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Ekphest: A Festival of Art + Word

Sharrief Muhammad

Courtesy of the artist


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.

Jamila Woods

Photo: Jovan Julien

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.