Artist2Artist Conversations

Sonya Clark, Indira Allegra, Malcolm Peacock & Nastassja Swift

In 2021 Art Matters was proud to launch a new regranting program titled Artist2Artist, where our grant recipients — artists — act as grant-makers. How does Artist2Artist shift moments of fracture and competition, to support the care networks artists want to build? In four Zoom recordings, we get a glimpse into the relationships, process, and practice of Artist2Artist’s pilot year fellows. Playful and profound, these revelatory exchanges model how artists and culture workers empower their creative kindred. We are grateful to them for allowing us to learn from these intimate Artist2Artist conversations.

Nastassja Swift  00:12

Okay. Drumroll, please. No, I'm just kidding.

Sonya Clark  00:20

I know, I know. I'm just happy to be in this virtual space with you all again. And I don't know how we want to begin, how do you want to begin?

‍Nastassja Swift  00:31

What's a good way, something that doesn't feel so formal? Maybe we share what we had for breakfast today. Then, we can talk about our relationships with each other. I don't know. What do you guys think?

Indira Allegra  00:49

I think through performance. I was like, well, I could sound a note and then do something in response to that note, and then we could like, make a thing. 

Nastassja Swift  00:58

I like that too. 

Indira Allegra 1:01

Okay. And then I'm having… I haven’t had a chance to have a full breakfast yet because I’m having a slow morning. So I’m just having like a milk tea right now. I’ll have some toast later. Keep it light. What’s the note? [hums]

Indira Allegra 1:28

And whoever wants to pick it up.

Natassja Swift 1:31


Indira Allegra 1:33


Indira Allegra 1:42

Malcolm? Oh Malcolm, you have a hoarse voice. 

Sonya Clark  1:47

Malcolm is there in spirit.

Nastassja Swift  1:51

Describe, describe your sound and then we'll try to…

Indira Allegra ‍1:53
Yeah, describe your sound or movement.

Sonya Clark  1:59

Malcolm said, “I love these voices.”

Indira Allegra  2:02

Awesome. Sonya, do you sing?

Sonya Clark  2:07

Uh, not publicly? I will share with you, about this, that I'm married to a musician and, as small love torture, I think to him. And you know, just to tease him a little bit because he's so kind and generous. So he turns teacherly and he'll say, “oh, what you did is…” and he'll deconstruct it in this very loving way. Like I am trying to really sing off-key and be a little obnoxious and he just diffuses it every time which is so funny. Like I'm teasing him and he just lovingly says “everything is music.” You know? 

Indira Allegra  2:53 (OG— 16:12)

I love it. I love it so much. What do you have for breakfast?

Sonya Clark  3:00

What did I have for breakfast? Well, I had a late, I actually woke up very early. We don't have, I don't have curtains in the bedroom. So when the sun is up, we are up and that's the way I like to get up. So I woke up early, but then I was reading a book for a long time. And then by the time I had breakfast, I went straight from breakfast into lunch, so I had muesli with milk and then I went straight into some chicken and vegetable leftovers. A different way of thinking about brunch, just breakfast straight into lunch. And I went and watered our garden. Yeah. So that they could have breakfast!

Indira Allegra 3:40

Oh, I love that we could have breakfast.

Natassja Swift 3:43

That's right, everyone eats around here.

Nastassja Swift  3:50

Malcolm said my sound would be the high note for many. And I sing this one in the shower, but I don't know if I should sing this. Like in my mind, I'm like, ahem, but someone else could probably do it much better.

Sonya Clark 4:17

I could imagine Malcolm doing it. And that works for me.

Indira Allegra 4:22

Yeah. Thank you, Malcolm. I love it. 

Sonya Clark 4:31 

I loved it, Indira, when you when you gave us a note it felt like you know, it was deep enough to feel like a vibration that you've been through. I mean, of course all sound this vibration, but like I felt it. You know, I tried to go even deeper. Did you all hear me?

‍Indira Allegra  4:54

No, I can't hear you. Barely.

Sonya Clark  4:57

You didn't hear me. So let me see if I can. I was like: [low hum] oh, yeah, you hear that? I’m trying to do it really loud now, yeah. 

