YOUR SILENCE WILL NOT PROTECT YOU: ON AUDRE LORDE & DAVID WOJNAROWICZ
The 8th Floor
Presentations by Anneliis Beadnell, Pamela Sneed, Marvin Taylor, Cleopatra Acquaye-Reynolds and Kirya Traber followed by a conversation moderated by Visual AIDS Programs Director Alex Fialho.
YOUR SILENCE WILL NOT PROTECT YOU considers the activist voices and rousing language used by Audre Lorde and David Wojnarowicz, both of whom are featured in the exhibition VOICE=SURVIVAL. Both Lorde and Wojnarowicz’s creative practices stand as resounding calls to action, inspiring others to confront injustice. The evening began with recorded excerpts of Lorde’s essay The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action and Wojnarowicz’s writing from Rosa Von Praunheim’s film Silence = Death. This was followed by presentations from activists, archivists, and writers deeply involved with and inspired by their legacies.
Poet Pamela Sneed and Audre Lorde Project organizers Cleopatra Acquaye-Reynolds and Kirya Traber discussed self-described “warrior poet” Lorde's politics of care and self-determination for queer communities of color, while archivist Marvin Taylor and gallerist Anneliis Beadnell reflected on the outspoken perspective of Wojnarowicz’s incendiary writing and artwork.
Anneliis Beadnell is a historian, curator and for the last five years Director of P.P.O.W. Gallery, which represents the Estate of David Wojnarowicz. At P.P.O.W., she has helped to support continued research surrounding Wojnarowicz's work, including the upcoming Whitney retrospective History Keeps Me Awake at Night, opening summer 2018.
Pamela Sneed is a poet, author, performer, and professor. She teaches online for the Low-Residency MFA program at the School of the Art Institute Chicago. In 2017, she was a visiting critic at Yale University and Columbia University, and recently curated a poetry performance evening presented at the Brooklyn Museum. This summer, she will publish the chapbook Sweet Dreams with Belladonna, much of which is inspired by the poetry of Audre Lorde. Sneed, who considers Lorde to be one of her own master teachers, frequently includes Lorde’s work in her syllabi.
Marvin J. Taylor is director of the Fales Library and Special Collections at New York University. He founded the Downtown Collection at NYU in 1994, which now holds over 10,000 linear feet of archival materials, 15,000 printed books, and 100,000 media items related to the culture of lower Manhattan downtown scenes from the 1970s–1990s. Fales acquired David Wojnarowicz's personal papers in 1997 as a cornerstone of the Downtown Collection.
Cleopatra Acquaye-Reynolds (aka Cleo aka Cleopatra From The Bronx) is an African American Femmeboiant Queer who was born and raised in The Bronx. As a first-generation child of Ghanaian immigrants, she has a commitment to education and access, which she aims to prioritize in all areas of her life. Cleopatra hopes to collapse universes that hold our collective oppression and trauma in an effort to make space for truth and new galaxies that build our values of resiliency and abundance. Cleopatra’s pronouns are She, Her, and Sir. She describes her facilitation persona as a Top Femme Daddx. She is currently the Membership Coordinator for The Audre Lorde Project.
Kirya Traber is an actress, playwright, and cultural worker. She is currently in residence at Lincoln Center Education, and is on faculty at the School of Drama at the New School. Kirya received her MFA in Acting from the School of Drama at the New School, is the recipient of the California Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, Robert Redford's Sundance foundation award for Activism in the Arts, an Astrea Lesbian Writers Fund award for Poetry, and is a former judge for the LAMBDA Literary awards in LGBT Drama. Kirya is an alumnus of the 2010 VONA/Voices retreat for writers of color, the 2012 EmergeNYC intensive at the Hemispheric Institute, was a 2014 Space Grantee at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and is an alumnus of Urban Bush Women's 2015 Summer Leadership Institute. Kirya writes and performs for the stage, and facilitates collaborative art projects with youth and adults in community-based settings, and within the juvenile justice system.