Last year the WAM Collective had the privilege to work with local dance collective Kelvin Wailey for our performance intermission at the 2016 Design Showcase. One of Kelvin Wailey’s members Leila Awadallah created the following video piece this week in response to the violent islamophobic and racist vandalism that occurred across the University of Minnesota campus last week.
The WAM Collective stands in solidarity with Muslim and Palestinian students affected by the recent events and rejects the presence of racism and islamophobia on our campus. We believe in the power of art to bridge cultures, confront prejudices, and heal traumas.
ENOUGH / خلص is a short video created in immediate response to the attacks made on the UMN campus towards Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Student Association this past week. The piece is the embodiment of the gut reaction, heavy sickness, pressures of suffocation and the burning frustration that arises from instances like these. It expresses a narrative that asserts humanness even after attempts to silence, vilify and dehumanize Arab bodies. Fragmented narratives built on fear and power feel especially amplified right now in this political chaos – enforcing Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and students of color to continuously, and tirelessly labor in resisting oppressive ideologies soaked in hatred. To continuously labor in rewriting our stories, embracing our attacked identities, and taking back our narratives. To stand in solidarity and speak out, to be brave and active all the time.
ENOUGH / خلص is the darker, isolated moments of solitude where we are alone and have to try to comprehend… all of this. It is where one works slowly through pain, not just the pain of the most recent events, but once again takes in the weight of histories of pain. Once again, asking WHY? What to do with this sadness? With this rage? Because honestly, I (we) are just tired. I (we) are exhausted by this labor and want to shout ENOUGH. This phase of frustration is a regular visitor, but what comes of it? How can we continue healing to reenergize and stand up strong once again? And that is the impetus felt in the moment when I begin creating work.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
My name is Leila Awadallah. I am a Palestinian-American dancer and creator. My work begins by listening and crafting subtleties and energies within the body in order to utilize languages of dance to speak about experiences, stories, and histories that inform my identity as an Arab-American woman. Focusing my craft on the intersection of movement, sound and imagery, I am constantly researching how to cultivate pieces of expressivity that explore a deeper investigation of narratives either embodied and/or violently enforced onto this [Arab] body; a body that is also always negotiating the hostile environments created by mainstream media, hollywood, and distorted narratives shaped in America.
ABOUT THE MUSIC:
Shams Asma is a Palestinian artist located in Palestine who connects life under occupation with experimental sound.
Elise Armani is a fourth year BFA candidate, with a dual degree in Gender, Women and Sexuality studies and a minor in Art History. Elise is an artist and an independent curator, and works as the Projects & Programs assistant at WAM. In the off moments when she isn’t working, Elise enjoys reading, frolicking in nature, and spending time with her pitbull (child) Lando.