On Saturday, June 26, the Newcomb Art Museum will host the screening of Part Two of “Louisiana Reimagines: High Culture Below Sea Level,” a three-part series combining virtual and in-person programs that focus on cultural exchange between exhibiting artist Laura Anderson Barbata and local culture bearers in New Orleans. The screening will be held at 12:30 p.m., followed by a drumming performance with Big Chief Shaka Zulu, Black masking Indian/Mardi Gras Indian of the Golden Feather Hunters tribe, and Free Spirit at 1 p.m. The screening will be held in Freeman Auditorium.
“Louisiana Reimagines: High Culture Below Sea Level” is shot in Tremé and directed by Abdul Aziz, featuring local performers on stilts and percussion who represent four generations of Zulu’s family. A second screening of the film will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Full artist bios and more information can be found here.
“Louisiana Reimagines: High Culture Below Sea Level” offers a local creative response to the elaborate garments on display in Newcomb Art Museum’s current exhibition, Laura Anderson Barbata: Transcommunality, and explores traditions of stilt dancing and public procession. Part One of the series, which premiered online on June 12, consists of recorded conversations between Anderson Barbata and Zulu. Their conversations, now available on Newcomb’s website and Vimeo pages, center on the traditions of music, communitiy, suit design and West African stilt dancing in Zulu’s ever-evolving, yet distinctively New Orleanian practice. The two also discuss the ancestral origins of Zulu’s practice, the healing power of the arts and Zulu’s role as a youth mentor.
Part Three, a roundtable conversation that will premiere online on July 8, will gather voices from the stilt-walking and processional community as the final element of the series. The upcoming conversation will be led by Dr. Joyce Marie Jackson and will use the work presented in Part Two as a touchstone to consider the power of procession to foster diverse, intergenerational community relationships. Panelists will include stilt dancers Najja Codrington of the Brooklyn Jumbies and Sarauniya Zulu of Zulu Connection as well as three legendary figures of masking culture in New Orleans: Big Queen Laurita Dollis of the Wild Magnolias; Big Chief Derrick Hulin of the Golden Blades; and Big Chief Darryl Montana of the Yellow Pocahontas Hunters.
The Newcomb Art Museum is free and open to the public this summer from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday. Information on tickets, tours and more can be found here. The museum also invites all guests to take part in their brief Visitor Survey. Those who complete the survey will be automatically entered for a chance to win the Transcommunality book, autographed by Laura Anderson Barbata.
These programs are funded in part under a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. They are also supported in part by a New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation Community Partnership Grant and by a Community Arts Grant made possible by the City of New Orleans.