Location: Dining Room
Body Movement by Autumn Knight, Megan Jackson, Abijan Johnson
Autumn Knight: I went forward with the project because Planned Parenthood and the work they do are generally critical, and I personally support their mission. This moment offered me to blend art and activism, or realize art as activism. I also was intrigued by the artistic problem of trying to connect the two issues: reproductive rights and safety/security/religious freedom issues in Karachi.
I assisted in curating/organizing/producing this production. I also participated as an artist presenting my own collaborative performance work. I was inspired by the collaborations with Sehba, the producer, and the other performers who co-choreographed a piece with me: Abijan Johnson and Megan Jackson. Spirited freestyled conversations between Sehba and me birthed many of the ideas presented that evening. The back-and-forth, the compromises, the humor, the shared experiences, all inspired much of the components of the production. I was satisfied with the outcome. There were areas that needed improvement, but I recognize these as learning experiences. I welcome any opportunity to learn alternate realities, and I’m looking for what’s next.
Megan Jackson: I have to be honest. When I went to the first meeting for the event, I was a bit apprehensive; I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a part of it. My upbringing in the Catholic religion had a lot to do with my apprehension. I was never educated about women’s reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood, well, it was a place to pray for, not to support. Yet, I decided to go along with this art. With Autumn Knight and Abijan Johnson, we created a piece that empathized with the clients from Planned Parenthood, far from the stance I knew before. It took some time for me to understand the role of the institution. Yet, hearing clients’ stories, my colleagues’ stories, and doing my own research, I became intrigued and was compelled to be part of this beautiful project. Thank you for opening my eyes, Voices Breaking Boundaries.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Megan Jackson (Houston, USA) has performed in numerous productions in New York City working with such literary figures, such as Ishmael Reed and Rome Neal of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and staged readings with The Frank Silvera Writers’ Workshop. Since returning to Houston in 2010, she served as editor of the book, Teaching in the Spirit.
Abijan Johnson (Houston, USA) works in social services by day and dances by night. This is her third collaboration with Autumn Knight, using movement to explore individual perception, mental health and critical social systems.
Autumn Knight (Houston, USA) has performed internationally with Elevator Repair Service and is a co-founder of Jelly Jar, a performance-based collective. With a BA in Theatre and Speech Communications (Dillard University) and MA in Drama Therapy (New York University) she has pursued acting training at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama.