First Look at “Ocean Body” by Helga Davis
Presented in partnership with EnsembleNew SRQ and Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
Thursday, April 8 @ 7:00pm EST • Via Zoom
A first look at “Ocean Body,” the Hermitage Greenfield Prize commission by 2019 winner Helga Davis. This is a unique story of friendship told through music, sculpture, and Manasota Key. Helga Davis, along with her collaborators Shara Nova and Mark DeChiazza, will share excerpts and lead a robust discussion about the work’s composition, the development of the work’s visual language, and how this tale of friendship took on new life as the pandemic and larger societal issues of racial justice loomed around it. “Ocean Body” is a multi-screen, multi-channel sound installation that explores the potential of interracial coalition through the deep yet tenuous bonds of a decade-long friendship between Helga Davis and Shara Nova.
Registration required. $5 per person registration fee.
Helga Davis is the winner of the 2019 Hermitage Greenfield Prize. A vocalist and performance artist with feet planted on the most prestigious international stages and with firm roots in the realities and concerns of her local community whose work draws out insights that illuminate how artistic leaps for an individual can offer connection among audiences. Davis was principal actor in the 25th-anniversary international revival of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’s seminal opera Einstein on the Beach. Among the collaborative works written for her are Oceanic Verses by Paola Prestini, You Us We All by Shara Nova and Andrew Ondrejcak and Faust’s Box, by Italian contemporary music composer Andrea Liberovici. Robert Wilson describes her as “a united whole, with spellbinding inner power and strength.” She also starred in Wilson’s The Temptation of St. Anthony, with libretto and score by Bernice Johnson Reagon; and The Blue Planet, by Peter Greenaway. She is the recipient of the 2014 BRIC Media Arts Fireworks Grant and completed her first evening-length piece, Cassandra. Current projects include Silent Voices with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus with text by Hilton Als, Jomama Jones Blacklight by Daniel Alexander Jones, Requiem for a Tuesdaywith bass-baritone Davóne Tines and dancer/choreographer Reggie Gray, Yet Unheard, a tribute to Sandra Bland by Courtney Bryan, based on the poem by Sharan Strange. She has conceived and performed First Responder and Wannaas responses to Until and The Let Go by multidisciplinary artist Nick Cave. She is artist in residence at National Sawdust, host of the eponymous podcast HELGA on WQXR/New Sounds, and is the 2018-19 visiting curator for the performing arts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.