Rommi Smith & Christella Litras: A Response to The Wisdom Tree

Thursday 4th August

Join poet, playwright and performer, Rommi Smith, and musician and composer, Christella Litras, for an evening of music and poetry at Leeds

 

Join poet, playwright and performer, Rommi Smith, and musician and composer, Christella Litras, for an evening of music and poetry at Leeds Art Gallery. This specially commissioned piece will respond to the multi-layered and exquisite drawings of British-Jamaican artist Charmaine Watkiss, as well as the artworks depicting people of African, Asian and Caribbean descent in the exhibition Shifting Perspectives.

Charmaine Watkiss’s drawings have a highly symbolic, subtle and poetic character, fusing together the artist’s interests in herbalism, alchemy and history. These life-size drawings explore the wisdom, strength and resilience of Black women across generations. Rommi and Christella’s poetic and musical response will explore the notion of ‘the women that we’re a consequence of’, and how within our present selves we find the threads that connect us to previous generations. They will also take inspiration from how both drawings and poetry can function as ‘palimpsests’ (something altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form).

Rommi Smith is a multi-award-winning poet, playwright, theatre-maker, performer, librettist, scholar and Cave Canem Fellow. Winner of numerous prestigious residencies and commissions from institutions ranging from the British Council to the BBC, she is a three-time BBC writer-in-residence. Rommi is the inaugural British Parliametary Writer-in-Residence and inaugural Poet-in-Residence for Keats’ House, Hampstead. Her writing is published by Bloodaxe, New York University Press, Seren, Shoestring Press, Route, Oberon Modern Plays and Peepal Tree Press, among others.

Christella Litras is a musical director, composer, lyricist, vocalist, keyboard player and percussionist. She combines formal training with a background in developing musicians and singers, and is the founder of Caution Collective. Christella has performed with Martha Reeves, Candi Staton, Denise Pearson, Sting, Glen Scott, Beverley Knight, Tom Jones and many more.

Get involved on the evening by creating your own poetic responses to the artwork!

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