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Monika Akila-Richards - disability arts online
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Disability Arts Online

An Experiment / 8 September 2011

woman wearing black looking fierce pointing and holding a piece of red fabric

Photo of Monika Richards by Sylvia Bernat at PITCH! Sync South East event June 2011 www.sylviabernatphotography.com

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When I joined Sync South East it was the beginning of a tremendous journey. What I particularly valued was having space and time to develop a new frame of mind, exchanging and debating with my fellow artists and questioning assumptions about disability art. The journey was equally challenging and empowering.

One of the final goals was the Pitch! showcase on 22 June 2011. It gave us the opportunity to deliver our artistic and professional practice to producers, venues and promoters at The Stables, www.stables.org in Milton Keynes. I decided on a new approach to performing my poetry; involving the audience, make them part of my performance. I handed out printed poems with little explanation. This was highly experimental and unrehearsed. But the element of surprise on both sides worked! At points in my performance I spontaneously got one of the audience members to read out some of the lines. Furthermore, what I discovered when an audience member read out, I began to perform to their voice and style and this became an interaction between the two of us. The feedback was positive and exhilarating. From this experience I have decided to develop this practice further. I now see this as a strength rather then a barrier.

Red Saviour
She is nine years old and worships red

Shoes, hot air, autumn leaves
toys, angel wings, sunsets
buttons, dreams and clothes.

Smelling flowers
send pulsating signals
stop the stench of death

Wrapping her shawl tight
around her right stump,
pain instantly disappears

The fire engine’s red rush
is her favourite
race to the rescue

Sirens ring the alarm
Flashing lights spin
Ladders escape to the sky

Since she arrived
alone at the airport
Red became her

Camouflaging the scars
under her skin
inside out

Red makes everything real.

You can read my poem 'Red Saviour' and others in the anthology 'When Red is Black' SBN: 9781845231293 by www.peepaltreepress.com.
You can see me perform at the Turner Contemporary in Margate  for AfriKaba  on 25 September 2011 at 3 pm.