by Gabrielle Civil
“Who can say how many lives have been saved by books?” ―Michelle Cliff
In tribute to the visionary Michelle Cliff, I offer images from “…hewn & forged…” This original performance art work premiered at the Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival in Utah, September 30-October 1, 2016. Incorporating discarded library books and pennies, this 3-hour, durational work attempted alchemical activation of self and community through books.
For sure, my life has been saved by books—and by the existence of Michelle Cliff. With her voice and body, she transformed the space of the library and offered a model for me as a diasporic Caribbean woman writer and artist. My creative practice has been hewn and forged from hers. Michelle Cliff will be missed; she will be conjured.
Photo Credits: N. Rich.
Gabrielle Civil is a black feminist performance artist, originally from Detroit, MI. She has premiered over 40 original solo and collaborative performance works internationally and in the US. Recent works include “…hewn and forged….” at the Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival (2016); “_______ is the thing with feathers” at “Call & Response: Experiments in Joy” (2014); “Say My Name” (an action for 270 abducted Nigerian girls)” (2014); and “Fugue (Da, Montréal),” at the Hemispheric Encuentro (2014). Her performance memoir Swallow the Fish will appear in the #RECURRENT series in 2017. The aim of her work is to open up space.