In 2015, Gallery of the Streets premiered ECOHYBRIDITY: LOVE SONG FOR NOLA in collaboration with locally-based New Orleans artists, scholars, and activists. This multi-genre visual opera to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, resulted in 5 publically-sited installations and performances that addressed issues ranging from gentrification to the prison industrial complex. ECOHYBRIDITY demonstrated models of resistance including direct action, cultural traditions and rituals, sustainable living practices and experiential spaces as sites of radical imagination.
Ecohybridity \ek-oh-HI-brid-i-tee\: (n)
1) A transition from one phase into another; a reconfiguration and rearrangement of multiple ecosystems.
2) A place we find and make Home; an attempt at Black creative wordplay and swagger.
Given the cyclical patterns of Black dislocation/border-crossing, the Black Body-queer in its relationship to structural oppression, must constantly reimagine and shift its identity to navigate new challenges and new environments. We perform rituals of resiliency and sustainability often using masking as a tool and tactic of subversion to reduce, resist, and prevent harm. The ways in which we negotiate new environments and traverse cultural, economic, and geographic borders produces an elasticity that allows us to conjure and carry our traditions, history, and values across multiple geographies and generations.
From the slave castles to the plantations; fields to factories; refugee camps to tent cities; dormitories to cells; slums to suburbs; the corner to the boardroom — our response to displacement shapes our self-perception and effects the cultures of those a round us. In this sense we form new ecologies that are a hybridization of multiple influences and cultures. I call this elasticity ecohybridity.
A collective list of references, produced by the core group of Black Feminist, that help frame the ideas and aesthetics presented in the visual opera.
a “kitchen table conversation” with Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Paris Hatcher, Savannah Shange, Shana griffin, moderated by: kai lumumba barrow
On the 152nd anniversary of the Combahee River action in South Carolina, four Black feminist artists, scholars, and organizers will discuss the current upsurge in the Black liberation movement from the continuum of Black women’s struggle. Centering the conversation around Harriet Tubman’s role as a strategist, architect, and organizer in the action that freed over 750 slaves, the discussion aims to problematize current strategies and tactics from a Black feminist lens.
Participating Artist and Scholars
Wendi Moore O’Neal
Wendi Moore-O’Neal is a cultural worker, facilitator, and educator, born and raised in New Orleans. Wendi has worked in local, regional and national organizations; but her heart’s work is rooted in the kind of organizing that happens around kitchen tables in the Blackbelt South.
S. Mandisa Moore-O’Neal
Born and raised in the Deep South, S. Mandisa Moore-O’Neal is a black radical feminist and supporter to grassroots black women-centered (trans and not-trans) organizing. Currently on the INCITE! National Organizing Collective, Mandisa’s primary organizing support work is with the Women’s Health & Justice Initiative – a New Orleans-based feminist of color basebuilding project. A Civil Rights attorney, Mandisa has researched, published and presented on legal topics such as reproductive justice and the law, punitive social policies, and state violence. Her latest research projects are “Examining the Constitutionality of Drug Testing TANF and FITAP Recipients” and “A Black Feminist Approach to HIV Decriminalization Statutes.”
I was born and raised in New York City, am the mother of two beautiful people, and choose New Orleans as home. My education is in Design and Accounting. My accounting helped to support my plans for retirement. Now, finally I get the chance to use my design and creative talents in almost everything I do, each and every day. Working with the Artistic/Design/Installation Team with ECOHYBRIDITY project is just the start, look for big things to come in the future.
jazz is a quiet-ish soft alabama butch who is always eager to take risk and challenge power. Documenting for public tv, non profits, and herself, jazz sees the relationship between the filmmaker, her subject, and the viewer to be complex and fragile. As jazz grows as a filmmaker she aspires to evaluate the power dynamics within the production, storytelling (editing), and objective truth of documentary film/video. jazz is participating in the ECOHYBRIDITY project by documenting this beautiful black feminist vision’s process and outcomes.
Matthias is a soft butch queen, visual and performing artist raised and currently residing in Durham, North Carolina. Working with many mediums ranging from mixed media and acrylic paint to found object work (sculpture), he is currently exploring the vast fields of possibility in the art universe. His goals as an artist are to engage the audience raw and unfiltered and to generate fertile dialogue around a posed view or issue, while drawing on tangible and subliminal parallels. Constantly being re-inspired, Matthias believes in perpetual transformation and using art and storytelling as a tool for change.
Shana griffin is a black feminist, mother, applied sociologist, activist, and artist based in New Orleans. Her work explores critical issues at the intersection of race and gender-based violence; housing rights and affordability; sexual health and reproductive autonomy; carceral violence and criminalizing policies; climate justice and sustainable ecologies; gender and disaster; reproductive violence and population control; and art and reimagination. Shana received an MA in Sociology and two BA degrees in History and Sociology from the University of New Orleans. Aside from her research and activism, Shana is an oral historian, artist, amateur photographer; and timeline mixtress.
indee is a performer and art maker striving to create and nourish performance based work rooted in a radical politic of liberation and decolonization. Community, as well as individual and legacy healing, roots their artistry and political existence. As a newish resident of New Orleans, indee aims to continue building Black artist community that centers Queer, Trans* and women’s voices in its resistance to white supremacy and its survival. indee is one of ECOHYBRIDITY’s choreographers and core performers.