Indira Allegra  5:07

Oh, wow. That's wonderful.

‍Sonya Clark  5:09

So, like, in my belly, you know? Yeah.

‍Nastassja Swift  5:14

Yeah, that was actually, I mean, as much as it's fun to— I love food, so I love knowing what other people ate— I think the kind of connection between like what our our like, intuitive contribution would be to this little introduction, performance felt really beautiful, because like, I'm sitting here thinking while you guys are talking about performance pops up and all of our practices. I know that's not one of the questions, but like, it's already it feels like it's already in the conversation because it shows up in the way that we work. So Indira, thank you for that. Hahaha.

‍Indira Allegra  5:52

Yeah. I feel like, I feel like the larger questions which are interesting to me, and I'll talk to you or toss these out there, are: When thinking about performance, I think about the energy which you allow yourself to channel. There’s this kind of porousness my experience with a kind of person is with the narrative of a place or with the ideas or materials that you're working with the tools that you allow them to and their capabilities to enter you in some way. And so I'm curious like what types of archetypal energies do you feel like you're working with in your practice? It's become very clear to me that I mean, like art is a vehicle for so many different things, but like, what is the almost want to say? What is your higher calling that you are mobilizing your career to be in service of? And is that a kind of archetypal energy that you can be connected with? Because I think we're living through a moment where we are witness to archetypal evil. Right? Violence, which feels so much larger and is so much larger than any one individual human body. And so like what's the power source for us that we're pulling from that I think is even greater than the materials that we're working? You know?

Sonya Clark  20:45

Yeah, I so appreciate that. And your boy, did I pick the right people. 

Indira Allegra 7:37 

Get right in there.

Sonya Clark 7:40

I, I think about the responsibility to my ancestors, who I believe are with me at all times. And there's a way in which we can talk about our ancestors in this very, in this very noble way. Right, right. But I am sure given my heritage, that there are ancestors who were not noble. And, and so I think about what do you do with both good energy that is responsible for your being, and also negative energy that is responsible for your being so thinking about being in an alchemical moment, right? To take the good energy of those who formed who I am, and amplify that and recalibrate that which is bad energy, and then to also understand that, that all of it is just energy, like this idea that when I'm working with materials, I think to myself, it's all stardust. Everything. We are all stardust, it's all stardust, it's you know, and so what am I doing as stardust, with the other stardust? To amplify what I hope to amplify? Right? Yeah, yeah.

Nastassja Swift  9:18

Yeah, I think I mean, Sonya, when you said, when you first mentioned ancestors, like that, I was like, Oh, she's taking the words out of my mouth. Because there have been elderly women who've talked with me about my work. And some of the things that they've said, have either been that I'm doing Spirit work, which I think when I started making these masks, I didn't connect it in that way. Like, I feel like I understood it on a deeper level, but I don't think I was articulating it in that way. And I think she also told me that she was like, I don't know what your biological DNA is, but your spiritual DNA is West African, and, like, specific, like she was nailing it down to the region or to the tribe. And I was like, that just felt deep. But like, in thinking about this mask work that I'm doing, I definitely feel like, I'm, like, I'm following. I'm tapping into this lineage that it just feels natural to share what I'm sharing in this way. And I think because of that collaboration community becomes just like these organic components of the work, because that's what I'm speaking to and like, that's what I'm pulling from performance or ceremonies or rituals aren't done individually. And what I'm like tapping into, so like, community feels like it's a part of that vehicle just as much as like, the wool or the beads or the water, like all of these different things. I feel like I'm, I'm, I'm, yeah, I'm speaking like this language of a lineage that I haven't gotten to know. But I have gotten to know I don't know if any of that makes sense.

