by Okwui Okpokwasili and Asiya Wadud
day pulls down the sky / a filament in gold leaf marks a first-time collaboration between Belladonna* Collaborative and Danspace Project.
day pulls down the sky is the title of Okpokwasili’s first (and simultaneously released) LP initiated by Danspace Project’s executive director and chief curator Judy Hussie-Taylor who brought the idea of a recording to Okwui during one of their meetings about Danspace’s Platform 2020 and research institute. These songs were written by Okwui between 2012 and 2018, some specifically for her interdisciplinary performances. Four of the songs were first performed by Okwui at Danspace Project, including “sam’s song” on the occasion of Sam Miller’s memorial on September 15, 2018. They were recorded on January 8, 2019 at the studio of recording engineer John Kilgore. The album was produced by Okwui’s longtime artistic collaborator Peter Born.
Immediately upon hearing about this recording, Belladonna’s founder Rachel Levitsky had the idea to publish the lyrics and to invite Asiya Wadud to write in response to Okwui’s songs.
Okwui Okpokwasili is a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist. Her work includes two Bessie Award winning productions: Pent-Up: a revenge dance and Bronx Gothic, which premiered at Danspace Project and was co-commissioned by Performance Space New York (formerly PS 122). Other performance works include Poor People’s TV Room and Adaku’s Revolt. Okpokwasili is a 2018 Doris Duke Awardee and a 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
Asiya Wadud is the author of Crosslight for Youngbird, published by Nightboat Books in 2018. Her book Syncope (Ugly Duckling Presse) is forthcoming later in 2019, and No Knowledge Is Complete Until It Passes Through My Body will be out in 2020. She teaches poetry at Saint Ann’s School and leads an English conversation class for new immigrants at the Brooklyn Public Library. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.