IMAGE: Wangechi Mutu, Water Woman, 2017. Bronze. 36 x 65 x 70 inches. Edition 2 of 3, with 2 AP. Collection of The Contemporary Austin. Purchased with funds provided by the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation, 2017.5. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, Austin, Texas, 2017. Artwork © Wangechi Mutu. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons.

Laguna Gloria Open Late with Breaking Water: Poetry & Storytelling on Black Maternal Health

Presented by Torch Literary Arts & Black Mamas ATX

Treat yourself to a special edition of Laguna Gloria Open Late, as we examine the meaningful physical and mythical roles that water plays in the lives and histories of Black women (connected especially to the process of childbirth) through the power of spoken word.

Laguna Gloria’s mystical nighttime atmosphere is the perfect place to gather for this special evening, brought to us by Torch Literary Arts and Black Mamas ATX and inspired by Wangechi Mutu’s Water Woman, a mesmerizing cast bronze sculpture that resides on the grounds, at the edge of the Colorado River. Enjoy live performances by Austin-area poets and storytellers who will share some of their original works with us. Please stay for a light reception following the performances where you can meet the artists and share ideas with fellow participants.

Since this is a Laguna Gloria Open Late special event, guests will be treated to happy hour prices on beverages and food at the Museum’s on-site café partner, Spread & Co., and are welcome to take a self-led tour of the outdoor sculpture park guided by lighted trails (maps provided).

Enjoy happy hour food and drink specials from Spread & Co. all night long:

$1 off draft beer

$2 off wine by the glass

$2 off cheese boards, & shareables

50% off bottles of wine

Full Menu

Members receive 2 complimentary drink tickets for hot cocoa, coffee, and more, plus an additional 10% off any Shop at the Contemporary purchases!

Visitors are encouraged to pick up a map in the visitor center and go on a self-guided lantern tour of the 14-acre sculpture park. Flashlights recommended. Solar-powered flashlights are available at Shop at the Contemporary onsite, and online here.

About the Speakers:

Tova Charles is a powerhouse performing spoken word artist who has been taking the slam poetry community by storm since 2008. Born in Lafayette, Louisiana and raised in Austin, Texas, and daughter of a librarian and Zydeco percussionist, her childhood was never boring! She acquired a passion for writing from her mother and for performing from her father. In the spring of 2003, she was inducted into the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., one of the original historically Black national collegiate sororities in the U.S. An award-winning writer and dynamic performer, Tova is mother to two busy children, Harper and Harlem, serves as a primary-level literacy achievement specialist, and is the creative director, CEO, and host of Austin Poetry Slam.

Ghislaine "Qi Dada" Jean has been a creative catalyst in Austin since her arrival in December 2009. As a performing artist, she has traveled the world as half of the award-winning hip-hop duo Riders Against the Storm (RAS). She is co-founder of Divine and Conjure Enterprises, a production company focused on empowering audiences through creative programming. In 2016 she won the Austin Under 40 award for Arts, Sports, Media, and Entertainment. As a Spiritual Advisor and Conduit, Ghislaine offers classes on self-actualization (confronting inherited racial distortion, decolonizing the black female psyche, and beyond), where she guides her clients through spiritual transformation.

Jennine “DOC” Krueger is a mother, writer, artivist, public speaker, and educator in Austin, Texas. She has competed in world, national, and local slam poetry competitions. She holds four National Poetry Slam titles. Her poetry and dramatic works have been published in the Santa Fe Literary Review, and the Sierra Nevada Review (as part of the Brian Turner Literary Arts Prize), and her dramatic work has won Best Of Fest five times at Austin’s FronteraFest. She is currently an Instructor of English at Huston-Tillotson University. Jennine has a strong interest in culture and comics and has participated in the National Pop Culture Conference, Wizard World’s Comic Con, the SXSW EDU Conference and Festival, and The Cosplay Poetry Slam at SanJapan.

Black Mamas ATX’s mission is to ensure that Black women survive and thrive before, during, and after childbirth. We envision a world without maternal health disparities. Our goal is to reduce and ultimately eliminate the alarming maternal mortality and morbidity rates among Black mothers in Central Texas.

Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. TORCH has featured work by Colleen J. McElroy, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.