Ekphest: A Festival of Art + Word


Ekphrastic poetry is literary work inspired by a work of art. In this program, noted poets Jamila Woods, RJ EL, Fatimah Asghar, and Sharrieff Muhammad present a reading and performance written in response to artworks from the MCA Collection.

Ekphest: A Festival of Art + Word takes place in April 2015 at a selection of Chicago museums and institutions, including the MCA. Ekphest is organized by Fo Wilson and Krista Franklin. Visit the ekphest's website for more information about the festival.

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Sharrief Muhammad Courtesy of the artist

About the Artists

Jamila Woods is a poet and vocalist from Chicago whose work has been published by Muzzle, Radius, and Third World Press. She currently works as Associate Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, a nonprofit dedicated to youth literacy and self-expression. A member of the Dark Noise Collective and a Pushcart prize nominee, Woods is also the front-woman of adventure soul duo M&O.

Reginald Eldridge, aka RJ EL, is a writer, emergent multidisciplinary artist, curator, educator, and thinker. He is the associate director of the Chicago Slam Works House Ensemble as well as a Teaching Artist with Young Chicago Authors, Chicago Slam Works, Chicago Danztheatre, and the Storyographers digital storytelling organization. He made a national television debut last September in the NAACP Image-Award nominated series, Lexus Presents: Verses and Flow.

Fatimah Asghar is a nationally touring poet, photographer, and performer. She created Bosnia and Herzegovina's first spoken word poetry group, REFLEKS, while on a Fulbright studying theater in post-violent contexts. She has performed on many stages, including the Dodge Poetry Festival, The Nantucket Project, and TedX. She is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and is a teaching artist for Young Chicago Authors. Her chapbook Medusa, They Would Sing is forthcoming on Yes Yes Books in fall 2015.

Sharrieff Muhammad is the living embodiment of hip-hop music and its effect on the generation that he is apart of—Generation Whine (the generation between X and Millennial). He is a product of a culture that celebrates people who live in contradictions. Muhammad is a poet, an emcee, a beatboxer, a member of Tomorrow Kings, a theater actor, a teacher, a listener, an amateur photographer, and most importantly, a student.

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Jamila Woods Photo: Jovan Julien