Review: Brownton Abbey Talk Show

B2B Photo: Matthew Arthur Williams

Part of Horizon Showcase (link at the bottom)

Brownton Abbey is an ever evolving collective which focuses on disabled, queer people of colour and the art they create, in all of its multifaceted glory.

This talk show isn’t a conventional ‘talk show’ as such, more a film showcase featuring interviews over Zoom from the eloquent, charismatic artistic director Tarik Elmoutawakil (aka Laud Brownton) and the artists involved. All talk frankly and passionately about their work, taking up space in the arts community, and future plans. It’s insightful hearing how each artist adapted to the limitations incurred during lockdowns.

Sonny Nwachukwu‘s film ‘Re(union)’ interrogates place, ancestry and identity. It is a lyrical, haunting piece, fusing grooves with ritual and storytelling. Candles and fire surround Nwachukwu as he elegantly, slinkily dances his catharsis in white and red hues, making the internal external. “My sass breaks in my words”, he chants like a mantra, but the world is his for the taking.

Choreographer and all- round polymath Malik Nashad Sharpe explores the vagaries of self-actualisation in their piece ‘All I Ever Wanted’. It’s a paean to freedom, with exploratory mic work and gorgeous singing, and frenetic, staccato shapes resolving from tension into peace.

Space is the place for B2B. Nima Sene and Gillian Katangi’s beautiful duet, inspired by Sun Ra, is languorous and intimate, a joyful affirmation of life, “a meditation for when there is no sun”. The pair, clad in beaded head pieces from Sabrina Henry, bob and weave around their white gauze setting, and there’s a kaleidoscopic, transcendental beauty here.

Finally, the inimitable Lasana Shabazz brings their sublime riposte to racism, ‘Where Are You From?’ The camera follows Shabazz getting into make-up, dressing in feathers, and striding out ready to dance a powerful routine of flair and sass, declaring, “I am majestic- one of a kind”. This is performance art with purpose- oppositional, proud and ever alert to new possibilities.

Available online until August 29th

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