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Poetry Reading in conjunction with Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes
About the Event
Please join us for a special poetry reading by Los Angeles-based artist Diedrick Brackens, Arizona-based poets Clottee Hammons and Sean Avery Medlin, and Southern California-based poet George Hammons. This evening of spoken word engages cross-generational dialogues about the Black experience. Presented by Emancipation Arts and SMoCA in conjunction with the exhibition Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes.
About the Participants
Diedrick Brackens is a Los Angeles-based artist best known for his weavings that explore narratives about queerness, masculinity, and the Black experience in the United States. Bracken’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at several institutions including the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Arizona; New Museum, New York, NY; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; Oakville Galleries, Ontario, Canada. The artist is a recipient of the United States Artists Fellowship (2021), Louise Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Grant (2019), Marciano Artadia Award (2019), American Craft Council Emerging Artist Award (2019), and The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Wein Prize (2018).
Clottee Hammons is an artist, writer, poet, activist, educator, and prevention specialist. She views her special call as a “community builder,” and she works in grateful collaboration with numerous artists, organizations, and individuals while being conscientious and mindful of honoring her ancestors. She is the founder of Emancipation Arts and creator of the Emancipation Marathon—a literary tradition that honors the victims of American Chattel Slavery. Her essay “Disguised As Nice” was published in Once Upon a Time in a Different World: Issues and Ideas in African American Children’s Literature (Routledge 2007). She has written articles for the Black Voice News, Phoenix Downtown Magazine, and contributes to The Arizona Informant.
Sean Avery Medlin is a rapper, poet, organizer, and teaching artist. Their work integrates music, literature, and theatre to question the limits of Black masculinity, media (mis)representation, and personal narrative. They strive for an authentic performance of self, in hopes that they’ll inspire others to examine their own identities. Medlin has shared stages with singer-songwriter Saul Williams, poet J. Ivy, and poet Lemon Andersen. Their work has been featured in Afropunk, Blavity, the 2018–2019 Chicago Hip-Hop Theater Festival, and the 2020 Tucson Poetry Festival. Medlin is the author of 808s & Otherworlds: Memories, Remixes, & Mythologies (Two Dollar Radio, 2021).
George Hammons is a Southern California poet whose work has appeared in The Pacific Review, Cadence Collective, American Mustard, and Incandescent Minds. Hammons studied creative writing, with a focus on poetry, at California State University, San Bernardino. He is the author of Witness: Selected Poems (Picture Show Press, 2020) and Hungry to Bed (Arroyo Seco Press, 2017).
Lauren R. O’Connell is curator of contemporary art at SMoCA and adjunct faculty in the School of Art at Arizona State University. Her curatorial practice focuses on working with living artists and the promotion of inclusion, whether facilitating new works or uncovering extraordinary, yet under-recognized, histories. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes (2021), Mimi O Chun: It’s all cake (2021), Language in Times of Miscommunication (2022), and a post-humous retrospective on color field painter Dorothy Fratt (2023).