National Sawdust+ presents Who Owns the Story: Artists Speak Out on Sunday, June 11 at 4pm. The program, exploring Mamie Till’s searing quote, “Let the World See What I Have Seen,” will feature conversations and performances as a range of artists explore the idea of who has the ownership – or the right – to tell which/what stories. Are there limits? And what is the responsibility of those who tell the stories, and their obligation to the truth? Artists will include provocative monologist/storyteller Mike Daisey, who has been called “a brilliant filthy Garrison Keillor” and “worse, possibly, than Dick Cheney” by The New York Times and NPR, respectively; musician and flute player Tiokasin Ghosthorse, an activist and WBAI-Pacifica’s First Voices Radio host who hails from the Cheyenne River Lakota (Sioux) Nation of South Dakota; Native Hawaiian artist, practitioner, and teacher Kauila Kanaka’ole, part of a long family lineage of masters in the cultural practice of Hula ‘Aiha‘a (Native Hawaiian Dance) and ceremonial ritual; singer-songwriter Morley, whose unique blend of jazz, folk, and soul – as well as her work in conflict resolution – carries her powerful message of love, justice, and inspiration; Dael Orlandersmith, the Pulitzer Prize finalist and Obie, Guggenheim, and PEN Award-winning playwright and performer; and NS+ mainstay Carl Hancock Rux, the remarkable playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, performer, theater director, and recording artist. One World editor/publisher Chris Jackson (Ta-Nahisi Coates, Eddie Huang, Jay-Z) whose trailblazing work continues to transform the conversation around race, identity, and politics, will moderate part of the program.
Many provocative questions of ownership, intent, responsibility, empathy, and imagination have arisen in the wake of the Whitney Biennial controversy surrounding Open Casket, Dana Schutz’s painting of the corpse of Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered in 1955. This NS+ program continues this timely yet timeless debate about who has “the right” to tell whose story. This National Sawdust+ program, also moderated by NS+ curator Elena Park, will draw on a host of perspectives; it will provide a wider lens on this sensitive but important topic, allowing for a sharing of music, ritual, and ideas with artists devoted to the craft of storytelling and art.