Performance artist Taja Lindley‘s short film, “This Ain’t A Eulogy – A Ritual for Re-membering,” debuting on Thursday, depicts the violent treatment of Black people in the United States, with an eye towards healing without forgetting.
The piece is actually a film version of Lindley’s one-woman stage performance of the same name. Having performed it dozens of times, Lindley felt turning it into a film would be best to make “Eulogy” more accessible to others.
The performance piece shows how all too often Black people in this country seem to be treated like they can be disposed of, much like trash. In the show, representations of those who died from police are scattered around by use of black trash bags.
This is where Lindley’s character, the Bag Lady, comes in.
Developed in 2014, the Bag Lady is inspired by an Erykah Badu song that talks about letting go of things. But over time, Lindley’s Bag Lady developed into the opposite of that.
“My Bag Lady says to hold on to what we have,” Lindley says. “What we let go, we let go of something valuable that can be transformed.
“The Bag Lady is the keeper of the discarded. She turns trash into a thing of beauty. She’s regal, she’s an alchemist. What was considered trash can become ornate and divine.”
The theme of this year’s art walk centers about ritual and healing – something Lindley feels strongly about. In this post-Ferguson moment, Lindley is imagining how to recycle the energy of protest, rage, and grief into creating a world where, indeed, Black lives matter. ”
“Its values and message resonates with what my work is all about,” the Crown Heights resident says.
“This Ain’t A Eulogy” was filmed in November 2016 when Lindley collaborated with dancer/filmmaker Ellen Maynard.
After Thursday’s debut, Lindley says she will submit the film to festivals. But more importantly, she will upload the film online so it would be more available to a wider audience so there would be more conversations regarding her take on how Black people are treated in America.
“Art creates a conversation that a regular conversation can’t,” Lindley explains. “This way the work can reach more people and heal more people. What better way than for people to access it online?”
The film’s premiere is slated for 7 p.m., this Thursday, Feb. 16 Five Spot Soul Food, 459 Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene. After the showing, there will be a conversation and a ritual healing, which is sponsored by Harriet’s Apothecary, an all Black healing village. While Lindley is still deciding on just what kind of ritual will go on, she says it will cater to the needs of those in attendance.
For further info on Lindley and the film visit www.tajalindley.com.