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Paul Tran • Shantell Martin • Shamel Pitts

Artists respond to one year of lockdown in a collaborative performance merging poetry, visual art and dance.

Featuring

The Cave
Paul Tran

Animation
Shantell Martin

Embodiment
Shamel Pitts | Tribe

In late February and early March, 2021, three artists connected by New York’s 92nd Street Y came together to create this film. Shantell Martin, visual artist, and Shamel Pitts, 92Y Harkness Dancer in Residence, created original work in response to a poem by Paul Tran, winner of 92Y’s Discovery poetry prize.

The film was first shared on March 12, 2021, one year from the day on which the COVID-19 pandemic closed 92Y’s doors, as a tribute to the resilience and determination of our community in New York and around the world, and as a promise of better days to come.

  • Paul Tran writes:
    “The hand print is one of the earliest examples of self representation. I can hardly imagine what it was like, thousands and thousands of years ago, to seek shelter in a cave; to find others had been there; to see the animals they painted; and then to join the animals by leaving their hand print on the wall. Maybe the word for it is hope. Maybe it’s realizing I’m not alone. I’m here, still.”

  • Shantell Martin writes:
    “Everyone is working separately yet together. Although it wasn’t possible for us to collaborate in person, the project was extremely intimate. Listening to Paul Tran’s poem, I had a vision of someone being an outsider, meditating on their words in space, and being inspired by them. I wanted to convey the idea — in very simple means — of being transported from a dark place into the light, of being illuminated by this poem and these ideas.”

  • Describing his role in the project, Shamel Pitts says:
    “I wanted to explore the tension between dualities: the thread between us that was once tight or tightened, which becomes loosened and lullabied through shared loss and void, memories, nostalgia, homage, remembrance.”

About the Artists

  • Paul Tran

    Paul Tran

  • Shantell Martin

    Shantell Martin

  • Shamel Pitts

    Shamel Pitts