Taja Lindley's creative practice is an interdisciplinary, performative, visual and immersive ritual – communing and communicating with spirit and ancestors in and beyond the stage and studio. She is motivated by a deep desire for transformation and healing – of herself, her people, and the circumstances and conditions in which we live.
When she created This Ain’t A Eulogy, she was processing Black death – the police officers responsible for the murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown were not indicted for their crimes. A seething reminder of the ubiquitous ways in which Black life is taken with impunity. Through movement, costuming and installation she began drawing parallels between discarded materials and the violent treatment of Black people in the United States. Every black plastic bag represents a Black life. So when she creates ornate environments, costumes and performances with them, it is an honoring of the dead. Informed by her burlesque performance practice, she employs beauty as reverence to transform what has been considered disposable into something sacred.
In tandem with performance she creates immersive installations for people to connect more deeply with themselves and the content of the work. A dark room illuminated by blue and purple LED lights submerged in clear containers filled with water. Altars adorned with black plastic bags, candles, candy, names of unarmed Black ancestors killed by the police, flowers and crystals. Bold statements painted in white acrylic paint on large black trash bags. Meticulously constructed drapery made from black plastic bags. Digital projections of her activating trash bag costumes with movement - much like Nick Cave’s soundsuits.
This current body of work has become “The Bag Lady Manifesta” – an interdisciplinary project featuring immersive performance, installation, film and costuming, urgently grappling with the current and historical socio-political climate that makes anti-Black policies, practices and culture possible. She is concerned with memory, ancestral healing practices, the choreography of protest, and the role of art(ist)s in creating lasting social change. Much like the genesis of this work, she continues to root her creative process in research about the Black lives we have lost - learning about their lives and the incident that took their life.