Balti Gurls to headline upcoming events

The Balti Gurls collective will be the spring 2018 artists–in-residence for the visual communication design major at Stevenson University from Feb. 20 through Feb.23.

(Poster photography shot by Katelyn Brown)

The Balti Gurls, or “BG,” are self-described as a queer women of color artist collective, according to member and award-winning DJ Jessica Hyman.

According to a 2016 article in the Baltimore Sun, the “BG” acronym “stands for ‘black’ and ‘brown’ women, including trans women of color, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and other races and cultures.”

Other members who will be in attendance are Suldano Abdiruhman, artist and designer; Khadija Nia Adell, multimedia artist, art administrator, and curator; N’Deye Diakhate, multimedia artist and designer; Stephanie Wallace, multidisciplinary artist; and Jenné Afiya, writer and multimedia artist.

This is the first event in which a university has hosted the Balti Gurls, and they are excited to share their creative knowledge and experience with Stevenson, according to Hyman.

Chris Metzger, assistant professor of art and visual communication design, has organized the artist–in-residence program for this semester. According to Metzger, the Balti Gurls’ visit is important because their message aligns with Stevenson’s current need for a more diverse, inclusive, and dynamic campus. Their experiences will help other students who are looking to learn more about the arts and culture of Baltimore.

There will be a total of four events throughout the week that the Balti Gurls will be in residence. A panel discussion will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 20 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the School of Design Soundstage (SD 101), following a reception for the Balti Gurls at 5:30 p.m. in that space. The topic of discussion will be “A Look: Black Woman, Social Media, and the Reshaping of Black Aesthetics.” According to Hyman, this discussion will be moderated by Bilphena Yahwon, a local art curator, and the event will be open to the public. The art and visual communication design department encourage all to attend and engage in discussion.

The Balti Gurls represent queer women of color including black, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, and more. (Photo by Reginald Thomas II, courtesy of Chris Metzger)

The Balti Gurls will lead two class discussions as well. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, Diakhate, Nia Adell, Wallace, Afiya, and Hyman will be curating  a discussion in VCD Senior Capstone with Metzger and Inna Alesina, assistant professor of visual communication design. On Thursday, Feb. 22, Afiya and Hyman will be joining art and visual communication design Professor Lori Rubeling’s Aesthetics class at 11 a.m.

On Friday, Feb. 23, the Balti Gurls will host an open mic event at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, where poet Sadiyah Bashir will recite some of her work. The open mic event will offer an opportunity for students to share their words with others. Anyone interested in poetry or literature are encouraged to attend.

For those looking to learn more about the Balti Gurls, their Instagram page is a good place to start. Additionally, each member’s social media is full of content that includes more information about each artist’s work.

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