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Raha Benham

Crop Killa /// Raha Behnam /// Nana Ama Bentsi-Enchill

"Crop Killa" performed by Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow at Grace Exhibition Space (2016) Photo by Miao Jiaxin
Friday, November 3rd 2017

In-forming and in-formed by knowledges, practices and wisdoms from politics, law, anthropology, and their own global cultural positions, backgrounds, and experiences, three artists situate live works for and with a present public. Through radical joy, interpersonal meaning-making, and social exuberance, these artists materialize a space-time to savor, share, and revel in existence.



On Nov 6, 1983 Adrian Piper's performance "Funk lessons" debuted as a response to xenophobia. 34 years later our generation continues to encounter racial and cultural tensions. The artist, Lyn-Kee-Chow responds to our times with a new iteration of her Crop Killa performance, "Crop Killa's Soca Social". Both a dance instruction and social event the artist embodies her character, a Jamaican dance hall queen from her "Crop Killa" performance to engage others to let loose, learn a few dance moves, and enjoy life.

"My performance work explores cultural value systems: Why do we love what we love? How do we come to identify the acceptable and the taboo. My ongoing performance and installation series, "Promotion" is an investigation of oppositional (Euro colonial and Indigenous West African) value systems that come into silent conflict and the stains of dissonance left for the colonized to grapple with, (or not). The work plays with sensuality, the communal and etiquette at the "dinner table". You are invited."



Raha is an Iranian-born, Canadian-raised, US-based dance and performance artist. She has studied and performed in the San Francisco Bay Area with Abby Crain, Kathleen Hermesdorf and Sara Shelton Mann, and in the DC area with Pearson/Widrig Dance Company, and Deviated Theatre. Her work has been presented at the Performance Studies international conference in Hamburg, San Francisco's FRESH Festival, SALTA (Oakland), Figure One Gallery (Champaign, IL), The Knockdown Center (NY), Grace Exhibition Space (NY), and the Wild Project (NY). She holds a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Bachelor’s degrees in Dance and Anthropology from the University of Maryland. Her interests lie at the intersections of dance, embodiment, community development and urban politics.


Nana Ama Bentsi-Enchill is an artist, educator and arts advocate who holds over 15 years of experience in the non-profit, arts and youth development. With a dual B.A. International Affairs and Government/Law from Lafayette College, Ama has managed to bridge her love for youth empowerment, contemporary African art and global affairs professionally and in her art practice. Professionally, she has served youth as an arts educator and coordinator of youth programs here and abroad. Creatively, Ama uses mixed media, performance, and textile to express a point of view informed by her Ghanaian heritage. Ama has recently performed at the Chale Wote Festival in Ghana (with Ayana Evans, Tsedaye Makonnen, and Megan Livingston) and as part of performance art shows at Rockaway Brewing Company and Le Petit Versaille in NYC.


Born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow received a BFA at the New World School of the Arts, Miami in 1996. In 2005 she attained an MFA from Hunter College, New York City. She has exhibited her work at venues including Exit Art (NYC), Rush Arts Gallery (NYC), SUNY Old Westbury College (NY), Grace Exhibition Space, Queens International 4 at the Queens Museum of Art (NY), “Open International Performance Art Festival” at Open Contemporary Art Center in Beijing, China, and a featured artist in Jamaica Biennial 2017, She has received grants and fellowships from Franklin Furnace, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, and NYFA. Lyn-Kee-Chow often explores performance and installation art, which draws from the nostalgia of her homeland, the commodified imagery of Caribbean primitivism, folklore, fantasy, consumerism, spirituality and nature's ephemerality. She lives and works in Queens, N.Y. and is a faculty member of the MFA program at the School of Visual Arts.

Itinerant 2017 meeting Performancy Forum

IMAGE: Raki Malhotra
Tuesday, May 16th 2017

temporal movement, exchange, bridging, straddling, continuence, repetition, connection, transfer, continuence, suspension, relationship BETWEEN/THROUGH/ACROSS TWO EVENINGS OF PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, May 16 and Thursday, May 18. Both nights of performance are open to the public starting at 8pm, situating work by:

ABBEY OF MISRULE (Kubik, Behnam, X)

This dual exhibition is also a collaboration between the ITINERANT Festival (May 16 is part of the 2017 Festival) and PERFORMANCY FORUM, two of NYC's longest-running platforms for performance art. This pair of evenings is organized by Esther Neff.

ITINERANT was created by artist Hector Canonge. The initiative was a small platform for Contemporary Performance Art, and had its origins in the monthly series A-Lab Forum that Canonge organized at Crossing Art Gallery in Flushing, Queens. Following the growing interest in Live Art, and the need to present performance in the borough, ITINERANT was launched in 2011 under the auspices of QMAD, Queens Media Arts Development. In 2012, ITINERANT was recognized by the City of New York as the first Performance Art festival taking place in the five boroughs (Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island) that make the metropolitan region. Following the large scale venture in NYC, Canonge journeyed through Europe and Latin America creating, in 2013, the Spanish edition of the festival and calling it Encuentro ITINERANTe with public presentations in various cities in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2015 the festival featured 30 artists from over ten countries with presentations at the Queens Museum, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Momenta Art, Glasshouse ArtLifeLab. The Atrium of PS 69 in Jackson Heights hosted the opening and closing nights of the festival. Public Interventions took place at 37th Rd. Pedestrian Plaz and at Manuel de Dios Unanue Triangle Plaza, Roosevelt Avenue and 83rd Street.



(header background image: Raki Malhotra)

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