Second Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant Awarded to Miatta Kawinzi

The New York–based filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist Miatta Kawinzi has been named the winner of the second Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant. Kawinzi received the honor at the IFC Center in New York’s Greenwich Village during a celebration held on Wednesday night. Administered by the nonprofit Queer|Art, the $5,000 grant will support the making of the new film installation SHE GATHER ME.

Known for creating sculptural sound and video installations on the themes of selfhood, diaspora, and belonging, Kawinzi was chosen from a pool of ninety-four applicants. Her work SHE GATHER ME, named after a line from Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, will combine analog and digital film and video, abstracted soundscapes, and sculptural elements in an installation that will explore the language of bodily gesture as an alternative form of communication. After the piece is completed by June of 2020, Kawinzi plans to document its exhibition and use the footage to create a new iteration of the work, which she will submit to film festivals.

Kawinzi’s work has been exhibited at institutions such as BRIC, A.I.R. Gallery, and Anthology Film Archives, as well as the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, New Jersey; and the FNB Joburg Art Fair, South Africa. The judges for this year’s grant were Carmel Curtis, a film digitization specialist at Indiana University’s Libraries Moving Image Archive; video artist, photographer, and writer Cecilia Dougherty; and video artist Ayanna U’Dongo. Shortlisted artists included Kim Anno, Erica Cho, Kimberlee Veneble, and collaborators Anna Burholt and Tandis Shoushtray.