2016 Create Change fellow Lindsay Catherine Harris’s 2016 Public Art Potluck speech:
“When Yvette [Programs Coordinator] first asked me to speak, at the nomination of my fellow fellows – I was very honored but also hesitant. At this moment, I didn’t want to be on display, pranced around like a fluffed up poodle, airing my dirty laundry. But…after thinking a bit, I realized of course I would do it. Poodles are kind of cute, and what better reason to wash my clothes, which I did last night?!
I love the LP, and that’s because I love the people. I believe in their vision, passion, and dedication. Yvette, Hatuey, Ebony, and Kemi. And I love my cohort – so many brilliant artists of color – Walter, Ivan, Dalaeja, Adalky, Claudia, Autumn, Terrence, Vanessa, Rahviance, Lyra, Misra, Katherine, Salome, Ayo, Ro, Havana. And I especially love my Bed Stuy Boos – Shamilia, Sal, Sue, and Cynthia. Our amazing community partners – qtpoc organizers who let us in with generosity and love and served as such an amazing example of what it really means to be self determined. This fellowship has been an incredible, long and time consuming, experience, grounded in deep and thoughtful work and is solely attributed to the people. So I guess I do believe in the power of the people to create change. And I’m very fortunate to be a part of this community, and share with you all a little bit about that experience.
Let’s start the spin cycle – I’m in the Bed Stuy crew. We partnered with the Audre Lorde Project’s Safe OUtside the System collective, which does rooted organizing in anti-violence work and self determined safety led by and for qtpoc in Central BK. A few of the key members we worked with – Tasha, Jamisha, Eugene, Santiago, Ceci, Danielle, Share, Ashleigh, and countless others who contributed along the way. Our field day, Politics of Protection: Building Safety OUTside the System, was a day of creative exploration of what safety looks like, sounds like, and feels like, through tangible tools build with SOS. As a queer mixed race black woman, a media artist, an educator, an activist, who’s been living in Crown Heights for 8 years, who works with young people & who recently turned 30 (!!) I’ve been thinking a lot about self determination. How to ground myself in intentionality of community and liberation. To understand the historical, social, and physical limitations of my body and mind and to work towards liberation for myself, the communities I’m a part of, the communities I support, and the communities I hope to support – with radical love, creativity, joy, and humor. That is what I’ve come to be more present to in the last year, more grounded in during this fellowship, and what propels me for the next step.
Now, for our tumble dry – How do I represent 14 other amazing artists, all different people, with such unique experiences, perspectives, passions, disciplines? We are all asked, often forced, to be representatives – of our families, our friends, our work, our communities. But that is our task as artists interested in creating change. We are about things bigger than ourselves, grounded in ourselves. That is self determination, and that is the work of the LP.
I am so excited to liberate myself with Gabriella’s amazing cuisine, (!) and I am excited to share and grow with you all. Thank you for your time, love, and intention!
I leave you now, not with a dirty laundry reference, but dirty dancing:
I’ve had ..the time of my life.. and I owe it all to you.”