A powerful conversation between Ghanaian artist, curator, and organizer Va Bene Elikem-Fiatsi and Anya Miller on the on the role of the artist, the power of silence, and the necessity of activism. It is an episode about life and death, sound and silence, action and stillness. It is designed for the listener to feel the urgency with which Va Bene performs and lives, and it forces the listener to understand how performance art and life are inseparable entities for Va Bene. This episode is a beautifully heart-wrenching piece on the current state of anti-LGBTQ+ efforts in Ghana, interlaced with the hope that Va Bene inserts into her performances and the courage that she and other artists must continue to embrace in order to awaken society to its horrors and inequities.
About The Artist
Va Bene Elikem-Fiatsi (she/sHit) is a multi-disciplinary performance and installation artist, as well as the artistic director of perfocraZe International Artist Residency (pIAR) in Kumasi, which aims to promote exchange between international and local artists, activists, researchers, curators, and thinkers. Va Bene works internationally, but was born and lives in Ghana; she has exhibited throughout the world, including Philadelphia with her exhibit Ritual Realities at Slought. As a performer and installation artist, Va Bene investigates gender stereotypes, prejudices, queerness, identity politics and conflicts, sexual stigma and their consequences for marginalized groups or individuals. With rituals and a gender-fluid persona, she employs her own body as a thought-provoking tool in performances, photography, video, and installations, ‘life-and-live-art’ confronting issues such as disenfranchisement, social justice, violence, objectification, internalized oppression, anti blackness, systemic indoctrination and many more.
More From The Artist
Episode Audio Credits (in order of first appearance):
- 05 charybdis by Karl H (https://freemusicarchive.org/music/karlh/benthesicyme/05-charybdis/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Bass Build Up by ztrees1 (https://freesound.org/people/ztrees1/sounds/134937/_) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.Footsteps_Mud_01 by BenDrain (https://freesound.org/people/BenDrain/sounds/488068/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Manchester Airport Departures 2 by theplax (https://freesound.org/people/theplax/sounds/562269/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- tnscities by tim.kahn (https://freesound.org/people/tim.kahn/sounds/344278/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Where I'm Coming From II: 'Un(EARth)ing 'w-E-story' Va-Bene Fiatsi by inventory Platform (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qu7o9eWKQ4&t=265s) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Footsteps, Tile, Male Sneakers, Scuffs by SpliceSound (https://freesound.org/people/SpliceSound/sounds/170502/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Supporters and opponents face off over Ghana’s anti-LGBT law by Reuters (https://youtu.be/4_yWOGWx9y4) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Cars Passing By by qubodup (https://freesound.org/people/qubodup/sounds/197250/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Metal Chain Movements by NebbiaOne (https://freesound.org/people/NebbiaOne/sounds/407652/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- hammer v2 by blukotek (https://freesound.org/people/blukotek/sounds/337815/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Breathing by SofieHolmark (https://freesound.org/people/SofieHolmark/sounds/556523/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Urgent Impacts - 3 by Speedenza (https://freesound.org/people/Speedenza/sounds/223015/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Wood Drag 1 by Sophia_C (https://freesound.org/people/Sophia_C/sounds/525178/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Heart beat 2.Strong pounding. Blood Flows In The veins(6lrs) by newlocknew (https://freesound.org/people/newlocknew/sounds/612639/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Running by Juandamb (https://freesound.org/people/Juandamb/sounds/430708/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.
- Tap Water 2 by OwlStorm (https://freesound.org/people/OwlStorm/sounds/212176/) licensed under CCBYNC 3.0.