By Praycious Wilson-Gay
The Durham VOICE
On Friday, Feb. 24, SpiritHouse Presents will be showcasing a play called “Collective Sun: Reshape the Mo(u)rning” at the Hayti Heritage Center.
“Collective Sun” is an intergenerational body of work exploring the impact prison and policing have on the African American community. Through “Collective Sun,” families gain a voice to proactively address the prison-industrial complex, creating a platform where art and culture become the means for solution-oriented, civic engagement in local/regional political actions.
As a member of SpiritHouse, as well as the stage manager/assistant director for “Collective Sun,” I can say that this piece of work is powerful. “Collective Sun” speaks to one’s mind, body and soul.
When I was in the 8th grade, I went to Oakland, Cal., to the Critical Resistance (CR10) conference with SpiritHouse. We presented a workshop where we did a piece called, “The Subtle Art of Breathing” by Asha Bandele. Little did I know that this was the beginning of the beautiful journey of creating “Collective Sun.”
SpiritHouse’s Executive Director Nia Wilson explains: “Over five years ago, SpiritHouse began using poetry, art and performance to talk about the ways violence, prison and policing had seeped into our homes, work, and schools.
“We dreamed about what a community founded in love would look like, with the understanding that no one gets thrown away. Sharing food, political education and healing methodologies in our living rooms came easily. As survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, gang aggression, displaced/fractured families, and drug dependence, using art to help ground our visions came naturally.”
The cast of “Collective Sun” includes Durham-based artists/activists Nia Wilson, Rachael Derello, Mya Hunter, Thaddeus Allen Edwards, Omisade Burney-Scott, Serena Sebring, Matthias Pressley, and Heather Lee. The play is directed by Ebony Noelle Golden.
Cast member Mya Hunter said that what she loves most about Collective sun is “the message about recognizing (that) we are more than what we have been written off as.”
In conjunction with the production, SpiritHouse is developing a curriculum geared towards community empowerment, as well as distributing “Collective Sun” artwork, chapbooks and postcards with instructions that help families, community members and incarcerated loved ones stay connected.
“’Collective Sun’ shares stories of resilience and hope in connection with the prison industrial complex, and reminds us to love one another in ‘pieces and public installments’ until we can all be whole,” said Ebony Noelle Golden, creative director at Betty’s Daughter Arts Collective.
“This work will help people find the courage to create stronger communities that honor our commonalities and our differences, and provide space for open discussions.”
For more information about this production go to http://collectivesun.wordpress.com. To buy tickets online, go to http://collectivesun.eventbrite.com/ or contact SpiritHouse at firstname.lastname@example.org