Craft Contemporary in collaboration with the Ruskin Art Club and Denenberg Fine Arts announces the return of ‘The Craft of Poetry,’ an ongoing series of poetry readings inspired by contemporary artists. For October, we present ‘Witch Craft: Contemporary poets respond to the art of Moffat Takadiwa.’
Born in Karoi, Zimbabwe, Takadiwa currently lives and works in Harare. He specializes in large-scale sculptural pieces, often using discarded materials, including plastic bottles, spray cans, computer waste, even toothbrushes and razors – anything that catches his eye. He quite literally ‘weaves’ these elements into huge organic forms, evocative of opulence and modern grandeur. A recent review describes Takadiwa’s work as creating the illusion of something “jewel-encrusted,” “excessive,” “a ritualistic kind of minimalism.”
For this next exhibition, we will create an entirely new experience called ‘Witch Craft.’ Following his lead, three popular So Cal poets – Sara Borjas, F. Douglas Brown, and inaugural Poet Laureate for Orange County, Natalie Graham – will compose new poetry based on the themes of Takadiwa’s installation. This ‘ekphrastic’ collaboration will culminate in a live, virtual-zoom performance hosted by Craft Contemporary on the evening of Sunday October 23rd. All three poets will debut their new work which will be temporarily available on Craft Contemporary’s website after the event.
The evening will be hosted by poet and series curator Brendan Constantine.
A native of Gainesville, Florida, Natalie J. Graham’s debut poetry collection, Begin with a Failed Body (University of Georgia Press, 2017), was selected by Kwame Dawes for the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Her publications include San Francisco Chronicle, PEN America: A Journal for Writers and Readers, Callaloo, Obsidian, New England Review, Southern Humanities Review, The Journal of Popular Culture, and Transition. Dr. Graham recently co-founded KayJo Creatives, an innovative media company with a mission to create community and reveal the beauty of humanity. In addition to creating a range of media deliverables for their clients, they host joyful and engaging workshops and events that empower diverse creators at all stages of development in Southern California. Dr. Graham is the chair of African American Studies and director of the Institute of Black Intellectual Innovation (IBII) at Cal State University, Fullerton. As of August 2021, she has been named the inaugural Poet Laureate for Orange County.
Sara Borjas is a Xicanx pocha, is from the americas before it was stolen and its people were colonized and is a Fresno poet. Say their names. Her debut collection of poetry, Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff was published by Noemi Press in 2019 and was the recipient of a 2020 Before Columbus American Book Award. Breonna Taylor. Sara was named one of Poets & Writers 2019 Debut Poets and is a 2017 CantoMundo Fellow. Ahmaud Arbery. She teaches at UC Riverside, believes that all black lives matter and will resist white supremacy until Black liberation is realized, lives in Los Angeles, and stays rooted in Fresno.
Douglas Brown is the author of two poetry collections, ICON (Writ Large Press, 2018), and Zero to Three (University of Georgia, 2014), winner of the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize selected by US Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith. Brown, an educator for over 25 years, currently teaches English and African American Poetry at Loyola High School of Los Angeles. He is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow.
Image credit: Moffat Takadiwa, Object of Influence (5A), 2021. Toothbrush, Sunlight bottle tops, 59.1 x 19.7 x 19.7 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Nicodim Gallery Los Angeles. Photo: Taylor Tschider.