The Bag Lady Manifesta


In a world that treats Black life as if it’s disposable, The Bag Lady is an urgent reckoning and revelation. She is the accumulation of discarded lives and abandoned histories reeking havoc on the amnesia, the forgetting, the erasure and the silencing. Remembering is the responsibility of the living. Are you doing your work? Because an unacknowledged history produces ghosts.


Performed by Taja Lindley and directed by Tanisha Christie, The Bag Lady Manifesta features an immersive installation of memory followed by a participatory performance ritual where audiences are invited to (re)consider what to let go of, and what to remember – individually and collectively. Through dynamic movement, burlesque, text, soundscapes, ritual and projection Lindley adorns and activates her Black, queer, female body with trash bags to traverse the dumping grounds and shadow side(s) of herself, the audience and the United States.


This work is inspired by previous iterations of Lindley’s Bag Lady work, including This Ain’t A Eulogy: A Ritual for Re-Membering, and was presented as the culmination of Lindley’s residency at Dixon Place.

Performance (80 minutes) + Talkback (30 minutes)

The Bag Lady Manifesta is an immersive, participatory experience filled with striking visuals and dynamic movement. Audiences are invited to (re)consider what to let go of, and what to remember. The Bag Lady is a living Sankofa, of movement, theater, and ritual – with the intention to build a collective memory and to create a just future for all. A 30 minute facilitated talkback including Q&A, further discussion of the work, and collective actions to take home to creating lasting social change. 

Film Screening + Community Conversation (60 minutes)

This Ain’t A Eulogy, the film, draws parallels between discarded materials and the violent treatment of Black people in the United States. In this post-Ferguson moment, Lindley is imagining how we can recycle the energy of protest, rage, and grief into creating a world where, indeed, Black Lives Matter. Engage audiences post film screening in conversation with Lindley documenting her creative process, the work’s urgency and questions from the audience. 


Performance Workshop (90 minutes)

This workshop is an immersion in Lindley’s devising and rehearsal practices. It includes a full body warm-up, excerpts of The Bag Lady Manifesta repertoire, prop work, movement, text based prompts, and creating short micro-performances. No prior performance or dance experience to attend. All bodies welcome. 

Guest Speaker/Lecture (60 minutes)

This dynamic participatory presentation documents Lindley’s journey as an artist activist, the content of her artwork, and the healing and transformative power of artmaking for artists and audiences alike. Relevant to people who are interested in performance arts and artists, socially engaged artmaking, modern day Black artists and arts movement, and the intersection of art and social change. 


Photograph by Kali-Ma Nazarene, 2017

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(c) Taja Lindley 2017