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Samora Pinderhughes & Elena Ayodele Pinderhughes Performance – Maria Gaspar’s Compositions’ “We Lit the Fire and Trusted the Heat”

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Event Series Event Series: Visualizing Abolition

February 6 @ 7:00 pm

In conjunction with Compositions, on view at the IAS, Maria Gaspar’s sculptural renderings of the jail’s fragments have been sonically and visually activated through performances over the course of the exhibition as part of Gaspar’s work We Lit the Fire and Trusted the Heat. These events make present the histories of people so often occluded by carceral structures and suggest new modes of transforming the wreckage of the present through art. This event is by invitation only.

This February 6th 2024, join us for a live performance by acclaimed musicians Elena and Samora Pinderhughes who will perform an improvised musical piece using sculptures made from the fragments of the Cook County Jail. This sprawling space of imprisonment covers ninety-six acres on Chicago’s West Side and is one of the largest concentrations of incarcerated people in the country. Long a subject of Gaspar’s work, it was the site of a series of community-engaged art projects from 2012-2016. Learn more here.


Elena Ayodele Pinderhughes is an award winning flutist, vocalist, composer, and songwriter. Pinderhughes’s style seamlessly blends jazz, hip-hop, and R&B influences, reflecting her diverse musical upbringing and open-minded approach to music. She began her musical journey at a young age and has since established herself as a prominent figure in the contemporary jazz and R&B music scenes, performing and touring in venues and festivals throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and South America. Described by The Guardian as the “most exciting and creatively assured jazz flutist to have emerged in years”, Elena has performed in venues and festivals including: Carnegie Hall, the White House, the Kennedy Center, Coachella Music Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Marciac Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival and Newport Jazz Festival. Elena was raised in the Bay Area, CA and moved to New York City to study flute and voice at The Manhattan School of Music. In New York, she began recording, touring and performing with artists in multiple genres including Common, Herbie Hancock, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, Hubert Laws, Kenny Barron, Stefon Harris, Lionel Loueke, Terri Lyne Carrington, Josh Groban, Vijay Iyer, Future and others. Most recently, Elena is featured on Terrace Martins album, “Fine Tune”, Herbie Hancock’s upcoming album, Common’s album, ”Black America Again”, Lupe Fiasco’s “Drogas Wave,” Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s albums “Stretch Music: Introducing Elena Pinderhughes” and “Diaspora”, Ambrose Akinmusire’s Blue Note album, “The Imagined Savior is Far Easier to Paint,” Terri Lyne Carrington’s Grammy Winning album “New Standards” as well as many others. Performing with a range of musicians, as well as with her own group, Elena tours internationally with Herbie Hancock, Terrace Martin, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and Common. Her unique voice, flute playing, and writing style bring her musicality, harmony, rhythm, and culture to create a very specific sound all her own.

Samora Pinderhughes is a composer, pianist, vocalist, filmmaker, and multidisciplinary artist known for striking intimacy and carefully crafted, radically honest lyrics alongside high-level musicianship. The New York Times describes Pinderhughes as “one of the most affecting singer-songwriters today, in any genre” that “turn(s) the experience of living in community inside-out, revealing all its personal detail and tension, and giving voice to registers of pain that are commonly shared but not often articulated.” He has collaborated with many artists across boundaries and scenes including Common, Herbie Hancock, Glenn Ligon, Sara Bareilles, Robert Glasper, Simone Leigh, Daveed Diggs, Kyle Abraham, Titus Kaphar, and Lalah Hathaway; and has been mentored by Anna Deavere Smith, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, and others. Pinderhughes is the first-ever Art for Justice + Soros Justice Fellow, a recipient of Chamber Music America’s Visionary Award, and has received awards from Creative Capital, the Kennedy Center, and Sundance. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School and is currently getting his Ph.D. at Harvard University. Pinderhughes has released the musical projects The Transformations Suite, Black Spring EP, and GRIEF. He is also the creator of The Healing Project, a massive multidisciplinary project which was recently awarded a $1 million grant from The Mellon Foundation to expand its work.

Maria Gaspar is a Chicago-born interdisciplinary artist whose practice addresses issues of spatial justice to amplify, mediate, or divert structures of power through individual and collective gestures. Gaspar is the recipient of Guggenheim Fellowship for the Creative Arts, Latinx Artist Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, Frieze Impact Prize, Art Matters Award, Imagining Justice Art Grant, Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship, Joan Mitchell Emerging Artist Grant, and Creative Capital Award. Gaspar has exhibited at venues including MoMA PS1, New York, NY; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX; and the Abroms-Engle Institute for the Visual Arts, Birmingham, AL. She is an Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, holds an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

This event is part Compositions, Gaspar’s solo exhibition on view until March, 2, 2024 at the Institute of the Arts and Sciences.

Image: Elena and Samora Pinderhughes

Free
100 Panetta Avenue
Santa Cruz, California 95060 United States
831-502-7252
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