Artist Carrie Mae Weems to explore race, injustice at Power Center Friday, Saturday

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

Credit: Carrie Mae Weems

ANN ARBOR - Deemed by the New York Times as, "one of the more interesting artists working in the gap between art and politics," Carrie Mae Weems brings her powerful performance, Past Tense, to the Power Center Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Through song, visual mixed media and storytelling, Weems takes a deep dive into the issue of race, abuse of power and injustice in her pursuit to reinterpret what she calls Antigone.

The concept arose when she was developing her work, Grace Notes, inspired by the moment President Barack Obama sang "Amazing Grace" after nine African-Americans were shot and killed in their church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

"While working on Grace Notes for months, it occurred to me that I was telling the story of Antigone, wherein an innocent man dies by unjustified means, and his sister fights for the right to bury him honorably," Weems said in a statement. "But the wider community refuses her; her right to justice, and to peace, is denied."

Musicians and artists join her on stage to mourn the lives of those lost as a result of the actions of those who were supposed to keep them safe. 

The performance incorporates video of Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling and others.

Buy tickets here.

There will be a post-performance Q&A both nights with Weems.

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