The DJD Theater provides Birmingham’s art community and ASFA students with a professional performance venue. Below is a listing of our upcoming events…
Sponsored by V94.9 & Publix Charities
ArtWorks@TheDJD artist statement: “GRAFFICA” came forth in quietness. The manifestation of spiritual genetics and environment. The concept emerged this Fall as I sat drawing quietly on the floor, during the pandemic, house sitting for a friend. An Artist known for brilliant colors, my emotional bandwidth only left room for simplicity, black ink on white paper. Reflecting on the quiet world around me, I found my freedom in ethnicity and urban influence. As I created in freeform, amazing humanoid beings came forth, African masks meets graffiti. These are my comfort zones; I knew my style deserved a name. “GRAFFICA” rolled out of my mouth. My style is about surprising myself with unexpected turns, patterns, geometric shapes and fluidity. I cannot be wrong or right in my creation because I am. Every stroke is the rhythm of Africa, every pattern the complexity of graffiti. I expanded my study in black and white to canvas and found a recurring experience, challenge. Challenge in telling the story of my mind without the comfort of color. Challenge to transfer what I feel to what I see in black and white. It was agonizing and beautiful. Beautiful pain is my hallmark of growth and stretching myself. This is the legacy of a being, a young girl, a black girl, growing up in upstate New York who fancied herself to grow up to be an Artist one day. My journey has been divinely peculiar, difficult and remarkable. Welcome to a world where the fundamentals of being my true self were uncovered and celebrated, in a place called “GRAFFICA”.
Learn more about Yogi Dada and purchase the artworks of “Graffica” and themed apparel at:
Sponsored by Birmingham Investment Group & Publix Charities
ArtWorks@TheDJD artist statement: Most people who know me well know that my two favorite things to do at this point in my life are seemingly contradictory. I spent over 20 years practicing the cello so I could be a strong enough player to win an orchestra job, and all of that practicing was done inside in a practice room. So maybe it was something about winning my first tenure-track job with the Alabama Symphony, or being an Illinois-native who got to see hills for the first time, but I was delighted by the scenery from the very moment I drove into Birmingham to make this place my home, and I was so excited to spend some time outdoors here! Soon after I arrived, I took up outdoor rock climbing and bouldering while also performing with ASO. I was drawn to the community built around rock climbing, and I was stunned by the amazing rock formations and bluff lines that make up many areas of this state.
Of course, everything changed when Covid-19 hit. The orchestra stopped playing for almost 9 months, and it left me with a lot of doubt about what the future of a professional cellist would look like. I ended up spending a lot of my time (not teaching zoom lessons) climbing outside in some of my favorite spots.
The more I climbed, the more I started to notice the similarities of learning to climb with playing the cello… There can be so much elegance in the way a climber’s body moves. It struck me as very similar to dance. To climb something well, a person has to know how to balance the body and move slowly, with purpose. Also, there are so many different ways to climb a rock, just like the infinite ways to play a musical phrase.
All of this inspired me to combine the two things I love so much and treat climbing almost like a ballet, with music written specifically for: the movements a climber makes on the boulder or rock face, the emotions going through the climber’s mind during an ascent and, in some cases, the actual shapes of the rocks themselves. I also wanted to draw attention to the gorgeous Alabama landscape, and encourage others to get out and explore everything this state has to offer.
I chose solo cello as the instrumentation because, during covid, it’s something I knew I could play and rehearse all by myself, and the solo idea seemed to fit well into a year where there has been so much solitude. I’m so thankful to the DJD at ASFA for this opportunity, especially during a time where I wasn’t sure I was really going to accomplish much with all the concert halls shutting down for awhile. This project allowed me to get out of that difficult space and really try to make something happen that is truly unique and so very myself. It has been an extremely cathartic experience I won’t forget. I also wanted to say a thank-you to my friends from Birmingham Boulders who gave me belays while I was working on Misty at Sand Rock: Tasha Curiel, John Pellerin, and Shane Thompson; and my friend Taylor Anderson who helped with sound editing.
JAHMAN ARIEL HILL
Sponsored by V94.9 and Publix Charities
ArtWorks@TheDJD artist statement: Vanderwaal’s Journey is a story for Black folk, by Black folk. And that’s beautiful.
Jahman Ariel Hill is an award-winning playwright, poet, and professor. Recognized as one of the top slam poets in the world, his poetry videos have garnered millions of views online. As a playwright, his first work, “Black Enough,” played Off-Broadway. Jahman’s project will involve creative writing with a theatrical performance. He will, “explore themes of safety, race, and health in a Black sci-fi infused reflection of our community’s experience facing COVID-19.”