The latest artistic offering at Tapp’s Arts Center is a nontraditional music festival with a renegade twist.
Band performances at S.A.F.E., which stands for Subversive Art Festival Extravaganza, will be interspersed with spoken-word poetry and discussions on social justice and the struggles of marginalized populations. Accompanying visual art will be socially conscious and politically aware.
Presented by the New Legacy Project, the youth coordinating body of the SC Progressive Network, S.A.F.E. is touted as a platform for artists to critique and voice concerns on issues of their choosing.
“We’re posing the question, how can art be a form of resistance or advocate for oppressed communities?” said Daniel Deweese, one of the festival’s organizers.
S.A.F.E will be at Tapp’s Arts Center on Saturday, Dec. 3 and feature bands, poets and visual artists. Tanisha “Queen It Shall Be” Hall and Omari Fox will be hosts for the show.
“In Columbia, there’s been an awakening of young, local artists,” Deweese said. “The young musicians, artists, poets that I’ve met in South Carolina don’t like the direction our nation and state are taking, and they’ve been expressing their feelings and sentiments through art.”
As an activist with the New Legacy Project, Deweese said he thought a festival could funnel those sentiments into a tool for mobilizing young like-minded groups. He quoted Bertolt Brecht’s famous saying, “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”
We’re here to speak out and let the world know we welcome diversity and protect diversity.
Jeremy Joseph, member of Columbia band Daddy Lion
The festival has been in the making for the better part of a year, but the election of Donald Trump has heightened concerns, he added.
Amid worries of what a Trump victory means for America are critics that say his election could be good for art.
In a recent piece for New York Magazine, Jerry Saltz wrote that “in times of artistic alienation, distress is often repaid to us in the form of great work, much of it galvanizing or clarifying or (believe it or not) empowering … They may not know it yet, but Trump’s victory is a crucible of possibility for a new generation, who will do what artists have always done in times like these: go back to work.”
The Subversive Art Festival Extravaganza seems to be a similar rallying cry for artists to come together and get to work.
“We live right now in a time of political turmoil where a lot of people feel threatened by the political changes that are happening. We’re here to not be silenced,” said Jeremy Joseph of Daddy Lion, a band performing at the festival. Joseph also helped organize the event.
“We’re here to speak out and let the world know we welcome diversity and protect diversity. We’re here to let our voices be heard,” he said.
The festival could become a yearly event, if participation at the first is good, Deweese said.
“My hope is that we are prepared to take advantage of this moment of crisis and create an authentic, united front based on shared social values. And the vehicle of that front is art.”
Tanisha “Queen It Shall Be” Hall and Omari Fox
▪ The Moon Moths
▪ Muses of Wonderland
▪ Daddy Lion
▪ Ritual Abjects
▪ Tammaka Staley
▪ Al Black
▪ Julia Dawson
▪ Tanisha Hall
▪ Dezz Archie
▪ Davelyn Hill
▪ SaBrina Jeffcoat
▪ Zarah Deweese
▪ Max Thompson
▪ Joseph Johnson
If you go
Subversive Art Festival Extravaganza
WHEN: 5-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
WHERE: Tapp’s Arts Center, 1644 Main St.
COST: Pay what you can