This fall, Newark Arts and City Without Walls proudly present i found god in myself: a celebration of Dr. Ntozake Shane’s for colored girls, curated by Peter “Souleo” Wright in conjunction with this year’s Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival. The exhibition celebrates the genre-bending, award-winning choreopoem/play, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, which debuted on Broadway in 1976.
Through 10 commissioned artworks, the exhibition is a tribute to the Broadway play. Each work honors an individual poem and underscores their enduring significance in highlighting issues impacting the lives of women of color such as sexuality, race, sisterhood, violence and self-love depicted in and inspired by Dr. Shange’s work.
Participating artists include: Amber Robles-Gordon, Beau McCall, Dianne Smith, Kathleen Granados, Kimberly Mayhorn, Margaret Rose Vendryes, Melissa Calderón, Michael Paul Britto, Pamela Council, and Uday K. Dhar.
“This exhibition underscores the conversation Dr. Shange started, extending the legacy and impact of her work into the visual arts medium,” explains Souleo, curator of i found god in myself. “The issues surrounding love, sexuality, gender equality, racial identity, and, ultimately, self-love explored by her work remain relevant today,” said Souleo.
The exhibition will also include archival material that highlights the creation and evolution of the original text from its 1974 California debut to its Broadway run from the Barnard Archives and Special Collections at Barnard College. “It is not only gratifying, but joyous to share for colored girls with the Newark community,” said Dr. Shange. “I am so excited to celebrate for colored girls and the works these artists have created.”
i found god in myself originally debuted in 2014 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Long Gallery Harlem (formerly The Sol Studio) and La Maison d’Art. It has since traveled to the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Houston Museum of African American Culture, and is now presented at City Without Walls. “We are grateful for the collaborative efforts of the curator, artists and community stakeholders who helped bring this to fruition,” said cWOW Executive Director, fayemi shakur. “It is an honor to share Dr. Shange’s work and it’s exciting to do so in a manner that gives new life to the profound storytelling of for colored girls.”
The exhibition will be on view at City Without Walls through November 18, 2017 and Dr. Shange will be in attendance for the opening. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP here:
About Dr. Ntozake Shange:
Ntozake Shange is an American playwright, and poet. As a self-proclaimed Black feminist, she addresses issues relating to race and feminism in much of her work. Shange is best known for the Obie Award-winning play, For Colored Girls. She has also written several novels including Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, Liliane, and Betsey Brown. Among her honors and awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund, and a Pushcart Prize.
About for colored girls
From its inception in California in 1974 to its highly acclaimed critical success at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and on Broadway, the Obie Award-winning “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. Passionate and fearless, Shange’s words reveal what it is to be of color and female in the twentieth century. First published in 1975 when it was praised by The New Yorker for “encompassing…every feeling and experience a woman has ever had,” for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf will be read and performed for generations to come.
About Peter “Souleo” Wright:
Peter “Souleo” Wright creates and produces entertaining and informative events, exhibitions, cultural programs and media content. Souleo has collaborated with noteworthy institutions and brands including the New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art, AARP, Huffington Post, EBONY and more. Souleo’s work has been widely covered in outlets including the Associated Press, NY Times, The New Yorker, NBC and more. Souleo currently serves as Manager of Public Programs at Newark Museum.
City Without Walls is the grateful recipient of donations and grant support from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the City of Newark, and individual contributors. City Without Walls is located at 6 Crawford Street in Newark’s historic Lincoln Park neighborhood. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday, 12—6pm and by appointment. Instagram @citywithoutwalls
Image Credit: Margaret Rose Vendryes, my spirit is too ancient to understand the separation of soul and gender – Guro Ntozake, 2014.