This summer, South Bronx United teamed up with award winning artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph for the Guggenheim Museum Social Practice Initiative, a program funded by a major grant from the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation which aims to instill different art expressions within the community. Through the Social Practice Art Initiative, artists were able to interact with members of the South Bronx community and reconstruct soccer drills into meaningful choreography that were reinterpreted into one final contemporary performance.
Marc Bamuthi Joseph partnered with with South Bronx United to create Moving and Passing, a contemporary work of art that enabled Bronx youth to explore the arts through their passion for soccer. The event, which took place during the summer, was made into a two part video featuring SBU athletes and coaches and emphasized the importance of embracing cultural diversity and recognizing the social issues that immigrant communities face. Mr. Joseph and his team of choreographers met up with SBU youth athletes and their coaches to work with them through clinics that are set up to help young athletes improve their soccer skills. During these clinics, soccer drills were mixed with choreography, writing and painting. Children were able to participate in a rotational play where they would spend some time in drills with their coaches and then move on to choreographed pieces with the artists. The afternoon ended with theatrical performances featuring South African and Brazilian dancers. CultureStrike, a national arts and social justice organization, worked with students to create an art project that embodied the afternoon’s themes.
As the son of Haitian immigrants, Mr. Joseph often emphasized his theme that “moving without the ball is the immigrant story” to the Student Athletes of South Bronx United, the majority of which come from immigrant families. Students were invited to listen in on engaging conversations about global economies and the importance of soccer as a form of expression. Mr. Joseph takes from his own life experience and the role of soccer in his life to enable members of the community to bring together different elements such as sports, art, politics or immigration and merge them into one through art forms such as Moving and Passing.
As a result of his participation with South Bronx United and FC Harlem, The Guggenheim Museum will commission Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s performance, /peh-LO-tah, which is set to premiere this month at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, CA. The interaction between South Bronx community members and artists at the special clinics influenced the writing for /peh-LO-tah, the performance that combines immigration and soccer through a vibrant performance of shadows, silhouettes and moving bodies.
/peh-LO-tah is now showing at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Moving and Passing can be seen through The Guggenheim Museum’s website at https://www.guggenheim.org/video/tag/guggenheim-social-practice