Sonya Clark  11:05

Actually, Nastassja, one of the things that I think about because I am, I don't want to say resist, but there are people who were real performers. And then and then in my work, what I would say is that sometimes I make the action more present. Right. But I, I humbly feel like there are true performers and then there's like me making an action present, you know, which feels a little different and, and Think about how even in a static object, it's the grieux, for the performance that made it. Like the static object, like even if one of your masks, Nastassja, is there not being performed, it is still the grieux for your hands. For whoever shared the the sheep that provided the will for you, like all of those, all of those participants and collaborators, those who you know, and those of you don't know, the very bones and blood of your ancestors who were helping you make this thing, all of that presence is in the object, regardless of whether it's actually activated in that moment of the object holds all of that energy itself. So I think that both were static objects. And when I'm activating,

Nastassja Swift  12:37

You know, it's so actually, I wish I could like play you saying that next to this like documentary that's being worked on, because I'm literally talking about the way the masks become activated on someone's shoulders. But that presence, that spiritual presence that I talked about, that mask kind of hold doesn't go away, it's just not being activated in the same way. And that's like, literally verbatim what I'm saying. It's kind of crazy to hear you say that, but yeah, when I'm looking at the masks, like just even if they're just like, kind of draped across the table not positioned for like display. But just because I sat them there, they still feel like they're holding so much power and so much energy. And like those stories aren't like turned off just because it's not being performed in, so I totally agree. Like, all of all, this is holding everything.

Sonya Clark  13:27

And I also think that objects have the power to absorb us and absorb all of those stories, right? All of them. Like, as sentient beings almost, here, I'd love to hear your response to all of this too. And I see Malcolm has been, yeah, that too. So

Indira Allegra  13:50

Hold on, let me, let me catch what Malcolm put in the chat: “I have been thinking for the last year or so that there's little separation between my performance work and my visual braiding work. I am thinking of the performance of labor as extension. Extension. I recently studied the etymology of the word tend. Tend means “to extend and to stretch,” typing out loud here, but I'm feeling and thinking through the surrendering and submission that comes with breeding one's head. Although I'm never working on a head, I feel deeply my first experiences of watching my mother tend to my family's heads.” Thank you, Malcolm.

Sonya Clark  14:43

I love etymology, Malcolm. So I really appreciate that. And I too love the idea of tend someone who and the complications of someone who tends to another so that person would be a tender. And the idea that tender also stands for money. And to think how that cycles back to African Americans being chattel slaves like this, this sort of thing of like taking care and being that that caretaking also turning into this language of currency and how we ourselves were currency. Yeah, so that that full cycle around the word tend

Indira Allegra  15:28

Malcolm says: “tend to spread. So the practice itself feels to me to be a bridge between her and I.” Yes, exactly. So thank you. Thank you both. In terms of the, so you'd asked me to, to speak on the answer to my own question for you. Um yeah, so before becoming before doing art in this way, I was a sign language interpreter. I worked as a bilingual advocate at a domestic violence shelter. I was a union organizer. And I've been a sex worker on and off for a long time. And I think in each of these ways of caring for human beings, I stand with them at a portal. It's a moment of transformation, where something in a prior life has especially in the case of working in a DVD situation, they are having to say goodbye to what was before that has passed away, it is falling away. And I'm working in the role of a guide. I'm holding their hand as they're moving into the next. It’s the same work as what the interpreter does, you know. And in the case of sign language interpretation, my body is literally the medium that holds the text that is connecting these two people together. Same thing when working with people's desire lives, and when working as a union, like an organizing steward, in their workplaces. So I feel like all of that comes into all that training comes into my practice as an artist of working at thresholds, and working at portals and thinking about thinking about the role of the psychopomp, this archetype that goes back the role of the realm of Harriet Tubman, you go back, to get folks in you guide them through, foresee darkness, whatever that darkness is, for a person, place or thing. And my allegiance is larger than I think, to a human audience alone, right? And how do you guide someone through to the next thing, and I don't have judgment about what the next thing is. But I think that I am, in my life, had been consistently present for people, places and things and moments of great transformation, which often include a loss or death have a certain kind of ego. And that really tender space of moving into another thing. So I sort of see that, regardless of what I might do in this lifetime, that that's like the big work. And that my practice as an artist can be a way of… Yeah, actualizing and inviting people into transformative adventures, you know, where it's not, we're changing all the time. You know, and it's not a, I think there's a high premium, if you will, that's paid on stability, security, that you know what's coming next. And if I know anything about my own body, at this point, I know that things are always shifting, I'm standing right now at this desk. And that requires the micro movements of so many different muscles to allow me to stand up, right. And I look like I'm still when a man, you know, even the act of standing, there's so much emotion, which is happening within the body. So I think partnering with that sense of motion, that's always happening, and always changing and providing a sense of encouragement in the face of transmutation, which involves, of course, being able to ally with many different materials and types of people and narratives in different places. A lot of tools are required. Think about all the stuff that a midwife has to know. You know. Yeah, that's, that's the big work, if that makes any sense.

