Nikki Johnson, Sheila Maldonado, and Chavisa Woods will join Barbara Purcell for a conversation on A Gathering of Tribes. We’ll conclude with a poetry reading from Sheila Maldonado.
In this talk
Founded by retired professor, novelist and playwright, Steve Cannon in 1993, A Gathering of Tribes elevates revolutionary voices, providing a platform for diverse, traditionally under-represented, emerging and established artists and writers.
Tribes is committed to honoring and memorializing Steve Cannon’s life and legacy. Our founder believed in the power of multiculturalism interdisciplinary connections. This was the impetus for the creation of A Gathering of the Tribes. He provided a space that empowered artist and writers of color, immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, and people from diverse class backgrounds, who regularly came together, bonded by a singular passion; love of the arts. He provided an open space for rigorous intellectual debate, and at the same time, rigorous experimentation, the combination of which is the lifeblood of the arts.
Like our founder, we also remain deeply committed to celebrating diversity and multiculturalism, which is apparent throughout every aspect of our programming. Tribes envisions a world where intellectual and creative endeavors are valued as much as labor and capital, and seeks to support artists of diversity and unique ability who may have otherwise been overlooked by mainstream institutions, providing them with access to broad audiences, financial incentives to continue creating, and connection to a vibrant community.
Nikki Johnson has exhibited her portraits and documentary photographs widely in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Johnson holds an MFA in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology as well as a BFA degree from Mississippi University for Women. The New York Times art critic Holland Cotter described her photographs in the show “Back to Haunt the Hell out of You” as “disturbing and moving.” Johnson published two monographs with Maekask Editions, Natural History (2010) and We Buy Gold (2013). Black Jelly (A Gathering of Tribes / Fly by Night Press 2019) is a collaboration with poet Melanie Maria Goodreaux. These images were showcased in an accompanying exhibition at Theater for the New City Gallery. She currently lives in Harlem, New York.
Sheila Maldonado is the author of the poetry collections one-bedroom solo (A Gathering of the Tribes / Fly by Night Press, 2011) and that’s what you get (Brooklyn Arts Press, forthcoming, 2021). She is a CantoMundo Fellow and a Creative Capital awardee as part of desveladas, a visual writing collective. She teaches English for The City University of New York and is an associate poetry editor for Tribes. She was born in Brooklyn and raised in Coney Island. Her family hails from Honduras. She lives in uptown Manhattan.
MacDowell Fellow, Chavisa Woods, is the author of four books including The Albino Album, Things To Do When You’re Goth in the Country, and 100 Times (A Memoir of Sexism), all from Seven Stories Press. Her first book, Love Does Not Make Me Gentle or Kind was published by Fly By Night Press, a subsidiary of a Gathering of the Tribes. She is the recipient of The Shirley Jackson Award, The Kathy Acker Award in Writing, The Cobalt Prize for Fiction, and others. Her work has received praise from The New York Times, The LA Times, Publisher’s Weekly, The Stranger, The Seattle Review of Books, Booklist, and many other media outlets. She has appeared on such notable talk shows as The Young Turks, and NPR’s 1A. Her writing has appeared in such publications as Tin House, LitHub, Electric Lit, Full Stop, The Brooklyn Rail, The Evergreen Review, New York Quarterly, and many other publications. Woods currently serves as the Executive Director of A Gathering of the Tribes, and is completing her fifth book, a collection of short fiction about parties and death.
Barbara Purcell is an Austin-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Canadian Art, Glasstire, and Sightlines Magazine, among others. She is the author of Black Ice: Poems (Fly by Night Press, 2006) and has contributed to three anthologies including Word: An Anthology by A Gathering of the Tribes. She is a graduate of Skidmore College and a native of North Jersey.