for Art + Innovation
Located in a historic neo-Gothic church in Uptown Charlotte, McColl Center for Art + Innovation offers more than 5,000 square feet of Gallery space. We welcome the public to explore our exhibitions and attend our various events, including open studios, community engagement initiatives, workshops and more.
I Can’t Breathe WorkshopPublic-participatory workshop and performance led by alumni artist Shaun Leonardo
McColl Center for Art + Innovation alumnus artist Shaun Leonardo’s public-participatory workshop and performance I Can’t Breathe takes the form of a self-defense class. Over the course of a half hour, participants learn a range of self-defense techniques, from purely pacifist, self-protective maneuvers—including how one may relieve the pressure of a chokehold—to more overt, defensive strategies. Participants do not learn offensive strikes or moves.
Participants are then paired off and, following cues given by Leonardo, each pair enacts the self-defense techniques just learned, alternating in the role of the aggressor. As the artist recites a script inspired by Nina Simone, each pair elects which action to take solely based on how he or she internalizes the words’ meaning. The impromptu composition of defensive actions creates a meditation on self-preservation and the continued desire/need/fight to protect and survive.
The participatory performance will be followed by a conversation between the artist and Charlotte police officer Mike Campagna.
Capacity for the workshop and performance participants is 12 people. Audience capacity is limited to 40 people. RSVP required.
I Can't Breathe was created in memory of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, Ramarley Graham, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and countless others. It is a public program of the exhibition The World is a Mirror of My Freedom.