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Presented By: University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA)

Ayana Evans, Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series: Persona as Social Justice

Webinar / Virtual Event

Facebook page.

Ayana Evans will talk about her trajectory of her work, including her new work of performance art for video "You Better Be Good to Me” (with performances by students from SMTD, the UM Cheer Team, and Detroit artists, and costumes by Dressing Up and Down students). "You Better Be Good to Me” will premiere as part of the program.

Ayana Evans is a NYC based performance artist who grew up on the south side of Chicago. The sensibilities of both locations heavily influence her work with the body, race relations, and gender bias.  Roberta Fallon, co-founder of Artblog, describes Ms. Evans as, “one part Wonder Woman, one part agent provocateur.” And writer Seph Rodney of Hyperallergic and the New York Times wrote: “I have seen [this] artist actually stop traffic on the Bowery in downtown Manhattan in 2016, where, in a floor-length lace gown, a dollar-store tiara and full makeup, she placed a chair in the street to do chair dips.”

Evans began her career as a painter earning her MFA from Tyler School of Art at Temple University and her BA in Visual Arts from Brown University. During the summer of 2016 Evans completed her installment of the residency, "Back in Five Minutes" at El Museo Del Barrio in NYC. The next year she completed a endurance-based 10-hour, citywide performance and 100-person performative dinner party at the Barnes Foundation in 2017 for "A Person of the Crowd,” a major performance art survey featuring artists such as, Marina Abramovic, Tania Bruguera, and William Pope L. in Philadelphia, PA. Her international work includes participation in: FIAP performance festival in Martinique, The Pineapple Show at Tiwani Contemporary in London, and Ghana's Chale Wote festival, which drew 30,000 people. Evans has received numerous fellowships and awards including: Studio Immersion Fellowship Program at EFA’s Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop (2018); Artists Alliance Inc (2018); Franklin Furnace Fund for performance art (2017-2018); New York Foundation of the Arts Fellow for Interdisciplinary Arts (2018); and an artist in resident for Art on the Vine at Martha's Vineyard (2019). In addition to her numerous guerilla street performances, Evans has performed at the Queens Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum, Newark Museum, and the Bronx Museum. During 2018 and 2019 Evans had three solo exhibitions with Medium Tings Gallery (Brooklyn), Cuchifritos Gallery (NYC) and the EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop with New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) at Governors Island, NY. She has been featured in The New York Times, Bomb Magazine, ArtNet, The Cut, Hyperallergic, and CNN. Evans is currently an adjunct professor at Brown University.

During the Fall 2020 semester, Evans created a new work of performance art for video as part of the Stamps School’s Witt Visiting Artist program. A video of the performance "You Better Be Good to Me,” will premiere as part of the program.

Notice of uncensored content: In accordance with the University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guidelines on “Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression,” the Penny Stamps Speaker Series does not censor our speakers or their content. The content provided is intended for adult audiences and does not reflect the views of the University of Michigan or Detroit Public Television.


Supported by the U-M Arts Initiative. This talk is part of the 2021 U-M Reverend Martin Luther King Junior Symposium. The Penny Stamps 2020-2021 Distinguished Speaker Series is brought to you with the support of our streaming partners, Detroit Public Television and PBS Books.
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