Sonya Clark  20:29

I love this notion of non-fixedness, and improvisation. And I think about the resilience that happens when one is masterful around improvisation, and the requirements of resilience and improvisation. For the heritages that are evident that we all share, right? And, and I think about I think about this nation and how this nation, so much of it wouldn't exist if it weren't for the improvisations, that people of African descent have brought, you know, in every possible way, in language and food and music and dance and like everything in writing in every possible possible way, and just being right. And so, so I really, I really appreciate that, that thinking about taking people from one threshold to another, you know, there's a study that says that when you walk through a doorway, your brain sort of gets washed a little bit. Now I'm probably showing my age, I know I'm the elder in this group. So sometimes when I lose a thought, if I go back to the space that it was, it's like the Thought Bubble is just waiting, like, we got detached and that, you know, and often it's that I've gone through many portals or doorways, you know. And, and so that's an interesting thing. I wonder what that is about if it's like really primal from being birthed? Yeah, anyway,

Nastassja Swift  22:22

I wanted to, when you mentioned, like the power and resilience and improvisation. That was a conversation that I just had recently with my partner. Because I've been like, really, so I bought a house a couple of months ago, I've been learning, lots to learn, but I've recently gotten into like, wanting to learn about composting. Like my, you know, my mom and my dad, they didn't like they didn't recycle, that just wasn't something that happened in our household and in my partner's family that was big for them. So once we started sharing a space, I was learning something that he was already used to. And then now I'm getting excited about learning how to compost and, you know, we have these conversations about what's available online, who's providing this information. And, and especially in thinking about, like, he made this comment, you know, black mothers and families improvisation was out of survival. He was like, you know, your step dad's mother was soaking eggshells and water to water her plants because she couldn't afford Miracle Grow. And there are blogs, like in about it within like the work that I'm doing. Like just as artists, the way we improv and thinking about the way that we work in our spaces, whether it's a studio or wherever that may be, just the way that in like, how intuitive it is to just figure it out. And I think that's like, it feels like it's ingrained in like our DNA to like, we're going to make this work, whether it's because we have to, we need to, I have to see it done. From the compost to the work that you're doing. Like it. I feel like improvisation is just like, it's a follicle in us. 

Sonya Clark  24:13

Yes, I love that you turned it to a hair metaphor. Malcolm and I both appreciate that. Yeah, and I would say the other thing about improvisation being married to a professional improviser, you know, married to a jazz musician, is that you have to know your scales, right? I mean, you're basing their improvisation on something. Right? And so that, too, is this sort of carrying forward and sometimes realization of epigenetic knowledge, you know. So sometimes I think that I have happened upon something. And I, my ego will say, Oh, that's a great idea that I, you know, thought of came upon, and I think, or it's an emergence of something, that it was already there. The seed that is deeply, deeply rooted for some, you know, 10th, great grandmother, that has that, decided that in this moment, I'm worthy. You know, at this moment, you're ready. And this moment, you're worthy in this moment, you might do something with this, you might actually bring this forward. Right. And so sometimes I think about improvisation, being about the ability to be present to make of what is there anyway? I mean, right. Especially like the examples that you were given. I mean, I was sort of not teasing you about Miracle Gro, I believe so much in the Indigenous knowledge that get erased, right? And how, how companies will say things like, oh, that medicinal practice is superstition, until they do the research and then suddenly, then it becomes you know, then it's in your, in your prescription.

Nastassja Swift  39:29

I have a bag of eggshells just waiting to be soaked so I can water all of my plants. So it's information.

