Tiona Nekkia McClodden is a visual artist, filmmaker, and curator whose work explores elements of gender, race, historical archives, and social change, driven by an interest in, she says, "contemporary renderings of the works of underrepresented figures in Black American history." McClodden's interdisciplinary approach traverses documentary film, experimental video, sculpture, and sound installations. In 2018, she received a Center Project grant to create a new multimedia performance examining black female identity and drawing from the work of poet Langston Hughes and composer Florence B. Price. In 2017, she curated a multidisciplinary exhibition of archival materials and work by contemporary artists as part of the retrospective Julius Eastman: That Which is Fundamental, presented by Bowerbird and supported by a Center grant. McClodden is the recipient of the 2018-19 Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, a Leeway Foundation Transformation Award, and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant. Her work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; Kansai Queer Film Festival in Osaka and Kyoto, Japan; and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, among other venues. Her 2008 film black./womyn. received the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Philadelphia Qfest and has been screened at film festivals around the country.
Tiona Nekkia McClodden, a 2016 Pew Fellow, will create a multimedia performance that merges art song, exhibition, film, and sculpture to examine black female identity within the context of American society. The Triple Deities draws from the Langston Hughes poem “Song to The Dark Virgin,” which in 1941 became an art song composed by Florence B. Price—the first African American woman to have a composition performed by a major American symphony orchestra. The work will consider how African American classical musicians historically used the art song form as a critical tool, while examining present day perspectives through film material sourced from members of McClodden’s own North Philadelphia community, where she has lived and worked for a decade. The artist will collaborate with nationally presented composer and pianist Courtney Bryan, who will create and perform a score that will include Price’s original composition, as well as a range of traditional African American musical genres and styles.
Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.