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June 11 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
THE FRONT: FEATURING PERFORMANCES BY DARLING SHEAR, SHANTA NURULLAH, AND ZAHRA BAKER!
We’re excited to host these dynamic performers who will be activating our Burroughs Gallery with performances that respond to themes of the body, queer introspective experiences, Black femme histories, and folklore!!
Calling you to bring friends, family, and chosen family.
2 – 2:45PM
ShaZah is the performing duo of Shanta Nurullah and Zahra Baker. They combine storytelling, singing, poetry and instrumental music to explore a broad range of themes and genres rooted in the African-American experience. “Om Mission,” their recent commission for About Face Theatre’s partnership with the Stony Island Arts Bank, focused on Black lesbians in Chicago. They conducted interviews and developed a video and live performance that recognizes the contributions, struggles, and dreams of their peers. In addition to presenting this show for About Face Theatre’s Kickback Festival, ShaZah presented it at Navy Pier’s Chicago LIVE Again weekend last fall and at Rhode Island Black Storytellers’ Funda Fest.
Shanta Nurullah has been performing, as a storyteller and musician, around Chicago and nationally for over fifty years. A 2021 3Arts Awardee, she plays sitar, bass and mbira, is a member of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians); co-founded the all-women’s groups Sojourner and Samana; and currently leads the band Sitarsys. She received the Zora Neale Hurston Award from the National Association of Black Storytellers as well as the Artist Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council.
Zahra Baker is folk and jazz vocalist. Her performance history includes vocalist for “Performance duo: In the Spirit” (with Emily Lansana), which has been featured at festivals including several (NABS) National Association of Black Storytellers festivals, National Storytelling Festival Jonesborough, Tenn, and Texas Storytelling Festival. Zahra has been vocalist for jazz ensembles, theater companies, social justice activism and healing workshops. She has also worked as a teaching artist for over 30 years, primarily in the Chicago area. Currently, she is co-founder of Freedom Song Leaders, Classic Black, and is a member of Shanta Nurullah’s Sitarsys.
3pm – 3:45PM
Darling Shear is a Chicago Native but has roots in Atlanta where Darling started dance training. Darling has trained in Ballet, Modern, Jazz and African. Her career highlights have been working with Bubba Carr choreographer/artistic director to Cher for 12 yrs and counting, Rhonda Henriksen soloist with Hubbard Street and Twyla Tharp, Tracy Vogt former Philadanco dancer, Hinton Battle the Original Scarecrow from the broadway production of “The Wiz” and Lauri Stallings Hubbard street soloist and founder/artistic director of gloATL.
Darling, a freelance dancer/choreographer in the city has worked with The Fly Honeys of the The Inconvenience, Body Cartography of Minneapolis, Links Hall, Victoria Bradford, Chicago AIDS Foundation, chances dances, no small plan productions, Slo’Mo, the Public hotel, Soho House Chicago, Growing Power inc., EXPO Chicago, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, the school of the art Institute, Depaul Art Museum, University of Chicago, University of Illinois in Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago Film Archive, Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Salonathon, and Open TV beta.
In 2018 Darling was chosen as the cover model and also quoted in Micah Salkind’s Oxford published book ‘Do you remember house? Chicago’s queer of color underground’. Followed by receiving The Between Gestures scholarship to Austria to attend Impulstanz in Vienna also the Chicago Dancemakers Forum fellowship and Links Hall CoMission Fellowship, along with a 3Arts nomination in 2019. Darling’s career has been one with a strong spiritual center and allowance of universal well-being.
“I sit back, observe and consume my surroundings and tell stories from an unbiased perspective. There are 3 sides to every coin and I aim to be the ridged. My work reflects the Contrast and Alignment of the cooperative components of life.”