Sonya Clark  39:36

Brian's eggshells, like, you know, like so many things that are better folks know, you know?

Nastassja Swift  39:44

Yeah, Malcolm said, “In every way that improvisation in the suspension of our propensity for certainty, is really where we can find sovereignty and autonomy. I'm not having to be, I'm not having to be held against or held up to the walls of knowing.” Yeah.

Sonya Clark  40:06

Malcolm, oh my gosh, you all I can't even tell you. Can I just talk about my ego for a moment? A moment. So this is what's happening with my ego right now, I am in this space with these brilliant minds and these brilliant thinkers. And I'm thinking, “good on me!”

Nastassja Swift  40:28

Yes, great on you!

Indira Allegra  40:34

I love it. No, I wanted to come back to, you know what you were saying about that moment when things come through? And it seems like they're coming through from like a 10th generation? Before I started going through an early menopause two years ago. And in many ways, I think it's the most athletic thing I've ever done. And that there's a way in which, yeah, it it's, like conversation is an improvisational activity, right? 

Sonya Clark 27:56 

Yes, of course. Yeah. 

Indira Allegra 27:58

And so, you know, the more facility that you have with the language, then the better you can improvise. And I feel like this additional experience of menopause is like, such a beautiful training or tool that other things can begin to come through that, like, I wasn't prepared to know, beforehand. And what a loving curriculum, because how overwhelming would it be to know everything at once? You know, you don't walk into a classroom on the first day, and have the professor tell you everything that's going to happen in this semester. That would be so overwhelming for people. Yeah, so I think that there's also something in here around trusting processes. I see my whole life as being a kind of curriculum, you know that I'm enrolled in no grades. Malcolm, I see, “The methods of struggle you say are improvised in the cell. Improvised in the air, improvised from nothing. The enclosure provides a field for heroic deeds. It is the riot, like the general strike a bridge between now and the Free Territory. They dream a new set of arrangements. —Saidiya” 

Sonya Clark  42:40

I'm assuming that's Saidiya Hartman. Yes. Yeah. Because that sounds like her brilliance. Yes.

Indira Allegra  42:48

I see that there. Oh, and another quote by Arnold Kemp, This time, “what is the point of doing all this research? If you already know everything?” Thank you.

Sonya Clark  42:59

Yeah, if you already know everything that's gonna happen. What's the point? Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's an interesting thing. People always asking artists like, where did this idea come from? That I mean, it's one of my it's like, the standard question you get and one, since it's such a simple and can be a kind of delve down question. But when I approach it more generously, I think, yeah. What a deep question.

Nastassja Swift 30:15

Where an idea comes from. Yeah. When people ask me, What inspires me or what I'm inspired by? I'm like, Well, let me take you on a trip. Because it's not one thing. It feels like this journey of multiple things that are that sometimes I don't even realize are connected until I have to tell someone I'm like, Oh, I didn't realize that when I was thinking of this being a couple whenever I go. I was, you know, trying to understand this other thing, and they're connected. So it definitely feels like it's not a it's not a one stop shop, at least for me. Like the way I'm thinking or things I'm pulling from it just feels like this journey. That's like, everlasting or something.

Sonya Clark  30:52

Yeah. And yeah, everlasting. Like it's a journey that right now the way that your stardust is made up to make Nastassja. It, you know, like, you're on this journey, but like this long, long journey that started way before we can even think about and we're part of it, and then this other thing, something in that question makes, it can force us into a kind of linearity. That doesn't feel true to me personally. I feel like an idea is not also not fixed like it. It might have had several tentacles that coalesced into something, but even that single thing is branching from that, right. So it never, it always feels rhizomatic and having to try and express it, of course, I can tell a nice story. And then artists talk with some PowerPoints, I can do that. I know, you know, like a good story is a good story. But, but there's so much that's being that's not being told. Nastassja, I really appreciate what you're saying too, because sometimes, in those same artists' talks, where, you know, I have the same three images in a row, and I think I know what I'm going to say, something else emerges that I have not thought about, right? I usually associate this with either something epigenetically has emerged, or it's the presence is being with an audience that I've never been with before. And so our psychic connection, or spiritual connection means that something that I've shown has made someone else think something. And I feel that and out of my mouth comes this other connection that I hadn't thought of before. And then it doesn't feel like is this my idea? I feel this idea belongs to a whole, you know? I love this thing that you said, what a loving curriculum. I'm gonna quote you on that, what a loving curriculum life is, and to think about it that way, you know? Mm hmm. One of the things we should share with each other is how we're connected. And Indira, you know, it's for me this is very simple, because I knew Natasha and Malcolm as artists that the Virginia Commonwealth University managed not to mess up. Did Malcolm just write something? And Indira, with you, it was a different thing. Like I actually I can't remember when I first encountered your work. But, but we have the Art Institute of Chicago in common, right? Oh, do we? No?

