Let's give a warm welcome to our third Visiting Artist of 2023, GeeXella.
GeeXella (pronounced Jee-EL-LUH) is an AfroLatinx, Non-binary, and Queer transdisciplinary artist. They are currently occupying space in Muscogee Creek Land, also known as Atlanta, GA. They engage with their work as an extension of cultural organizing for the liberation of Black and marginalized people.
The needs of the community continuously inspire GeeXella’s work as a musician, collage artist, and sound healer. They are on a constant exploration to connect their art through the medium of curated communal gatherings, whether it be through a dance floor or book store. GeeXella’s comrades and friends inspire them and see community as an integral part of their work. To quote Laura Chow Reeve, “Safe spaces do not merely exist because we say they do, but must be cultivated, nourished and worked on.” GeeXella practices conjuring safe spaces for themselves and others, while also giving thanks to ancestral people that occupied the land before them.
"I’ve spent most of my life in the South, and therefore understand my Blackness and brownness through that lens and context. I have read through various local accounts that Erie can be a difficult space to navigate while being Black and/or otherwise marginalized. This present truth builds on Erie’s history as a contested geography, as Erie was once a liminal space for formerly enslaved African people between slavery and freedom. To better understand the duality that exists in Erie’s past and present, I want to learn the needs and stories of the Queer, Latinx, and Black communities of Erie. To accomplish this, I will pull inspiration from author Zora Neal Hurston and her approach to capturing Oral History. Erie’s storytellers will serve as co-creators as their contributions and histories are used to curate a soundscape.
I also want to take advantage of Erie’s location on a Great Lake, as I feel the water and land have many stories to both tell and receive. I plan to use the spiritual healing modality of sound by hosting a sound bath on the shores of the lake. It is very important to me that this event be accessible and open to the public. I will work to ensure that this event does not serve as a spectacle, but instead carries on in the Black oral traditions of storytelling through music, dance, and art."