Light Box is hosting an event on April 21 titled, “Powder Milk and Other Tales: An Evening of Performance,” that will showcase the multi-disciplinary art of local Detroit artists and visiting Spanish performance artist, Alba Soto.
Stefanie Cohen, the co-artistic director of Light Box, said in addition to their dedication to performing and fine arts, Light Box acts as a platform for artists and audiences to express themselves.
“Our mission is specifically around arts education and community education,” she said. “Giving us all, artists and everybody else, an opportunity to extend our voices in lots of different ways.”
Cohen said the balance of mediums at the event presents an opportunity to “cross pollinate” by exposing people to different forms of art and growing each artist’s audience.
“There is a balance of media; we have some movement, some music and we have some words,” she said.
Cohen said Light Box pairs visiting artists with local artists as a form of exchange.
“[It’s] a great way to have an exchange, among artists and for people coming in from out of town, to get to know the place and what it’s like in our community,” she said. “It helps to bring in an audience for somebody who people don’t know.”
All the art presented during the event will revolve around the theme of bodies, Cohen said. Such as Soto's work, which focuses on the idea of pregnancy and the poetry of Andrea Daniel, which she wrote while undergoing treatment for endometrial cancer.
“All of the work in that evening is very much centered around body,” Cohen said.
Cohen said the audience has the opportunity to participate in what’s being created at the event by contributing to the meaning of the art and their imagination.
“We’re definitely inviting the audience to be considering and occupying their own body as they interact with the work,” she said.
Andrea Daniel’s poetry, which she will recite at the event, focuses on her body’s journey with cancer.
Daniel is a Detroit-based, self-proclaimed “experiential” poet, writer and author of “Like Gwendolyn,” a book of poetry that comprises of over 40 years of experiences and observations about life.
At the event, Daniel will be reciting her new poetry which she wrote while undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. This will be her first public appearance since becoming cancer-free in December 2016.
Daniel said cancer was very traumatic.
“My body was just being ravaged with the treatment,” she said.
The toll of cancer affected her ability to muster up energy to write, Daniel said.
“I was really depressed, and I think the poems I wrote were during the radiation period and radiation was really hard,” she said.
Daniel describes her recent poems as “pretty dark,” as opposed to her earlier work.
“The pre-cancer poems are reflective of my life, they are more reflective but not necessarily dark dark,” she said.
Daniel said she hopes her recitation won’t be, “too much of a downer.”
“I’m not really a downer kind of person, but that period was just a downer moment,” she said.
Despite this, Daniel said she thinks her poetry will resonate with the audience at the event.
“The cancer experience, while it’s a horrible experience, it’s one that’s universal,” she said. “A lot of people, unfortunately, experience cancer in their lives either directly or through a family member or another loved one.”
Daniel said she will try to end her set with a lighter-toned poem and she will be singing a song she wrote with the working title “The Well.”
Visiting from Madrid, Alba Soto will perform and display her multi-disciplinary art at the event.
Soto said her potential as an artist is heavily reliant on her ability to express herself using various mediums.
“For me, it's about the essentials: breathe, the alternation of disciplines,” Soto said in a statement on her website. “I shift between drawing and performance, feeding off video and painting as well.”
Soto said on her website that the harmony of her visual and performance art come from her relationship with the universe and her sense of self.
“I work in pursuit of freedom, wishing to find myself as I am, discover new possibilities, and distance myself from artifice.”
Doors open for the event at 7:30 p.m. and admission is a sliding scale donation of $5-$10. Light Box is located at 8641 Linwood St., Detroit.
Soto will teach a workshop April 22 at Light Box broken into two sections: drawing on a large scale and movement pieces inspired by these drawings. No drawing or dancing experience is required for the workshop. Admission is a donation of $20-$40. People can RSVP to this workshop by emailing Light Box organizers at email@example.com.