Name: African-American Story Telling in La Crosse, IL

Date:  1985 - 1995

Location:  North America


MediumPerformance Art

Artist: Shanta

Confronting Bodies: Community members

Date of Action: 1991

Specific Location: La Crosse, Illinois

Description of Artwork: Shanta tells traditional and original stories from African, Caribbean, and African-American cultures with songs, poetry, chants and numerous instruments of African origin. She also tells stories to adult audiences through what she describes as a spiritual process called trans-channeling. In this process, she says, she allows ancestral spirit guides to speak through her.

Description of Incident: Several parents called the schools after reading about her upcoming appearance in local papers, saying Shanta's guardian angels were actually demon spirits and said they feared she would affect their children. La Crosse school officials suggested to parents that they accompany their children to the program or withhold their children from the performance altogether. At each school's program, some parents, church members, and school officials attended, but no disturbances were reported.

Results of Incident: Shanta omitted the channeling portion of her performance, and reports were that the stories were well received.

Source: Artistic Freedom Under Attack 1992

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