Visual Art

 “If we think of interdisciplinary work as a tapestry, these are the threads I recognize: African-derived dance, music, poetry from the African-American and European tradition, photography, political theater and ritual drams. In addition Kweli makes a collective as opposed to hierarchal art; a spiritual as opposed to esoteric art; a loving as opposed to combative art; an original as opposed to imitative art.” 

         --Ann Greene, Librettist

Interdisciplinary Performance is a way to create ritual. I create ritual around social issues that celebrate life’s triumphs and mourn life’s tragedies. It is my way of Helping the community process events with a sense of spiritual dignity that gives people the healing they need in order to move forward. Interdisciplinary Performance Art is also a form of activism for social change and social justice.   My process starts with something that disturbs my sense of justice.

I research. I express my feelings/opinion through poetry or abstract collage painting. I might add movement and select appropriate music to enhance the story as performance.

Want to receive updates on my performances? Check back here periodically and email me at kwelikwelismith@aol.com to be added to my email list.

12 Bar Blues Performance (left)
by Kwelismith

"The most common form of the blues is a 12-bar pattern of chord changes. That is, a repeated twelve-bar chord progression. This is called12 Bar Blues.  I created this art piece several years ago.  The photos you see are me in my younger years.   The 12 Bar Blues collage supports a poet/theatrical performance that I created to express the ups and downs women experience in life." 

Blues Print is an interdisciplinary performance based on the Philadelphia MOVE Bombing. I was funded by the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia to produce this work in Washington, DC.

Blues Print
MOVE Epilogue

Ah  ah uhhhhhh
scales thunder roll
dirge death toll
kalimba calls
rattle snakes
junk jingles
Wail baby
ain’t no mo rhythm
spirits dance
exit to burning
yeah you lived
prophet coletrane
blowed you so
the piano laughs
blues men scrape
the piano laughs
go on now
ain’t no mo rhythm
rattles mumble
gather your dead
ring the ash
let the saxophone sun
carry you home
Osage is real
Shattered glass burned
the soft lines of home
blood heart feeling
the difference between
hot metal statistics
click and flash of
cameras forensics body bags
a c b and g d e h i j k f
steel trays
what the pathologists
had to hide or say
what is real is breath and touch
a crooked smile a sly grin
giggle a quirk in the left eye