UHURU DANCES: Sites of Liberation is a site-specific community gathering organized by CAMHLAB artists-in-residence Nia’s Daughters. The gathering will feature a movement workshop and a dance/photography project to commemorate the lives and shared histories of Freedmen’s Town.
Inspired by the Swahili word for “freedom,” UHURU DANCES is a celebration of resistance for Black people in Texas. The purpose of this work is to conjure memory and inspire people to learn about their own family histories that include resilience and legacy. The culminating work, consisting of the pinnacle community workshop and a dance/fashion photography project, draws equal inspiration from the histories of Freedmen’s Town residents, Afrofuturism, and architecture of the historic Bethel Church Park.
For their residency, Nia’s Daughters repertory will include The Fairytale Project, which centers the love, life, and legacy of Jim and Winnie Shankle, founders of the freedom colony in Shankleville, Texas; Aesthetic Inheritances, which centers the Barrett Station freedom colony in northeast Harris County; and Liturgy of Remembrance, which centers the National Black United Front’s (NBUF) Annual Caravan to the Ancestors with the story of the Freedom Tree in Missouri City, Texas. The group also plans to offer virtual or hybrid screenings of their work that is inspired by Texas’ freedom colonies.
Location and Accessibility
UHURU DANCES: Sites of Liberation’s programs will take place in various locations throughout Freedmen’s Town. More information coming soon.
About Nia’s Daughters
Nia’s Daughters is a movement collective created by Stacey Allen, Founder and Creative Director. Allen’s choreographic perspective is to create works that are culturally competent and incorporate social justice and activism and embrace non-traditional theatergoers. From starting with Urban Souls, co-founding Pretty Cultured, to leading Nia’s Daughters, her work is to be delivered back to the people. Recent work includes Formed in My Grandmother’s Womb as a part of Project Row Houses’ Round 50: Race, Health, and Motherhood (2019), A Single Thread Weaves a Future as part of Fresh Arts’ SpaceTaking Residency (2021) and The Fairytale Project at Discovery Green (2022). Allen is currently the 2022–23 Project Freeway Fellow with DiverseWorks and also serves as the Director of Artistic Programming at Harris County Cultural Arts Council.
About CAMHLAB at Freedmen’s Town
CAMHLAB at Freedmen’s Town is an onsite artist-in-residency program that aims to highlight, honor, and animate the histories and stories of Freedmen’s Town, a neighborhood established in 1865 by over 1,000 formerly enslaved people that is now recognized as Houston’s first Heritage District. In line with HFTC x CAMH’s goals, CAMHLAB at Freedmen’s Town aims to generate research, contextualize, and connect artists and the general public to the stories of Freedmen’s Town through month-long residencies.
For more information, visit CAMH.ORG/CAMHLAB.
Image caption: Nia’s Daughters, The Fairy Tale Project, 2021. Image courtesy Stacey Allen.