Monica ‘Spirit’ McIntyre (gender pronouns: they-them-theirs-Spirit) is a Cellist, Vocalist, Lyricist, Wellness Advocate, Sound Healer, Reiki Practitioner, and Visual Artist — promoting empowerment and healing by any medium necessary. Spirit believes in the power of breath, creating intentional artistic relationships, honoring lovability, being seen/seeing, and growing compassionately through tight places to find authentic expansion. Healing affirmations, meticulous storytelling, and metaphor saturate their lyrics. They use their voice and cello to seamlessly blend: Blues, Soul, Folk, Classical, Reggae and Middle Eastern sounds into an unforgettable musical landscape. For more information on this artist, see
Muthi is an audiovisual composer working with multi media installation for film, web design, and public art works. Muthi’s documentarian & remix aesthetic draws its impulse from the apocalyptic events of their early years— 1980s urban industrial ruin, summers spent in the Black Belt region of Alabama with elder kinfolk, soul/r&b/rap/hip hop aural immersion since pre-birth, and the influence of crack culture in Philadelphia with family & in public space. ECOHYBRIDITY marks a critical space for Muthi as an emerging sound artist- migrating the rhythmic spaces in/between noise & music, electronic & acoustic energy, and individual & collective resonance….#muthimixes
Sage is a culture strategist who seeks to expand and deepen the work of artists and arts organization to social justice organizing. Based in in New Orleans but working nationally, she believes in leveraging art and creative practice for the cultural transformation of systemic oppressions. Sage’s work amplifies the artists intentions and creates new strategies that intersect, artistic practice, organizing and movement building. She has also produced national, regional and international convenings such as Beyond The Global Divide, a gathering of indigenous elders and youth working for peace and the Performing Arts Exchange.
Donté is a Blaq Creole genderqueer events curator, health educator, deejay, former political prisoner & community organizer whose been involved in currently living in New Orleans, LA. Although not present for the weekend of the performance, Donté’s production & mixing work with the sound team can be heard throughout the opera.
Cherice Harrison-Nelson is steeped in authentic African American Carnival masking tradition, a culture practiced only in New Orleans. She is the third generation in her family to participate in ceremonial masquerading ritual handed down from her late father, Big Chief Donald Harrison, Sr. Harrison-Nelson is a female in a male-dominated culture, but she doesn’t take any shortcuts – creating striking ritual attire, sewing each bead by hand, creating distinctive patterns in vibrant colors. She is curator of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame at New Orleans, managing director of the Guardians of the Flame Cultural Arts Collective, manager of the New Orleans Indigenous Cultural Collective, and the education outreach coordinator of the Guardians Institute.
Naidra L Walls
Naidra is a teaching artist and craftsperson with passion for poetry, music, creating functional art from reclaimed wood and collaborative projects. She consults with dreamers and innovators on making their dreams happen, connects people to space & place as a Realtor, and is the founder of build(h)er™, a resource-share that helps people connect within their communities, provides classes for people (especially women) in computer skills, professional, academic & creative writing and basic carpentry. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Leadership from Western Michigan University.
Paris is a Black, queer feminist organizer and dancer from Greensboro, North Carolina. With years of experience on the local, national, and international level, Paris has been working with leading organizations to amplify the leadership of marginalized communities, win public policy campaigns, and advance reproductive and sexual health and justice, gender justice, racial justice and queer liberation. Paris is the founder of Black Feminist Future, co-founder of the Black Freedom Bike Tour, and works as the Network Strategies Manager at Race Forward. She lives in the MidCity neighborhood of New Orleans with her beloved partner, Lena, their bikes, and their Jack Russell Terrier.
Savannah is a black queer sneaker femme, parent, vegan baker, academic, performer and youth worker. Raised flying up and down the northeastern corridor, she is grateful to be nesting in New Orleans. In her scholarly work, she studies circulated and lived forms of blackness using the tools of anthropology, Afro-pessimism, and queer of color critique. Before pursuing her doctorate, Savannah received a BFA in Acting from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. In a former life, she was a teacher and program coordinator at small public high schools serving communities of color in the San Francisco Bay Area.
mayaba was supposed to move to new orleans for 2 months; 12 years later the city has taught her transformation, collective revelry and revolutionary necessity. she’s been involved in intersectional anti violence movement building, supporting work for housing rights, PIC abolition, and against gender based violence. over the past few years, mayaba has developed her skills as a visual artist, writer and performer in order to use art as both a personal outlet of and political outreach for critical dialogue and mobilization.
nelle is a black feminist creator, carpenter & craftsperson. currently, she works rebuilding homes for new orleans natives still displaced from the storm. sometimes, she makes things with her hands. see some of her creations at blackunicorncreations.tumblr.com