During a recent conversation at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, our visiting scholar Kristy Edmunds asked curator Claire Tancons about the process of earning trust and credibility in a community. Tancons was both an “outsider” and “insider” when she served as curator for the Prospect.1 biennial in New Orleans (2007–09), where she curated the first retrospective of Victor Harris, aka Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Fi-Yi-Yi, at the New Orleans Museum of Art. In 2014, Tancons curated Rally Under the Bridge and Public Practice with Delaney Martin as part of New Orleans Airlift, continuing to work within the local community. Tancons addressed the importance of maintaining her own visibility within the community by “continuously intervening,” and developing relationships with community leaders and gatekeepers.
Edmunds is the Center’s visiting scholar and is executive and artistic director of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA. Tancons is a curator, writer, and researcher whose work focuses on carnival, public ceremonial culture, and popular movements. This conversation took place at the Center on November 24, 2014.
Russian folktales and South African music and puppetry united in a multidisciplinary interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s composition for the 1910 ballet The Firebird, featuring The Philadelphia Orchestra, Grammy Award-winning South African vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and larger-than-life puppets by Janni Younge of South Africa’s renowned Handspring Puppet Company.
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