Genma Speaks

Entrepreneur/ Writer/ Radio-Host

Friday, October 14, 2011

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Neil Leonard, and Emily Haper Beard on Living Your Best Life Radio Show

Living Your Best Life Radio Show with Genma Holmes celebrates Artober Nashville with the Frist Center. Tune in as we continue to shine the spotlight on art, culture, community and the Frist Center’s leadership that "inspire people through art to look at their world in new ways."

On Saturday, October 15, 2011 we will be joined by world renown artist, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, one of the most significant artists to emerge from the Cuban post-revolutionary era, and her husband, Neil Leonard, an internationally recognized composer. The powerful artistic team and founders of G.A.S.P Gallery of Boston will share about their week-long residency at Vanderbilt which has included dual exhibits of Campos-Pons work at the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, panel discussions, receptions, and a family collaborate intimate performance art piece. The individual lectures by the artistic duo and residency are sponsored by the Vanderbilt University Department of Art, Center for Latin American Studies, Department of History of Art, Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery, Program in African American and Diaspora Studies, Atlantic World Seminar, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy, Neil Leonard, and the College of Arts and Science.

We will also hear from the Frist Center’s go too, hands on, out and about, Community Relations Manager, Emily Harper Beard. Emily will share how she and the Frist Center’s Education outreach team, Shaun Giles and Rosemary Swain Brunton, take the vision and mission of the Frist Center beyond its Broadway address to classrooms, non-profits, groups and organizations, and to various events throughout the Middle Tennessee region.

Living Your Best Life Radio Show can be heard on 880 AM in the Nashville-Middle Tennessee area and on Ustream.TV worldwide from 10am-12pm CST.

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons

Born in 1959, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons was raised in the Cuban province of Matanzas. Campos-Pons was educated in Cuba at the National School of Art (1976-1979) and Instituto Superior de Arte (1980-1985). She graduated from Massachusetts College of Art in 1988 and now lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with her husband, Neil Leonard and their son.

Campos-Pons creates photographs, video, and multimedia installations that tell the story of the survival of African cultures by evoking rites, myths, and narratives that have evolved through generations. Her work symbolically follows the history of the slave trade from her family’s origin in Nigeria to Cuba, where they worked in the sugar industry, to present-day Boston, where Campos-Pons now works and teaches.

Her works have been exhibited in the United States, Canada, Japan, Norway, France, Italy, and Cuba. She was represented in the Johannesburg Biennial and has had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Campos-Pons’ powerful attachment to her cultural African heritage is one that she has never experienced directly but its presence in the rites and myths of her childhood make her a Cuban transplanted in the United States, an exile twice over.

Most recently, the Guangzhou Triennial in China hosted her work. A 20-year retrospective of Campos-Pons’ work, Everything is Separated by Water: María Magdalena Campos-Pons, opened in Indianapolis in 2006 and traveled to the Bass Museum in Miami.

During her life, she has received many awards and recognitions like the "Mention of Honor", in 1986 in the XVIIIème Festival International de la Peinture, Château Musée, Cagnes Sur Mer, Francia. In 1990 Painting Fellowship, The Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta, Canada, in 1992 Foreign Visiting Artist Grant, Media Arts, Canada Council, Canada, in 1994 Bunting Fellowship. Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, Radcliffe Research and Study Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A and in 1995 Art Reach 95 Award, National Congress of Art & Design, Salt Lake City, Utah, EE.UU.

While in Nashville, the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recognized Campos-Pons for her contributions to international cultural with an award for "Outstanding Hispanic Professional Achievement Award in Art" at its 7th Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration and Awards Ceremony held on Thursday, October 13, 2011.

For more info on her dual exhibits at the Frist Center and Vanderbilt go here. A list of exhibitions can be found here.

Neil Leonard

Leonard is one of the most inventive and adventuresome artist in new music today. Leonard's work has ranged from traditional jazz performance, solo concerts for saxophone and electronics, collaborations with top Cuban musicians, works for orchestra as well as sound and music for dance, theater, performance and installation.

Leonard's collaborative work with visual artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons was featured by the 49th Venice Biennial, Museum of Modern Art (NYC), purchased by the National Gallery of Canada and presented by the U.S. State Department at Dakar Biennial. Leonard composed the music for Relatives, by Tony Oursler and Constance DeJong that was featured by the Whitney Biennial and the ICA (Boston).

His ensemble and collective projects featured Marshall Allen, Bruce Barth, Don Byron, Uri Caine, Kenwood Dennard, Robin Eubanks, Frank Lacy, Oriente Lopez, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Badal Roy, Jamaaladeen Tacuma. Leonard’s "Dreaming of an Island", (for orchestra, electronics and live-video) was premiered by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Leonard's composition Totems was premiered at Carnegie Hall by Byron and Caine. Leonard's "Echoes and Footsteps" was featured by the Tel Aviv Biennial for New Music, Issue Project Room (NYC) and the Auditorium di Roma. To learn more about the composer click here and here.

Emily Harper Beard

Emily Harper Beard, formerly Communications Coordinator at the Frist Center, recently moved into the Community Relations Manager position where she works with a variety of community groups and audiences to help promote the Frist Center’s mission. Prior to working at the Frist Center, she received her B.A. in graphic design from Middle Tennessee State University and worked at Animax Design—a puppet shop in Nashville which creates characters for live shows, film, and television. She continues to be an active artist in and supporter of Nashville’s growing arts scene.

To learn more about community partners, educational programs, and affinity days at the Frist Center click here and here.

Photos: Neil Leonard,Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Susan Edwards, and Katie Delmez;Joesph Mella and Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons; and Emily Harper Beard courtesy of Genma Holmes

CD cover, art, and photo of Campos-Pons and Leonard courtesy of Campos-Pons and Leonard

Article written by: Chuck Beard
Chuck Beard is an active volunteer in the Nashville community. He works tirelessly to bring attention to those in need by bringing the music and art community together to raise funds and awareness to causes near and dear to his heart.

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