This photo is from an article reviewing a new dance performance called
Citizen”, meant to be a commentary on the individual and group experience of Africans in western environments. The original article featured a link to information on the Citizen play, so I clicked that first. This brought me to Bam.org. The most interesting part of the little blurb about the performance was the question: “What does it mean to belong, and to not want to belong?”.
Next I was curious to see more about the artist in the photo, whose name is Raja Feather Kelly. I found the performer’s personal website at the feath3rtheory.com. Raja has won many awards for his choreography and performance. Interestingly, he has committed all of his own projects to Andy Warhol and proclaims he is the first ever to do this. I discovered that he also concentrated on creative writing and specifically poetry, which we have in common! Curious, I clicked one on of his Warhol projects to see what it could possibly mean. Drella, as it is called, turns out to be a “movement-based drag performance”, inspired by Warhol’s alter ego by the same name (A contraction of Dracula and Cinderella). This is fascinating to me…I had no idea.The description of the show is “a surreal world; a gender-bending, race-shifting, multi-medium “Artsploitation” in response to today’s consumer culture, and celebrity worship.” Sounds fantastic to me!
Next, satisfied with my knowledge about Mr. Raja Feather, I sought out the photographer of this image, Sara Krulwich. Although she does work as a photographer for the new york times, she doesn’t seem to have her own website or portfolio display which is intriguing. The most relevant site seemed to be her “local wiki” page from Ann Arbor. All it says about her is that she was a student photographer for the Michigan Daily and became the first female photographer on the field of michigan stadium. She also wrote a popular feminist-activist essay entitled “No Women” Was No Barrier. It’s brief, so I read it. It describes that moment where she decided to stay on the field at Michigan Stadium back when women weren’t allowed. She told ‘security’ (men in charge) that they would have to physically removed her, and knelt down and start shooting, claiming she could shoot as well as anyone else down here. She framed the letter of apology she got from the situation. Really interesting stuff.
I wish I could find more of her photographic work but it seemed less possible than expected.
Either way, I believe a different photo could have been chosen to better suit the “Citizen” review. From my reading, a key part of the program was that there were several dancers all representing something different, and their solos come together in the end. Showing just one of these dancers doesn’t really express the important group dynamic.