Chelsea Elisabeth

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Chelsea (Che) Elisabeth uses the power of embodied ritual, performance, and interdisciplinary collaboration to build community resilience and sustainable models of living. With a background in psychology and art from University of California, Santa Cruz, Chelsea received the 2011 Irwin Award for artistic excellence. Chelsea has trained and danced in companies spanning contemporary modern technique, Afro-modern, jazz, ballet, and traditional movement of the African Diaspora. They have directed and performed original work as an artist in residence at Big Sur Spirit Garden and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Co-founder of The MOVEMENT and creator of the Art Liberation Troupe, Chelsea helps to build spaces for Queer People of Color of all ages to access healing through the arts and embodied activism. A lead organizer of Black Magic Arts Collective and Black Folks House, Chelsea is currently introducing their platform #DignityInProcess as an opportunity for multi-generational, Black change makers to develop a movement centered on healing and interdependence.

Artist Statement

North|South is part of a series of interactive performances utilizing ancestral ritual, connection to the natural elements, and original choreography to examine how exhaustion and endurance shape the pedagogy of Afro-diasporic activism. How does trauma manifest in the Black body as we struggle with an innate knowing that our liberation cannot be divorced from the earth. How can we challenge structures that deplete natural resources when we are pressed against historical wounds that relate land with physical extortion? Recognizing a cultural reference of freedom being found in migration to the industrial North, I ask our collective body to remember its roots in red ancestral soil. This performance piece travels to the North (New York) as well as the South (New Orleans) summer of 2015 and will evolve through community participation.

Exhibited Work

North|South, part of Dignity in Progress

Sacred objects and performance
Dimensions vary

About this Article

This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.