Artists Space

Shala Miller
Genesis: Medley

May 19, 2023, 7pm

Performance, co-presented with Frieze
May 19, 2023

11 Cortlandt Alley
Free RSVP here
Due to limited capacity, one RSVP per attendee

A color documentation image of Shala Miller
Shala Miller, Genesis. Installation view, Artists Space, 2023. Photo: Filip Wolak. [A color documentation image of Shala Miller's Genesis, 2023. Three monochrome projection panels float equidistantly in a dark room, with vinyls on blacks walls.]

Artists Space in collaboration with Frieze is pleased to present Genesis: Medley, a Choral Performance by multidisciplinary artist, vocalist, and writer Shala Miller. An extension of their latest three-channel installation, Genesis, currently on view at Artists Space, the performance brings together a chorus of vocalists to tell the story of Obsidian’s becoming. Obsidian is a fictional character who serves as a kind of alter ego for the artist, created at the beginning of this year to process their rage as a black Femme person. For this project, Miller works closely with director and composer Tariq Al-Sabir to reimagine the installation’s three- part soundtrack for live audiences, cultivating a musical arrangement and choreography that uses voice and echo as primary material. Utilizing autoethnography, song, and the artist’s years long practice of creating fictional worlds, the work is a meditation on desire, mourning, pleasure, and pain.

Featuring the following vocalists: Rashad McPherson, Tyneshia Hill, Shauna Blacks, Nia Drummond, Yashua Shalom, Chauncey Matthews, Jazmin McCray, Keeara Powell, Brianna Turner, James Warren; and Samantha Feliciano on harp and vocals.

Shala Miller, also known as Freddie June when they sing, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, by two southerners named Al and Ruby. At around the age of ten or eleven, Miller discovered quietude, the kind you’re sort of pushed into, and then was fooled into thinking that was where they should stay put. Since then, Miller has been trying to find their way out, and find their way into an understanding of themself and their history using photography, video, writing, and singing as an aid in this process. Miller earned a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in 2017 and attended The New York Film Festival Artist Academy in 2019 and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris in 2016. Miller’s solo exhibitions include Lyles & King, New York in 2023 and Chart, New York in 2021. In 2022, Miller was included in Black Melancholia, at The Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, and in Beneath Tongues, curated by Sable Elyse Smith, at Swiss Institute, New York. In 2017, Miller was an artist in residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Composer, vocalist, music director, and producer Tariq Al-Sabir (Ensemble / Agricultural Community Patriarch) has been described as “a boundless talent” by Baltimore’s City Hall and The Examiner dubbed him “a rising musical mastermind.” He has been featured on Al Jazeera and TEDx for his innovative work that creatively and seamlessly challenges genre-exclusive expectations. Al-Sabir has premiered and performed commissioned works at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, Lincoln Center, National Sawdust, and MoMA. Al-Sabir’s multimedia song cycle #UNWANTED, conceived in 2018 during his residency at Mabou Mines, will have its world premiere at The Shed this June among the inaugural Open Call commissions. Al-Sabir makes his LA Phil debut this season with the cast of ATLAS.

Samantha Feliciano is a cross-genre vocalist, harpist, composer, and educator based in Brooklyn. She has completed a Master’s of Music from New York University with a dual degree in vocal performance and an advanced certificate in vocal pedagogy. She has also earned a Bachelor's of Science in music education from Western Connecticut State University studying jazz and classical voice. Since 2015, Samantha’s career focus has been music education through public schooling, private and collegiate level instruction, and choral directing. As a freelance musician, Samantha continues to challenge her artistry by crossing through jazz, opera, orchestral music, and film. Her performance practice has given her freedom to become a vessel for storytelling. Samantha’s most recently projects include debuting an original suite composed for the film The Future Dream by Diego Martinez Chacon at The Tank NYC, as well as an original score for the play What Happens to Brown Girls Who Never Learn How To Love Themselves Brown by Shenny De Los Angeles at Mabou Mines Theater. She plans to continue her practice in harp and voice in pursuit of becoming a full-time recording and touring artist.

Rashad McPherson is a performer, musician, composer, and arranger living in New York. Rashad studied music formally as a piano principle and Music Business major at Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA). Rashad’s recent solo record Forward features collaborations with Kymberli Joye (The Voice), Shelby Sykes (The Color Purple tour), Jonny Fung, Kevin Powell, and more. Rashad made his theatrical music directorial debut with the world premiere of Bayard Rustin: Inside Ashland, written and directed by Steve H. Broadnax III (People’s Light). He composed and co-arranged the score alongside Jason Michael Webb. Rashad is a seminary-trained and ordained minister. He graduated from Boston University School of Theology and Union Theological Seminary in New York in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Currently, Rashad serves as an Associate Minister at Marble Collegiate Church (New York, NY). There, in additional to his pastoral responsibilities, he is the lead contributor for racial justice programming.

Exhibition support is provided by an Anonymous Donor and Courtney Dailey.

Support for Artists Space’s exhibitions and programs is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation, The Cowles Charitable Trust, The Cy Twombly Foundation, The Teiger Foundation, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, Imperfect Family Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Willem de Kooning Foundation, The Fox Aarons Foundation, Herman Goldman Foundation, The Destina Foundation, The Luce Foundation, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, The David Rockefeller Fund, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, The Jill and Peter Kraus Foundation, The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation.