking at the layers of geographical and cultural remembrances, the artist had to reconstruct the work itself from what she could remember, adding a challenging layer of what memory actually means on a deeply personal level. The work will be performed under the shelter of a tree, so that as the piece expands and changes, the tree will have the memory of what happened beneath its branches.
Prior to the August 16 performance, a museum curator will lead a brief pre-show tour of the current exhibition Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago focused on Thomas’s favorite works on view (some of them by her colleagues). There will also be a short work performed by Pieces of a Dream, a professional Delaware contemporary dance company that often partners with the museum.
What, Where, When:
Makeda Thomas in The Light Fantastical is August 16 at the Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE. Museum facilities, entrances, galleries and parking are all accessible and there are wheelchairs available at no cost. Call (302) 571-9590 or delart.org for more information.