Indira Allegra  34:09

I went to, in terms of where I went…

Sonya Clark  34:11

Yeah. Did you? Did you teach there or something? Maybe I have that wrong? No. Oh.

Indira Allegra  34:16

I've been West Coast this entire time.

‍Sonya Clark  34:19

Okay, so it's somewhere else? Yeah, I don't even have that right. So it's not an educational institution. I actually don't remember when I first encountered your work. But I remember that I kept digging, I was like, I need to know more about this artist, I need to know more about this artist, I need to know more about this artist. And we have, to my knowledge, we've never actually been in the same physical space with one another. But we've been in each other's heartspace. I see. Like, when I first encountered your work, I think I nominated you for something that you got, but I'm still not allowed to say I think it goes. And, it was such a pleasure to find your work. And so and, and find your way of thinking, so expansive and generous. And, and really, deeply resonant, you know? And so, um, thank you. You're welcome. You're welcome. And thank you and Malcolm, you have been speaking about improvisation. You've been a warrior since the moment that I met you. Malcolm? Well, I would say, in the educational setting that I mentioned before, you were, you know, Malcolm was in this position where there was support from some people and, and in Raging battles of white supremacy. And Malcolm did not shy a moment from this. And that kind of warrior spirit is something that I just thought, “this is unquenchable.” It taught me so much, you know, like this. So that coupled with a tenderness because I know Malcolm was working with issues around hair and tender and tending in his mother and familial connections. And so there was a resonance there for me because that's all territory that feels very familiar, like I was swimming in the same pool with you who I'd never had the… I never taught either of you. I mean, I was just in your, you know, we were in the same…  I remember you first had a needle, felting these small, small people and then watching them grow and grow and thinking about scale and thinking about what you wanted to bring forth. And now that performance that you've brought into it, it just feels like a beautiful blossoming. You know, just like an absolutely beautiful blossoming. So when this opportunity came to say who I would like to be associated with for this moment for this opportunity. It was hard, because there are a lot of talented people out there. But it was easy in the sense that each one of you brought something that I just feel is so unique and yet so tied together. Something is like in one sense, many of us were mining the same territory, but you all are each bringing like a singular, generous and generative vision. Right. And that, to me, is truly exciting, truly exciting. Yeah. Indira, did you know either of these two? No?

Indira Allegra  38:32

No, I've not had the privilege or the pleasure. Yeah, but if I, where are you located? Actually?

Nastassja Swift  38:40

I'm in Virginia.

Indira Allegra  38:42

In Virginia. Okay. And Malcolm also, or no?

Nastassja Swift  38:46

No, I know that the last time I saw Malcolm he was in New Orleans, but I don't know, Malcolm, are you in Baltimore? Or are you still in Louisiana?

Indira Allegra  39:00

I see Malcolm wrote earlier, “what a time, what a time”

Sonya Clark  39:04

It was. It was a time. Yeah. 

Indira Allegra  39:10

Oh, you're in the PNW. Okay. “But I'm normally in Baltimore.” Okay. That's awesome. Yeah, Sonya, thank you so much. I mean, when I work with my mentees, I've for them your talks. Not only to introduce them to your work, but to say this is a way that we can be within the art world. This is a way that we can cite our references. This is a way that we can be generous, this is a way that we can lead a ministry of love through the artist’s talk. And I'm so grateful. Because I feel like that is such a gift. And it's like, yeah, just know that it's something that I feel like has impacted. It's been this like alternative text for my abilities around like, how it can be, you know, and what can be available to you when you're open to information coming in from 10 generations. Yes, you know, and I'm so, yeah, I'm just so grateful that you exist and that it's the way in which you move. It's your methodology. The way you treat people. That is. It's not only making work, but it's healing the field that we are working in. And that's profound for me.

