The journey that enslaved African-Americans took from the south to the northern borders of the United States to gain freedom was arduous and. While I am in Montreal, I am interested in learning about historical sites in Quebec that were important to people who took this journey to Canada from states in the United States that maintained slave codes. What were the experiences of people once they gained legal freedom in Canada? What are the experiences of the descendants of people who migrated here in the 19th century to gain their freedom? And how (if at all) does that relate to the migration experiences of people of the African diaspora who live in Quebec today? I will use the city of Montreal as a research parameter in local libraries and would ideally like to partner with a local historian to creatively interpret some of the research that has already been done on the African Diaspora in Quebec.
Ada Pinkston is a multimedia artist, educator, and organizer living and working in Washington DC as a fellow of the Halcyon Arts Lab. Born in New York, her artistic research interest spans the across social science, American Studies, and socially engaged community art practices. Over the years, her work has been featured at a variety of spaces including The Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, the Peale Museum, Transmodern Performance Festival, P.S.1, The New Museum, Light City Baltimore and the streets of Berlin. She is a Baker Artist award semifinalist (2016), a recipient of an Andy Warhol Foundation Grit Fund Grant in Visual Arts, administered by The Contemporary (2017), and a Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Ruby's Project Grant in Visual Arts (2017). A graduate of Wesleyan University (B.A.) and Maryland Institute College of Art (M.F.A.) she has given guest lectures at The French Embassy, NYU, UCLA and The National Gallery of Art to name a few. Her most recent collaborative project includes founding the LabBodies Performance Art Laboratory in Baltimore, Maryland.
An inter-subjective exchange is the primary substrate of Pinkston's work. Through an examination of imagined histories and sociopolitical realities on our bodies, she utilizes performance, sculptural forms, installation, and digital media. The product of all of these methods mixed together like a gumbo is the creation of trans-disciplinary artworks.
She begins with a concept that is rooted in a moment in history that is unknown and ignored in dominant discourse. She conducts research and gather images to inform my artistic direction. In a host of final forms, she creates a poetics of space and time, positioning the audience close to the past while creating connections to the present day.
The work that she makes sits on multiple borders: the border between traditional and experimental performance, the border between 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional, the border between community art and conceptual art. Performance art is an act of liberation. Liberation against the boundaries that exist in the art world, the boundaries that exist in the world of traditional theater, and the boundaries that exist throughout the world. She uses her body, video projection, and installation to create an immersive experience and environment that the viewer/audience can engage with on multi-sensory levels. With sound, scent and the movement of her body through a visually stimulating space, she provides the viewer and audience with glimpses of poetry.
Inspired by the performative rituals of Ana Mendieta and Joan Jonas, the philosophical foundations of Adrian Piper, the concept driven social analysis of Lorraine O’Grady, and the social sculptures of Joseph Bueys, her work offers an immersive experience. The primary aim in all of her work is to create experiences where audience/viewer/participants are confronted and ultimately resurrected and hopefully redeemed.