Program Type: 
Community Engagement
Life Outside the Womb: Politicizing Women’s Bodies

With Shailja Patel

September 07, 2012
Screening Room


Shailja Patel
Life Outside the Womb: Politicizing Women’s Bodies
Fri, Sep 7  •  7 pm  •  Screening Room
FREE with gallery admission

Across the world, every year over half a million women and girls die from pregnancy-related complications. The war on reproductive choice is a war on the world's poorest, most vulnerable populations. Award-winning activist and poet Shailja Patel, known internationally for connecting unseen dots, illuminates truths at the heart of the most urgent struggle for justice in our time — the right to life outside the womb.

“Life Outside the Womb: Politicizing Women’s Bodies” is an evening of exploration and discussion addressing major themes of globalization and colonization of nations, communities, and individual bodies. As the presidential election hits its stride, and the fight for reproductive health access broadens, Patel will charge us to examine the intersection of physical existence and political agency.

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  • Shailja Patel: Life Outside the Womb
    Sep 7, 2012 6:00pm – 8:00pm
    Screening Room
    FREE with gallery admission
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Artist Bio

CNN calls Shailja Patel “the people-centered face of globalization.” An internationally acclaimed Kenyan poet, playwright, activist, and public intellectual, her performances have received standing ovations on four continents. Trained as a political economist, accountant and yoga teacher, she uses text, voice, body, and critical thinking to delve for truth and dissect power.

Her US publishing debut, Migritude, based on her acclaimed one-woman show, went to #1 on Amazon's bestsellers in Asian Poetry, and was a Seattle Times bestseller — extremely rare for a poetry collection.

Patel has been African Guest Writer at Sweden's Nordic Africa Institute and poet-in-residence at the Tallberg Forum, Sweden’s alternative to Davos. She has appeared on the BBC World Service, NPR and Al-Jazeera. Her work has been translated into 16 languages. Honors include a Sundance Theatre Fellowship, a Creation Fund Award from the National Performance Network, the Fanny-Ann Eddy Poetry Award from IRN-Africa, the Voices of Our Nations Poetry Award, a Lambda Slam Championship, and the Outwrite Poetry Prize.

Patel is a founding member of Kenyans For Peace, Truth and Justice, a civil society coalition which works for an equitable democracy in Kenya. In 2011, the African Women's Development Fund named her one of Fifty Inspirational African Feminists for the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, Elle India Magazine selected her as one of its 25 New Guard Influencers, and Poetry Africa honored her as Letters To Dennis Poet, continuing the legacy of renowned South African anti-apartheid activist Dennis Brutus. In 2012, she was selected as Kenya's poet for Poetry Parnassus, in the London Cultural Olympiad.
She serves on the advisory networks of the pan-African social justice platform, Pambazuka, and the India Institute for Critical Action. Visit Follow @shailjapatel

Watch her 2012 performance in the TED Global Talent Search »

YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
Abundance Foundation
Koret Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Lam Research

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.

Community Engagement and Youth Education Programs are made possible in part by:
The Bernard Osher Foundation, The Sato Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Panta Rhea Foundation, The Kimball Foundation, U.S. Bank, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and Members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Special Innovation Projects in 12-13 supported, in part, by generous grants from:
Association of Performing Arts Presenters and MetLife Foundation All-In: Re-imagining Community Participation Program, and EmcArts' Innovation Lab for Museums in partnership with AAM's Center for the Future of Museums and MetLife Foundation