I'm an artist, educator and activist particularly interested in learning from tactics, props and gestures used as protests. I use this blog as a platform to archive and communicate examples of what I call 'gestures of defiance'-exciting, urgent and relevant actions that link protest histories and present radical potentials. On this blog I'm simply compiling and reposting examples I find as they happen. Months may go by with out a post but the blog as an archive is still active.
Monday, February 16, 2015
As part of the "RESPOND" Exhibition at Smack Mellon--I Can’t Breathe a performance by Shaun Leonardo
I Can’t Breathea performance by Shaun Leonardo
Sunday, February 22 at 4pm
As a culmination to RESPOND, please join artist Shaun Leonardo and the organization Smack Mellon for a public-participatory workshop and performance that will take the form of a self-defense class. Over the course of a half hour, participants will learn a range of self-defense technique – from purely pacifist, self-protective maneuvers (including how one may relieve the pressure of a chokehold) to more overt, defensive strategies. (Participants will not learn offensive strikes or moves.)
Participants will then be placed and paired off in a staggered arrangement. With certain cues given by the artist, each pair will enact the self-defense techniques just learned, alternating in the role of the aggressor. As the artist recites a script inspired by Nina Simone, each pair will elect which action to take solely based on how he or she internalizes the words' meaning.
The overall, impromptu composition of defensive actions thus creates a reflection and meditation on our community's legacy of self-preservation, and continued desire/need/fight to protect and survive. The piece will be conducted in memory of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, Ramarley Graham, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin… and countless others.
Shaun Leonardo is a multidisciplinary artist who uses modes of self-portraiture as a means to convey the complexities of masculine identity and question preconceived notions of manhood. The portraits take the form of cutout paintings, drawings, and sculptures, while also brought to life through performance. Leonardo is a Brooklyn-based artist from Queens, New York City. He received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and has received awards from Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; The New York Studio School; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Art Matters; New York Foundation for the Arts; McColl Center for Visual Art; Franklin Furnace; and The Jerome Foundation. His work has been presented in galleries and institutions internationally with recent solo exhibitions in New York City, and is featured in the current exhibition Crossing Brooklyn at Brooklyn Museum.