Abu Dhabi, February 02, 2020: The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) is set to shed light on the journeys of four young migrants who discover what it means to leave home and begin again fresh, in this new work designed for audiences young and old. CARTOGRAPHYiscreated by director KanezaSchaal and writer Christopher Myers and draws on their experience with refugee youth. By integrating performance and technology, the audience are invited to examine their own lives and the maps they have yet to draw.
The Middle East premiere, co-commissioned by The Arts Center, was developed in part in residence at NYU Abu Dhabi and incorporates the work of graduates from NYU Abu Dhabi’s Interactive Media Program. The performances will take place on various dates and times from Thursday, February 6 to Saturday, February 15 in The Black Box at The Arts Center, including a number of invited performances for school groups. Among these invited performances will be a special sensory modified performance aimed at young people of determination, organized in collaboration with Special Olympics UAE.
CARTOGRAPHY explores the commonalities of migration and mapping at the center of worlds in motion that places all of us in a historical moment of the largest migration in recorded history. Myers and Schaal, who have collaborated previously, started developing the piece after working in Munich with young refugees.
CARTOGRAPHY engages audiences with amazing visual tools such as map-making and inventory along with performance elements like filmmaking and dancing. Sculptures create an array of visual journeys; sound sensors respond to actors’ voices, activating a virtual storm; and cellphones are used to mark memories and distances traveled.
Executive Artistic Director of The Arts Center at NYUAD Bill Bragin said, “The Arts Center began meeting with CARTOGRAPHY creators KanezaSchaal and Christopher Myers at a very early stage of the work’s development. We were struck by their deep empathy as well as creative approach to sharing the migration stories of young refugees in a work aimed at audiences of the same age, and proudly invested in the work as co-commissioners. When they visited NYU Abu Dhabi for a creative residency, we were struck by how deeply engaged they and their company became in the life of the larger community.
“Now that the piece has premiered in the US at the venues of co-commissioners such as Washington DC’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Times Square’s New Victory Theater, we’re thrilled for it to have its Middle East premiere in the UAE, where the issues of global migration resonate for so many of us.”
KanezaSchaal is a theater artist based in New York City. Her work, “JACK &” showed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) 2018 Next Wave Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and was also presented by its co-commissioners Walker Arts Center, REDCAT, On The Boards, Center for Contemporary Art Cincinnati, and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.
New York based Christopher Myers is widely acclaimed for his work with literature for young people. He is also an accomplished fine artist who has lectured and exhibited internationally. His practice can be divided into two categories, interventions in historical narratives and work crafted with artisans from around the globe. Christopher’s work has been exhibited at PS1/MoMA, and included as part of Greater New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Prospect Biennial in New Orleans and Contrasts Gallery in Shanghai.
The Arts Center’s Off The Stage workshop series introduces participants to theatrical elements, focusing on creative writing and storytelling. Two workshops take place on Friday, February 7 and Saturday, February 8 at The Arts Center at NYUAD. The first workshop Story Time with Christopher Myers: Children’s Story Hour will be hosted by the artist and writer, and is aimed at kindergarten and elementary school audiences. The second workshop Creator’s Workshop: Theatrical Story Creation will be hosted by both KanezaSchaal and Christoper Myers. Participants (university age and adults) will have the opportunity to revive childhood memories and delve into the process of self-expression and imagination.
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