The Black Women’s Arts Festival (BWAF), a Philadelphia based community event, focuses on the visibility and viability of black women artists of all genres and media without regard for: age, gender expression, physical ability, religion, sexual orientation or size. BWAF has been a 501 (c) (3) organization since 2007.
Vivant Art Collection Featuring:
Nina 'Lyrispect' Ball Lyrispect’s performance can only be described as an intense, passionate “verbal grace”. Her style, approach, content and delivery have been likened to that of: Sanchez, Baraka, Neruda and Saul Williams. She has shared venues with the legendary: Last Poets, Dr. Julius Garvey, Eric Benet, Raheem DeVaughn, Kenny Lattimore, Dwele, Fertile Ground, and most recently, Mos Def. Lyrispect’s literary works, including an original one-act “Her-story”, have received recognitions from the NAACP, National Black Theater Festival, and Center Stage’s Young Playwright’s Festival. For more information: www.myspace.com/lyrispect
Nikki Powerhouse Nikki Powerhouse is a native of Philadelphia, PA soil. An actor, playwright, poet, nude figure model and freedom dancer who uses her many artistic expressions to promote healing. She began her extensive theater training at the Philadelphia Creative Performing Arts High School, and continued honing her passion at Black Nexxus, and Theatre for New Generation. Her New York City stage credits include: 'Notice Me', presented in NYC Fringe Festival, 'Sex, God, and Heels', 'Queen Mary of Scotland' and 'Khepera'. In Philadelphia she has trained with The New Freedom Theater, she recently finish her BFA at Temple University School of Theater Communications. Philadelphia stage credits includes: her one-woman show 'Fantasy Is An Addiction' (2005 Philly Fringe Festival), lead role in 'Antigone', 'Seven Guitars', 'Fences', and 'Merry Wives of Windsor'. Ms. Powerhouse's flexibility leaves her audiences captivated by each every performance giving true mean to the name: Powerhouse!
Cocosol Burning with a distinct & intoxicating life force, CocoSol is an International Songstress & multi-instrumentalist. Her music is a wonderful world funk symphony woven with catchy guitar licks, sultry voice, fiery rhythms and longing melodies. In Montreal, CocoSol grew up in a large family of nine, Brady Bunch style. While a teenager, she took the stage as a root dancer and singer percussionist with Ayana & Batanes; two Malian/Cuban premier ensembles and appeared as a recording artist on their release, Batanes. Since her arrival on the Philadelphia’s art scene in the late nineties, CocoSol has collaborated with multiple artists, companies and formed three distinct musical groups: “Do it Duo, Les Tourterelles and SOWELU.” For more on this artist: www.cocosmusic.com.
Sherry Burton Ways Sherry Burton Ways is a self-taught mixed media and art doll artist. In late 2007, Sherry was challenged by my twin sister and artist, Sharon J. Burton, to create dolls and art again. In December 2007, she created Sankofa Doll Artistry, which provided her an opportunity to begin creating mixed media art and art dolls reflective of women of the African Diaspora. Her doll art has been recently published in the book, “Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting and Experiencing the Passion” by Debbie Behan Garrett, Soft Dolls & Animals Magazine and Doll Castle News Magazine. In 2009, Ways will contribute to the forthcoming book by nationally known doll artist, Pamela Hastings, entitled Hot Flash. For more information click here
Cheryl Durgans I am inspired by the writings of Octavia Butler and James Baldwin, the collage/assemblage art of Romare Bearden, the investigative prowess of investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, and my late father’s brilliant ability to solve complex problems as an engineer. I am intrigued by non-linear composition, layering conceptual elements on top of one another to tell a cohesive story. I grew up straddling the world of my working class relatives’ fun, cool, jazzy, but kitschy vibe with my college educated parents more pragmatic approach to living a structured, emerging African American middle class existence. Because of my background, I like to play with identity politics. Printmaking, painting and writing are important aspects of my art making process. I am particularly intrigued by the overall look achieved by using printmaking techniques.
Nataki Bhatti A love and understanding of art was both nurtured and natured in Nataki McNeal Bhatti. She comes from a family of artists, Nataki’s mother, F. Diane McNeal was a textile & fiber artist, master papermaker and visual artist; her grandfather, F. D. McNeal, was a folk artist and her father is a painter and classical musician. One thing is certain. Nataki was raised to be an artist. She states, “I did not choose art, it choose me.” Despite challenge, she is obedient to her calling. Nataki received a dual degree in Art and African American Studies from Penn State University where she focused on African aesthetic and revolutionary art, which is the philosophical basis of all of her work. Nataki is presently working on a series of paintings that explore the black icon and harmonize conflict and movement within color. She continues to teach locally, give private lessons and facilitates various workshops. Nataki continues communicating spirit with a performance conversation about the dichotomies of being a black-woman-mother-artist-wife.
Sharon Burton As a self-taught artist, I am influenced by the spiritual world, especially representations of beliefs and customs in a variety of cultures. I also use art to respond to social issues that affect those most vulnerable individuals in our society. I choose the appropriate medium, whether painting, mixed media, collage, or photography from the “visions” which guide me in during the creative process. I am influenced by African American culture and history, especially now that our country has elected the first African American President.
Simone Lino aka Donna Yaya by Lino August 10th, 1978, on a sunny afternoon in Minas Gerais, a Brazilian artist was born. Simone’s (aka Donna Yaya by Lino) parents engrossed their daughter into several artistic activities. From the age of nine, she took art classes three times a week which blossomed into her passion. She also took dance classes and learned to samba dance like a true Brazilian native. Simone is also a performing vocal artist and use to sing in the choir of Parana University of Arts (2001-2003). Since moving from Rio de Janeiro to Philadelphia in 2005, she reconnected with her art to fill in the absence of her parents and family. Simone also known as “Donna Yayá by Lino” in her paintings, she embraces her feminine spiritual side while a product of her father reflects her masculinity and strength. Oil is her preferred medium of choice because of the complexity in the texture and movement. Donna Yaya by Lino expresses herself through freedom of colors, leaving ample room for the viewers’ imagination. Simone Lino’s personality is bright and energetic, which spills onto the canvas like a kaleidoscope!
I am an emerging self taught doll artist who is learning how to improve my craft. I started doll making 3 years ago and stopped due to entrepreneurial pursuits. Now with the help of my mentor Francine Haskins, I am beginning the craft again with much more vigor and interest. Please share this journey with me.