Event Description

Join Indigo Arts Alliance (IAA) ​and Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) for The Wave, a series of three online conversations, with this session hosted by artists Nyugen Smith and Daniel Minter, moderated by PAMM Curator María Elena Ortiz, featuring American contemporary poet, writer, lyricist, and activist Aja Monet; multidisciplinary artist Guadalupe Maravilla; and writer, historian, and poet Rachel Elizabeth Harding.

This series of conversations is a dialogue on current and future impact of the pandemic on Black and Brown communities locally and globally, and prioritizes the need for generative conversations, together with concrete actions, that are in service of and benefit to our communities.

Ritual and spiritual practice have been employed by our ancestors to guide them in the physical realm as they prepare for entry into, and in communication with, the spirit world. Indigenous technologies serve as coping mechanisms in times of crisis. African Diasporic sacred and ritual practice have played a distinct role in the formative issues of the (late 1960s) such as civil rights and world peace movements.* The panelists will discuss how they have been responding to the developments in these areas as it relates to each of their professions, interests, and research. 

Series Dates
  • The Wave: EXODUS | Movement of our people | May 30, 2–3pm | More info 
  • The Wave:THE PRE-EXISTING CONDITION(S) | June 9, 12–1pm | More info
Panelist Bios

Rachel Elizabeth Harding is associate professor of Indigenous Spiritual Traditions in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Denver.  A native of Georgia, a writer, historian and poet, Rachel is a specialist in religions of the Afro-Atlantic diaspora and studies the relationship between religion, creativity and s­ocial justice activism in cross-cultural perspective.  She is a Cave Canem Fellow and holds an MFA in creative writing from Brown University and a PhD in history from the University of Colorado Boulder.  Dr. Harding is author of A Refuge in Thunder: Candomblé and Alternative Spaces of Blackness as well as numerous poems and essays.  Rachel's second book, Remnants: A Memoir of Spirit, Activism and Mothering, combines her own writings with the autobiographical reflections of her mother, Rosemarie Freeney Harding, on their family history and the role of compassion and spirituality in African American social justice organizing. 

Guadalupe Maravilla is a transdisciplinary visual artist, choreographer, and healer. At the age of eight, Maravilla was part of the first wave of unaccompanied, undocumented children to arrive at the United States border in the 1980s as a result of the Salvadoran Civil War. In 2016, Maravilla became a U.S. citizen and adopted the name Guadalupe Maravilla in solidarity with his undocumented father, who uses Maravilla as his last name. As an acknowledgement of his own migratory past, Maravilla grounds his practice in the historical and contemporary contexts of immigrant culture, particularly those belonging to Latinx communities. Maravilla currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. ​

Daniel Minter is an American artist known for his work in the mediums of painting and assemblage. His overall body of work often deals with themes of displacement and diaspora, ordinary/extraordinary blackness; spirituality in the Afro-Atlantic world; and the (re)creation of meanings of home. As founding director of Maine Freedom Trails, he has helped highlight the history of the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement in New England. For the past 15 years Minter has raised awareness of the forced removal in 1912 of an interracial community on Maine's Malaga Island. His formative work on the subject of Malaga emerges from Minter's active engagement with the island, its descendants, archeologists, anthropologists and scholars. This dedication to righting history was pivotal in having the island designated a public preserve. In 2019, Minter co-founded Indigo Arts Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to cultivating the artistic development of people of African descent. Minter is a graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta and holds an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from The Maine College of Art. 

Aja Monet is a surrealist blues poet, storyteller, and organizer born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. The youngest poet to win the legendary Nuyorican Poets Café GrandSlam poetry award title, aja monet follows in the long legacy and tradition of poets participating and assembling in social movements. Her first full collection of poems is titled, "My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter." Her poems explore gender, race, migration, and spirituality. In 2018, she was nominated for a NAACP Literary Award for Poetry and in 2019 was awarded the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award for Poetry for her work in South Florida. aja monet co-founded a political safe-haven for artists and organizers in Little Haiti called, Smoke Signals Studio. She facilitates "Voices: Poetry for the People," a workshop and collective in collaboration with Community Justice Project and Dream Defenders. She currently lives in Miami, Florida where she is working on her next full collection of poems entitled, "Florida Water." 

María Elena Ortiz is curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami, where she has curated the exhibitions william cordova: now's the time, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: A Universe of Fragile Mirrors, Ulla von Brandenburg: It Has a Golden Sun and an Elderly Grey Moon, Firelei Báez: Bloodlines, and Carlos MottaHistories for the Future, among others. Many of her exhibitions have traveled to prestigious institutions, including the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; El Museo de Barrio, New York; and the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago. Ortiz has also developed significant public programs, such as At the Crossroads: Critical Film and Video from the Caribbean and Latinx Art Sessions, along with other symposia related to exhibitions. Formerly, Ortiz was curator of contemporary arts at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros in Mexico City. She has contributed to writing plat­forms such as the Davidoff Art Initiative, Fluent Collaborative, Curating Now, and Terremoto. In 2014 she was awarded the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) and Independent Curators International (ICI) Travel Award for Central America and the Caribbean, and she received the Emerging Curator Award from the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California, in 2012.

Nyugen Smith (USA, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago) is a first-generation Caribbean-American interdisciplinary artist based in Jersey City, NJ and Dallas, TX, where he is a Lecturer of Interdisciplinary Art in the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. Through performance, found object sculpture, mixed media drawing, painting, video, photo and writing, Nyugen deepens his knowledge of historical and present-day conditions of Black African descendants in the diaspora. Trauma, spiritual practices, language, violence, memory, architecture, landscape and climate change are primary concerns in his practice. He holds a BA, Fine Art from Seton Hall University and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Nyugen is the recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Performing and Visual Arts Fund, Franklin Furnace Fund, and Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. 

*Sirmans, Franklin. Budney, Jen., eds. NeoHooDoo: Art For A Forgotten Faith. Houston, Tex. : The Menil Collection ; 2008. Print.