Poetry Ireland have announced two new commissions with poets Nithy Kasa and Dagogo Hart, supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.
The commissions will enable Nithy, with support from the Town Hall Theatre, Galway, and Dagago to complete significant new bodies of work, with supports including access to mentors, space to write, networking opportunities, a poetry film, a presentation and promotional support, providing the poets with a substantial platform for their work.
Director of Poetry Ireland, Niamh O’Donnell, said the commissions, which will run from December 2020 to June 2021, will generate two important pieces of work from two very talented and exciting artists.
“Both artists will have time, space and vital other supports to help the completion of a significant new body of work – in Nithy’s case, this will be a debut poetry collection and for Dagogo, a multimedia poetry-film which will be centred around the migrant experience of ‘home’.
“They’ll be supported by artist mentors and a vibrant team, combining high-calibre artists of international reputation, to create work of excellence and to bring it to a broad range of audiences. Both poets intend to facilitate a coming together with other local artists as part of their commission, which is essential for engaging with and developing new audiences.
“We’re really looking forward to working with Dagogo and Nithy and we’re delighted the Arts Council’s Commissions Award allows us to move ahead with this energising project in partnership with The Town Hall Theatre, Galway.”
Poetry Ireland is also partnering with Dublin Theatre Festival on DUBH, a commission which has also received funding through the Arts Council’s Commissions Award.
Niamh O’Donnell said, “Poetry Ireland and Dublin Theatre Festival are committed to engaging communities, building networks and expanding our artists programmes in the ethos of democracy, inclusivity, diversity and solidarity. This commission is a joint initiative with a core ambition to extend our wide-ranging programme to as broad an audience as possible in an ethos and culture which values all people.”
DUBH will be led by Felicia Olusanya, who goes by the stage name Felispeaks, in collaboration with artists from music and film to create a visual poetry album inspired by conversations with people from migrant and minority backgrounds in Ireland.
With a desire to speak with a multitude of voices and across disciplines, fusing poetry, performance, music and film, Felispeaks will collaborate with music producer Fehdah, singer songwriter Tolu Makay and filmmaker Zithelo Bobby Mthombeni to conceive a live show.
As a waypoint in the journey towards producing the finished work, a sharing of material from work in progress in planned for Dublin Theatre Festival 2021. It’s anticipated that the premiere of DUBH will take place during the 2022 edition of the festival.
The commissions from Poetry Ireland and Dublin Theatre Festival have been made possible by funding from the Arts Council’s Commissions Award. The purpose of the award is to support professional artists at any stage of their career to develop their art practice. It provides artists with the time and resources to think, research, reflect and critically engage with their art.