Sonya Clark  41:09

You're gonna make me cry, but that’s happened before and now. I'm so grateful to you for saying that. And I'm not sure if I have actually lived up to all that you've said but it's work that I hope to keep doing. And I think about I think about it, people who have become receptive recent ancestors, cultural ancestors, you know, I think about Samella Lewis, too, is often called the godmother of African American art and David Driskell who would be the godfather of African American art, who both passed away during this pandemic times. And actually, David was the first person I knew, to have… David Driskell was the first person I knew to have died from COVID. And, and their generosity of spirit. I mean, Samella put me in a book that she'd written on African American art. And I felt seen, I was like, What Samella What is happening here, you know, and it's such early work that now I'm like, nobody looked at those images, but but, but, you know, to what we can do with each other and for each other. You know, of course, I'm thinking about elders, but I'm also thinking about how students and peers and friends and fellow artists and children and people my age group and the people who seem like they're not at all connected to me in any way, we can still find a connection, how we can become mirrors for one another's growth and, and purpose. And so and so that's what I appreciate about being in the communities that I belong to, and actually sometimes being outside of communities that I don't belong to just to try and understand even more of who I am. The contour of difference, let's say, right? Thank you so much. Indira, those were very, very sweet words. 

Indira Allegra 43:34

I mean, I don't know if I'm a sweet person, but I'm honest. 

Sonya Clark 43:47

Well, well, I have to say I will take honesty over empty calories sweet. Because honesty is sustenance. That's right. Sweetness just by itself, that's candy, it might give you a high, but it doesn’t actually last. Yeah. 

Indira Allegra 44:05

Yeah, no high-fructose corn syrup here. Oh, my goodness.

Indira Allegra 44:15

Y'all, I think we're at the hour. 

Sonya Clark 44:18

Oh, yeah. I think we're at time. Let's see, did Malcolm add something else? Oh, Malcolm had lots to say. Well, someone else read that. 

Nastassja Swift 44:30

Indira, I love the way you read with space. And I, if you don't mind, 

‍Sonya Clark  44:36

Invoking Malcolm's voice? Yes.

‍Indira Allegra  44:45

Actually, how I started out was as a poet, and the poetry led me into and you know, it was in a dance program 1000 years ago. And then all of that kind of led me into this like fine art space. [Quoting Malcolm:] “I feel that Sonya has offered me a level of rigor and critique that I was unable to receive from so many in the academic space. During my junior year, we met for the first time. And I remember being so struck by how firm she was with my work, but also how deeply invested she was in my well being. One day amid all of the white supremacy that had occurred, we encountered each other in the snow on Lombardi Street. And with my head hanging low of exhaustion with everything. I was also still grieving the recent death of my father. Sonya asked me if I was okay. And I said, Yeah, and proceeded home. And then she reached out her hand and said, a lot is going on. I want to know that you’re okay? So this tendency to hold, protect is something I will never forget. I'm trying to hold and keep this level of vulnerability in my life and the work at all times. For it has deeply impacted my being and purpose.”

Sonya Clark  46:14

Malcolm, I'm so grateful for you. I'm so grateful for the work that you do. I mean, you've made some pieces that I just know James Baldwin would be proud of. Yeah, I'm just so honored that there was serendipity that brought all of you into my life in some way or another. I'm deeply grateful for that. So we are at the hour, a little bit beyond. I'm sure they have plenty of things.

Nastassja Swift  46:55

I think we gave some pretty great stuff.

Sonya Clark  46:58

If we do say so ourselves! 

Indira Allegra 47:02

Happy summer solstice to you all right, yes. Yeah, may the longest day of the year bring great light into your life.

Sonya Clark  47:14

Thank you, and likewise to you and yours.

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