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A Conversation with Taja Lindley (2017)

A Conversation with Taja Lindley (2017) HIDVL
In this conversation with Marlène Ramírez-Cancio (Hemi's Associate Director of Arts & Media), Taja Lindley discusses her journey from a childhood in a predominantly white area of Georgia, to her activist work in racial and reproductive justice in New York City, to her deep dive into performance and her current "hustle" of purpose-driven, passion-filled artistic and healing practices. Along the way, she details the creation and multiple manifestations of her Bag Lady character—from street performance, to the stage, to film (watch from 44:22–01:02:23 in this interview)—as well as her views about the role of artists in shifting culture to create the world we want to live in. Through her undergraduate studies, Lindley engaged in Black feminist thought and reproductive justice work while also being a part of a step team. Following her work in activism and nonprofits, she entered the performance art world through her residency at Body Ecology, exploring the non-verbal knowledge located within the human body. Since then, Lindley has expressed her art through various media: hip-hop performances, work as a doula, art merchandising, storytelling, burlesque, and so on. Drawing from Erykah Badu's "Bag Lady', Lindley's The Bag Lady Manifesta is an interdisciplinary project that grapples with the current and historical socio-political climate that makes anti-Black policies, practices, and culture possible.


"An 80s baby born in New York and raised in the South, Taja Lindley currently lives in Tennessee working as the Founder of Colored Girls Hustle®️ - a shelter and sanctuary for her self-expression, a sacred portal and platform for her creative projects and collaborations. Lindley is a spirit-led interdisciplinary generative artist creating dynamic and iterative works designed to transform audiences and to shift narratives, culture and consciousness. She is inspired by the healing arts and metaphysical sciences which support her healing journey and inform the rituals of conceiving, developing and presenting her artwork. ​She is most known for her performances, installations, and podcasting addressing state sanctioned violence, reproductive freedom, economic sovereignty, bodily autonomy and our relationship with the past. Her work is often immersive, participatory, socially engaged, political and autobiographical. Her mediums (to date) include film, memory, sound, dance/movement, text, personal archives, storytelling, and discarded materials.

She received her B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she designed her own major, concentrating in public policy and knowledge production with a focus on health and women of color. Her 2017 residency at Dixon Place Theater culminated in the world premiere of her one-woman show ""The Bag Lady Manifesta"" in September 2017 and it has been presented at museums, theaters, and universities nationwide. In addition to being an artist, Lindley has been actively engaged in social movements as an artist, consultant, and facilitator. For almost two decades she has worked with non-profits, community based organizations, research institutes and government on policies and programming that impact women and girls, communities of color, low/no/fixed-income families, queer people, youth, and immigrants."


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Additional Info

  • TItle: A Conversation with Taja Lindley
  • Date: April 11, 2017
  • Location: (Hemi Office) New York, New York
  • Interviewee: Taja Lindley
  • Interviewer: Marlène Ramírez-Cancio
  • Duration: 1:13:10
  • Language: English