This month, we are excited to be featuring women artists from a variety of disciplines. These innovative creators are shaking up their fields and empowering young women to find their artistic voices. Check out what they have to say about women and leadership, and be sure to check out their work!
Dominique Christina is an award-winning writer, performer, educator, and activist. She holds five national poetry slam titles in four years, including the 2014 & 2012 Women of the World Slam Champion and 2011 National Poetry Slam Champion. Her work is greatly influenced by her family’s legacy in the Civil Rights Movement and by the idea that worlds make worlds. Her first full-length poetry book, The Bones, The Breaking, The Balm: A Colored Girl’s Hymnal, published by Penmanship Books, is available now. Her second book, This Is Woman’s Work, is set for publication in October 2015.
Colleen Thomas is the artistic director of Colleen Thomas Dance and co-director for Bill Young/Colleen Thomas. Thomas has performed both nationally and internationally with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Bebe Miller Company, Nina Wiener Dance Company, and Donald Byrd/The Group. Thomas’ choreographic works have been performed in Brazil, Estonia, Hong Kong, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Taiwan, and Venezuela, among many domestic venues.
Purvi Shah inspires change through her work as a non-profit and media consultant, anti-violence advocate, and writer. In 2008, she won the inaugural SONY South Asian Social Service Excellence Award for her leadership fighting violence against women while Executive Director at Sakhi for South Asian Women. During the 10th anniversary of 9/11, she directed Together We Are New York, a community-based poetry project to highlight Asian American voices. Recently she hosted A Woman’s World, a radio show for South Asian American women to speak to their advocacy, creativity, and impact. Terrain Tracks is her award-winning book of poetry. Discover her work at http://purvipoets.net or @PurviPoets.
Cauleen Smith is a an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. Though operating in multiple materials and arenas, Smith roots her work firmly within the discourse of mid-twentieth century experimental film. Drawing from structuralism, third world cinema, and science fiction, Smith makes things that deploy the tactics of these disciplines while offering a phenomenological experience for spectators and participants. Smith’s films, objects, and installations have been featured in group exhibitions at the Studio Museum of Harlem, Houston Contemporary Art Museum; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, Yerba Buena Center for Art, and the New Museum, New York, D21 Leipzig and Decad, Berlin. She has had solo shows at The Kitchen, MCA Chicago, Threewalls, Chicago, Women & Their Work, Austin, TX. Smith is the recipient of several grants and awards including the Rockefeller Media Arts Award, Creative Capital Film /Video, Chicago 3Arts Grant, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Smith was born in Riverside, California and grew up in Sacramento. She earned a BA in Creative Arts from San Francisco Sate University and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Theater Film and Television. She currently lives in Chicago while teaching at the Vermont College of Fine Art low-residency MFA program.