ATLANTA, June 7, 2021 — On July 2 at its HIGH Frequency Friday event, the High Museum of Art, in partnership with the African Diaspora Art Museum of Atlanta (ADAMA), Komansé Dance Theater and Orchestra Noir, will debut a film featuring an original dance performance and orchestral score inspired by “EW, SN” (2011), a Radcliffe Bailey painting in the Museum’s collection. This collaboration launches “Permanent Project,” an initiative established by the partners to create new interpretations of visual artworks by Black artists in the High’s collection through one-of-a-kind, multidisciplinary art experiences that represent diverse art practices while simultaneously revealing key themes in the artworks. More information and a film trailer are available at permanent.high.org and permanentproject.org.
“Permanent Project” was created to address a legacy of exclusion and disconnection between arts institutions and the Black community. By reinterpreting artworks through original music and choreography, the project aims to demystify the arts and provide more intimate contact with and greater accessibility to culturally significant works by Black artists. The “Permanent Project” initiative aligns with the partners’ goals to make a lasting, meaningful impact in Atlanta by deepening arts engagement for BIPOC communities living in the city’s historically Black neighborhoods. This inaugural film project is dedicated to residents of Atlanta’s English Avenue neighborhood, where the film will be shown following its debut at the High. Residents of that community attended the performance shown in the film, which took place at the High on May 3, 2021.
“Collaboration is deeply embedded in the High’s DNA,” said Rand Suffolk, the Museum’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director. “This partnership with ADAMA, Komansé and Orchestra Noir is an exciting, next level opportunity to dovetail the incredible strengths of our collection with the talents of our partners and deliver an artistic experience quite meaningful and compelling for our community. We are proud to be a part of it.”
ADAMA director and High board member Fahamu Pecou added, “Many Black communities in Atlanta are underserved, particularly as it pertains to the arts. Ultimately, the goal of ‘Permanent Project’ is to reveal the deeper, embedded connections to community in art created by Black artists – connections often lost in conventional presentations of the work. These collaborations will bring the artworks ‘off the wall’ in a real way and serve as a bridge between Black community members and Black artists, which is important to dispelling the idea that museums and other art institutions are not places for them.”
Titled “Permanent: EW, SN,” the film features the entire 10-minute dance and live orchestra performance as well as behind-the-scenes footage documenting the process of creating the musical composition by Orchestra Noir Maestro Jason Ikeem Rodgers and the dance choreographed by Komansé Dance Theater Artistic Director Raianna Brown. It also features a Q&A session with Pecou, Rodgers and Brown discussing their collaboration and inspirations from Bailey’s painting.
“This project’s movement is inspired by Radcliffe’s themes of migration in ‘EW, SN,’” said Brown. “While creating, I focused on honoring the path that has carried me to the present as well as the journeys of my ancestors. The movement of ‘Permanent: EW, SN’ is fearless and uninhibited as we tap into the magic of the liminal space between the past and the future. At each crossroad, the dancers are decisive, truly attuned to the strength of our ancestors and their collective migration that has gotten us to this moment. We continue to push their migration forward and tell our story.”
Rodgers added, “What a thrill it truly was to reimagine Radcliffe’s work in this way – using art itself to interpret art. Also, it was inspiring for me to work alongside other phenomenal Black artists to present this jewel of a work to the community.”
The High intends to collaborate with its “Permanent Project” partners to bring other artworks in its collection to life through art experiences and related films in the future, with details to be announced. More information is available at permanent.high.org and permanentproject.org.
About the High Museum of Art
Located in the heart of Atlanta, the High Museum of Art connects with audiences from across the Southeast and around the world through its distinguished collection, dynamic schedule of special exhibitions and engaging community-focused programs. Housed within facilities designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano, the High features a collection of more than 18,000 works of art, including an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self-taught work, especially that of artists from the American South; burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, new media and design; a growing collection of African art, with work dating from prehistory through the present; and significant holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to reflecting the diversity of its communities and offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. For more information about the High, visit high.org.
About African Diaspora Art Museum of Atlanta
Founded by artist/scholar Dr. Fahamu Pecou, ADAMA is an innovative museum-concept highlighting the global Black experience. Our programmatic mission is to present and advance the exploration and conversations around 21st-century contemporary art and culture of the African Diaspora through exhibitions, programs and artist residencies. Based in Atlanta, ADAMA will become a destination for compelling representations of the diverse stories of Africa and its diaspora. Through various events and initiatives, ADAMA seeks to serve as a critical social, cultural and educational intervention. In addition to creating a space where Black culture will thrive, ADAMA will also provide crucial arts educational opportunities and resources to traditionally underserved communities in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Currently ADAMA is working with other Atlanta-based institutions by consulting and curating programs and events that underscore our mission. For more information, visit https://adamatl.org/
About Komansé Dance Theater
Komansé Dance Theater was founded in 2018 by Founder and Artistic Director Raianna Brown. Komansé’s sold-out shows integrated technology and the arts in partnership with the Georgia Tech Industrial Design School (projection mapping) and Georgia Tech Invention Studio (3D printed costumes). The shows centered on the narratives of marginalized people, using technology to amplify the performance. The most recent production was created in partnership with Covenant House, a homeless shelter servicing at-risk youth. Komansé has been featured in Dance Magazine, Teen Vogue, Elle, The Cut and appeared on NPR about their work combining social activism, engineering and the arts. Komansé Dance Theater’s mission is to use art to challenge, create and cultivate. The company utilizes the medium of Black cultural expression to unpack current issues surrounding social activism. Artistic Director Raianna Brown seeks to create work that speaks to people’s experiences and the universal human connection. Komansé Dance Theater is uncompromising storytelling for the culture. For more information, visit https://www.komansedance.com/
About Orchestra Noir
Orchestra Noir was founded in 2016 by Maestro Jason Ikeem Rodgers. Through orchestral performance, Orchestra Noir aims to celebrate the cultural achievements of African-American music pioneers across all genres of music, including classical, hip-hop and R&B. Orchestra Noir has witnessed a meteoric rise to be one of the most talked about orchestras in the nation as it continues to successfully bring orchestral music to diverse, younger audiences in grand and spectacular fashion. Awarded “Best of Atlanta: Classical Meets Contemporary” by Atlanta Magazine in 2018, Orchestra Noir has already worked with global brands such as Time Warner, NBC Universal, Atlantic Records, Lionsgate, YouTube Music, BET, OWN Network, the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and countless more. In addition, Orchestra Noir has worked with international hip-hop stars Cardi B., 2Chainz, Migos, Clifford “T.I.” Harris, and nine-time Grammy Award-winning super-producer Bryan-Michael Cox of the So So Def Record Label founded by Jermaine Dupree. Orchestra Noir has been covered in prominent media publications such as The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, CBS Radio, The Atlantan, Upscale Magazine, Rolling Out Magazine and many more. Since its inception, Orchestra Noir continues to be a meaningful and longstanding advocate for music education. Orchestra Noir aims to inspire the next generation of young, minority musicians through various educational-centered concerts including its annual side-by-side concert with the music students of the Clayton County School District in metro Atlanta, “Clayton Nights,” which helps to fund scholarships for its college bound students. For more information, visit https://www.orchestranoir.com/.
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Marci Tate Davis
Manager of Public Relations
High Museum of Art