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Hosted + produced by Amina Ross
Artists Rae Langes, Jacqueline Carmen Guerrero, The Participatory Music Coalition, Aniysa Alexander + AJ McClenon.
One’s “Mother Tongue” is defined by Merriam-Webster as both “one’s native language” and “a language from which another language derives”. In this night of programming for Chicago Home Theater Festival in Little Village, invited artists respond to this prompt of the Mother Tongue - through their exploration of language, communication and places of origin.
Amina Ross is an undisciplined artist and educator engaged in the reevaluation of visual and written language. As of late Amina’s interests have led to an exploration of conceptions of Body and Beauty within communities dedicated to alternative modes of healing. Amina’s process is consciously constructed and highly collaborative. Amina is committed to creating spaces that foster thinking, conversation, growth, and love. These ambitions manifested in the founding of 3rd Language (2011-2015), queer arts collective; which has received the Propeller Fund grant and Davis Foundation awards for its summer workshops series. Currently, these ambitions manifest themselves in Beauty Breaks, (beautybreaks.info), a participatory art project and workshop series developed during Amina’s fellowship at the Stony Island Arts Bank. Amina is currently Co-Lead artist of Teen Creative Agency at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Rae Langes is a queer performer, writer, and high school dropout with an MFA in Performance from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently, Rae is pursuing a PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Rae’s approach to performance is hydra-headed and often includes telling stories about gender violence, deviant sexuality, citizenship, and other family affairs while traipsing through surreal environments patchworked together from digital media, found objects, and clownish contraptions.
Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero (aka CQQCHIFRUIT) studies and uncovers the complexities of Caribbean heritage through ornate installations and captivating performance that create a space for transformation. Their practice centers on rediscovering and reclaiming the cultural, spiritual, and artistic legacies of her queer, AfroCuban, and Puerto-Rican intersection. Originally from Miami and based in Chicago, Guerrero is a DJ, musician, performer and visual artist, who received the Mark Aguhar Memorial Grant for Feminine-Spectrum Artists of Color in 2012. She is a co-founder of TRQPITECA, a nightlife event in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago featuring artists working with queer and tropical aesthetics, and an organizer of Chances Dances, a Chicago DJ/artist collective dedicated to building safer spaces for all gender identities. CQQCHIFRUIT has performed and exhibited across the US and internationally in Cuba, Mexico, and Canada. In 2016 they became a certified Reiki Master.
The Participatory Music Coalition began as the sonic subcommittee of the MB Collective, a theater, performance, visual and community collective of artists integrating diverse performative traditions, especially with respect to the South Side Community Art Center and its founder, the great spirit Margaret Burroughs.Musicians of the MB collective began participating in the weekly "Sonic Healing Ministries Free Jazz Sessions" organized and headed by composer/instrumentalist and educator David Boykin. Finding fulfillment and growth through these sessions members began to meet in each others homes to experiment, compose, and practice new music. Recognizing the spiritual importance of Black American Classical Music,Participatory Music Coalition maintains improvisation as the very core of our creative endeavors because improvisation is the doorway to the spirit-domain, and sound is the primordial vessel of healing to the world. Our performances proceed through journeys of sound, text, movement, poetry, song, moving images, and cuisine.Both free and planned improvisational offerings will leave plenty of space for guests to contribute and share.We encourage participation by all! By thought, word, deed, and sound, we invite you to celebrate with us the divine unity of all the cosmos that music represents. We welcome your sound, your spirit, your voice and your heartbeat!
Aniysa Alexander is from Brooklyn New York. Alexander's work cleverly combines astrology with intuitive card readings. Having the experience of working with Species by the thousands, a company that focuses on creativity through spirituality, she has offered her talents and education with Tarot at the shop for over two years. Currently Alexander is working with Beauty breaks, an intergenerational workshop series for black people along the spectrum of femininity.
A.J. McClenon is a writer, sound artist and performer and interdisciplinary visual artist based in Chicago. A.J. McClenon’s work sets personal narratives alongside empirical data, leveling hierarchies of truth. A.J. works across mediums incorporating aspects of sound, film, video, drawing, animation and collage throughout their work. A.J. holds a Masters in Fine Arts with an emphasis in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Arts with a minor in creative writing from the University of Maryland College Park. A.J. has also studied at Eugene Lang College.A.J. McClenon is currently an educator at the Montessori Academy of Chicago and is co-organizer of Beauty Breaks, an intergenerational beauty and wellness workshop series for black people along the spectrum of femininity. A.J. is also a co-founder of F4F, a domestic venue that cultivates a femme community, centers blackness, and expands upon understandings of what domestic space can be. A.J. has performed and shown work throughout the US, at locations like Steppenwolf, The Promontory, Woman Made Gallery, Echo Park Film Center, Chicago Filmmakers, Fine Art Complex 1101 and Longwood Arts Center. A.J. McClenon has received numerous awards for both writing and artistic practices. McClenon received the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) MFA Writing Fellowship award in 2014 and SAIC’s MFAW small grant in 2012. McClenon also is also a recipient of the Paula Santan Scholarhip for Art and Stephanie E. Pogue Memorial Award. A.J. McClenon’s writing has been published widely, most recently their works have been published in the South Side Community Art Center Anniversary publication, 3rd Language and Stylus Literary Magazine.