Akron Soul Train will host an interactive discussion derived from the residency work of Akron artist Shani Richards, Thursday, July 9, at 7 p.m. on Akron Soul Train’s Facebook page.
Her exhibit, “United,” opened March 5 and subsequently the show closed a week later due to COVID-19. Richards, a trained metalsmith, created 100 pendant necklaces of racial and ethnic slurs, sexual orientation and gender pronouns. Show attendees were encouraged to take selfies wearing a necklace and post it on social media in order to create a dialogue. The collective noise level from the conversations throughout the gallery made it clear that further discussion was warranted.
While the exhibit focused on “taking back the word,” the panel discussion will examine the burden of these words and their usage in public spaces. As the President of the United States refers to a pandemic that has killed over 120,000 Americans as the “kung flu,” it is time to share stories and open dialogue exploring the effects of word usage on people’s lives, according to the nonprofit.
The panel, moderated by Richards, will be made up of individuals who use words in their professions: Akron musician Alan Manley Jr. of Red Rose Panic, Multimedia Journalist Yoly Miller, Poet Barbara Marie Minney, Poet and Pan-African lecturer John Dayo-Aliya and Gallery Director and lecturer Arnold Tunstall.
The conversation also will feature a virtual walk-through of “United,” narrated by Richards.
Akron Soul Train is an artist residency program connecting and empowering the community and artists by granting fellowships that provide resources for all creative disciplines to foster a more vibrant downtown Akron.