Crossing The Line Festival 2021
October 20–November 6
FIAF’s acclaimed annual arts festival, Crossing The Line, returns for an exciting 14th edition. This year’s program spotlights Africa’s cultural renaissance, and features works created by interdisciplinary artists coming out of the continent and diaspora.
Curators Courtney Geraghty and Claude Grunitzky have brought together a lineup of compelling artists to perform at venues throughout New York City—intriguing experiences that will spark new conversations about the global Black experience.
- + Read Curators' Note
“If resilience is the ability to retain a sense of optimism about finding new solutions in the face of adversity, then this edition of Crossing The Line can be presented as an exercise in adaptability. Two years ago, we decided to shine a light on the creative expressions of Africans and Afro-descendants, because we realized that we needed to make a new statement about the scenes and practices we follow from Johannesburg and Kigali all the way to Paris and New York.
Our desire was to spotlight Africa’s cultural renaissance through the work of a few chosen artists and performers coming out of the continent and diaspora. We hope that the transcultural productions we have selected will inspire audiences and provide new perspectives on the people and movements currently shaping the future of a vibrant continent known for its contrasts. These performances testify to the strength of their creators and present a powerful model of perseverance in times of crisis.
As the world changed around us, we were forced, like everyone else, to reassess. We reduced the scope of our programming. The uncertainty around travel led us to focus on artists who are based in New York, knowing that their work resonates internationally. Our vision for the festival never changed, however, and in working to fulfill it, we found that the new iteration of our programming might actually help to spark some new dialogues around the global Black experience at a time when many American and French citizens are choosing to take a stand on racial justice.”
— Courtney Geraghty and Claude Grunitzky
- + Read about the Festival
About Crossing the Line Festival
“Adventurous programming that makes you think as much about your place in the world as about art itself.” — The New York Times
FIAF supports national and international cultural practices by welcoming and nurturing new ideas and influential perspectives from around the world. FIAF critically maintains that practice through the Crossing The Line Festival by collaborating with leading cultural institutions in New York to present trailblazing local and international artists.
Since its inauguration in 2007, Crossing The Line has cultivated an increasingly large and diverse following, and received numerous accolades in the press including from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Time Out New York, Artforum, and Frieze. Festival performances have earned Obie and Bessie awards.
& Peter Born
Before the whisper
becomes the word
October 20–November 6, 2021
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at 6pm
Artist Talk at 7pm
Working across media and disciplines, Igbo-Nigerian American artist Okwui Okpokwasili in collaboration with director Peter Born has conceived a room-sized video installation that investigates themes of remembrance, community mourning, and history.
Saturday, October 30, 2021, from 11am–4:30pm
Artist Talk at 5pm
October 20–November 6, 2021
Created during the pandemic, Nehanda is based on a legend of a spirit venerated by the Shona people, native of Zimbabwe and central Mozambique. nora chipaumire brings together instruments and musicians from around the world to evoke the story of atrocities against indigenous communities in British-occupied Southern Rhodesia.
& Peter Born
On the way, undone
Friday, October 22, 2021 at 7:30pm
Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 7:30pm
Igbo-Nigerian American artist Okwui Okpokwasili and director Peter Born have designed an in-situ work that blends genres and media. Performers manifest a polyphonic chorus wearing sculptural headdresses that recall traditional West African hairstyles, exploring a sonic entanglement that summons the past to envision the future.
Grammy-nominated singer Somi uses her songwriting to give voices to issues of social justice, transnationalism, womanhood, and global constructions of Blackness. For her debut at FIAF, she will perform some of her most iconic songs and give us a sneak preview of her upcoming album.
Fire in the Head
Saturday, October 30, 2021 at 7:30pm
A world premiere staged in Manhattan’s Chinatown, Fire in the Head salutes the tortured genius of the pathbreaking dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky, who, like many artists today, grappled with the confluence between global and personal crises.
Friday, November 5, 2021 at 7:30pm
Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 5 & 7:30pm
Kaneza Schaal exorcises the ghost of King Leopold II through a mytho-biographical performance. She addresses the residue of colonialism in our everyday lives in this showcase of her multimedia work in progress KLII.
Leadership Festival Support