By: Nia Akilah Robinson
Great Plains Theatre Conference
Design Wing Fellow:
Erica Lauren Maholmes
Great Plains Theatre Conference offers a PlayLab space in which playwrights are paired with a Design Fellow to visually respond to the play and create imagery, installations, and experiences surrounding the play they selected.
In these Photoshop explorations I investigated themes of surveillance, racial bias, and the expectations placed on black children. Much of my imagery is informed by bell hooks concept of the 'Oppositional Gaze' paired with Georgetown Law Center's concept of 'Adultification Bias'. These are further explained in the slides below. The protagonist 'Aisha' is expected by her non-Black peers and teachers to be the representative and ambassador for Black culture, history, and the larger diaspora as a sixteen year old girl. All of this placed against a backdrop of the school to prison pipeline thirsting for her to fail and the constant onslaught of violence against Black and brown bodies saturating daily life. This first image is that visual duality of Black girlhood: the violence of growing up in America set against the elation of being young, and gifted, and Black.