Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Poetry Scores: Artists respond to Wole Soyinka’s poem

Friday, May 18, 2012 (7 to 10 p.m.)
Mad Art Gallery
2727 S. 12th St.
St. Louis, MO

Soyinka will discuss his poem and the Poetry Scores project live on St. Louis radio Monday, May 14. He will provide a live interview to the poetry show on KDHX, “Literature from the Halibut,” 9-10 p.m. next Monday at 88.1 FM and www.kdhx.org

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I met Wole Soyinka in 2008. While he won't be there in person, his art and the art in response to one of his powerful poems will be there in full force. “Wole Soyinka [Nigerian Poet Laureate] wrote this poem during solitary confinement in a prison in Nigeria, where poverty is so visible,” said Onur Karagoz of bicycle day. “To us, the poem says, ‘Embrace mankind. Embrace mankind. Embrace mankind.’” Poetry Scores to host Art Invitational to poem by Nigerian Nobel laureate "Across that broken road a fire that heals" by Robin Street-Morris, for "Ever-Ready Bank Accounts"

Poetry Scores will host an Art Invitational based on the poem "Ever-Ready Bank Accounts" by Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Laureate in Literature from Nigeria, 7-10 p.m. Friday, May 18 at Mad Art Gallery, 2727 So. 12th. St. in St. Louis.

In a Art Invitational, some 50 visual artists make art in response to the same poem, and title their work using a direct quote from the poem. The work is then hung in the gallery according to where in the flow of the poem the language used for the title appears.

"It’s a very special celebration of creative collaboration,” Wole Soyinka told The Alton Telegraph in a feature story about the project.

Artists confirmed for the show include many of St. Louis' most beloved working artists, many of whom have national and international credits. For 2012, Poetry Scores has the benefit of Andrew Torch from the international Surrealist movement as guest co-curator.

All art will be available for sale in a silent auction. Bidding wars will be wrapped up throughout the night, starting at 8 p.m. with cash, credit and "Square" sales accepted. All art will come down off the walls and go home with buyers that night.

Poetry Scores also partners with SCOSaG to include child artists in its shows. A group of twelve children made drawings to "Ever-Ready Bank Accounts" with co-curator Chris King, creative director of Poetry Scores. Each of these child artists will have a piece in the "big people's show" on May 18, with the rest of their drawings on display in a separate space in the gallery.

Poetry Scores is a St. Louis-based arts organization that translates poetry into other media, including music, food, visual art, and digital cinema. Its Art Invitationals are fundraisers that allow the organization to produce and release its projects (primarily, poetry translated into music and digital cinema). However, Poetry Scores splits proceeds from all sales evenly with the artist and the gallery.

Poetry Scores' proceeds from the May 18 event will be used to fund a release of the poetry score to "Ever-Ready Bank Accounts" it is producing. The three-man Istanbul-based orchestra bicycle day is scoring Wole Soyinka's poem on commission. The intention is to produce a CD of the score in the St. Louis and a vinyl LP in Istanbul.

When interviewed by The Alton Telegraph, bicycle day gave its understanding of Soyinka's poem. “Wole Soyinka wrote this poem during solitary confinement in a prison in Nigeria, where poverty is so visible,” said Onur Karagoz of bicycle day. “To us, the poem says, ‘Embrace mankind. Embrace mankind. Embrace mankind.’”

Admission to the event is free. All art on sale in a silent auction. Poetry Scores also will have for sale its many past projects. Mad Art will run a cash bar.

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