JUNE 8, 2017 by jenn

Direct Path to Detour is a new dance work by Portland-based choreographer Takahiro Yamamoto. Grounded in the idea that a sense of who we are is rooted in our embodied experiences, this dance evokes mental and physical states at the intersection of value systems, social pressures, expectations, and personal experiences of four dancers.

Yamamoto’s Direct Path to Detour collaborators – performers, musician, and dramaturge – each have an intimate relationship with bridging multiple societies by birth, residence, upbringing and/or religion. Through light, sound, and movement, Direct Path to Detour envelops the performers in a poetic, visceral experience of resistance, surrender, sincerity, and fiction.

Direct Path to Detour began as a personal exploration of the physical and emotional effects of Yamamoto’s lived experience as a queer, Japanese immigrant in the United States. Additionally, he was interested in considering what happens when various sets of cultural values come into physical contact with one another and are forced to negotiate space. Yamamoto’s artistic and creative process retraces his biographical steps in a way that allows him the time and space to unpack his own influences—aesthetically, ethically, and ideologically.


Performed by Julian Barnett, Crystal Jiko Sasaki, sidony o’neal, and Takahiro Yamamoto.
Sound composed and performed by Jesse Mejía.
Dramaturgy by Lu Yim.
Costume design by Heather Treadway.
Lighting design by Jeff Forbes.


Direct Path to Detour is supported by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program. Direct Path to Detour is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by PICA (Portland Institute of Contemporary Art) in partnership with DiverseWorks, CAC Cincinnati and NPN. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). More information at

Direct Path to Detour’s presentation at DiverseWorks is supported by the National Performance Network/Visual Arts Network Performance Residency, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. DiverseWorks Season Sponsors: The Brown Foundation, Inc., the Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, Houston Endowment, and the Wortham Foundation.


JUNE 6, 2017 by jenn

Lines Drawn explores how artists reimagine, disrupt and question received notions of borders and boundaries. By addressing issues of immigration, nationalism, equity, and human rights through their work, the artists encourage us to contemplate the many barriers in our own lives as social constructions of power.

Set within the current context of national and global environmental, political and social crises, Lines Drawn also offers a forum to consider how the complexities and controversies of our time can be addressed through art. The project includes an exhibition of prints, zines, video, and installation work; zine and poster making workshops; and live performances, readings and public conversations.

Participating artists include Jorge Galván Flores & John Pluecker, Mariam Ghani, Margaret Griffith, Khaled JarrarJustseeds, Pedro LaschPhillip Pyle II, and Henry G. Sanchez, and workshops, performances and public programs by Keelin Burrows and Travis Smith (in collaboration with the Printing Museum), Carrie Schneider (in collaboration with Arts Take Action Houston), Sara Uribe (in collaboration with Failure to Identify), Zine Fest Houston, and the Houston Cinema Arts Festival. The exhibition also includes a curated Zine Library with selections of activist zines from across North America.

Lines Drawn is organized by Xandra Eden, Executive Director & Chief Curator, DiverseWorks.


MAY 1, 2017 by jenn


Performance, drawing, and writing are each about mark making. The bodily gesture in a performance carries with it a historical trace and movement knowledge, the linear gestures of drawing leave physical marks on a surface, and writing can be thought of as a form of drawing with language. into the midst of things brings together three artists—Regina Agu, ruby onyinyechi amanze, and Wura-Natasha Ogunji—who are truly invested in mark making in all of its forms to offer complex counterpoints to dominant cultural and historical narratives. The exhibition title refers to in media res, a literary term that describes a narrative that begins somewhere in the middle of the action.


Regina Agu’s work is interdisciplinary in nature and ranges from delicate drawings and subtle color photographs to room-size installations and texts. Her recent series of drawings uses an essay by poet Akilah Oliver, the visible unseen, as a conceptual framework. Agu’s photographic and sculptural work explores economic shifts in the urban environment as they shape the public discourse around framing African American and Black communities. The images that repeat in the work are reflections of architectural interventions in the natural landscape, construction drop cloths, and remnants of the built environment, all of which allude to issues of displacement and loss. Agu lives and works in Houston and was raised in transit throughout Africa and Europe. Her work has been included in exhibitions, public readings, and performances nationally, including recent presentations at The Drawing Center, New York, the American University Museum Katzen Arts Center in DC, Art League Houston, Project Row Houses, and The Station Museum. She is a 2016-2017 Open Sessions participant at The Drawing Center, a partner at Alabama Song, a collaboratively-run artist’s space in Houston, and a co-founder of the independent small press, paratext.

ruby onyinyechi amanze’s current body of work is focused on a large-scale series of drawings that emphasize a non-linear narrative in which various hybrid human-animal creatures reside in a constructed reality that is delicately crafted on paper. Her work attempts to physically materialize her own personal experiences of displacement through imaginative worlds of celestial and underwater environments. Drawing from her background in textiles and printmaking, amanze’s drawings reflect a fragmented and layered material sensibility that is highly intuitive in its process. amanze was born in Nigeria in 1982, and raised in the United Kingdom and the United States. She received her BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in New York, Johannesburg, Miami, Paris, London, and Lagos. She is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the Queens Museum.

Wura-Natasha Ogunji’s artistic practice straddles the visual and performative realms. The overall concepts in her work stretch between drawing and performance in order to explore relationships between mark making and movement. For the past several years, Ogunji has been creating multidisciplinary performance works concerning women occupying public space in Lagos, Nigeria through ordinary and epic actions. The exhibition will include videos of these performative gestures. Ogunji has performed at the Gordon Institute of Performing and Creative Arts, Cape Town; Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos; the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis; and the Menil Collection, Houston. Ogunji is a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow (2012) and has received grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Idea Fund. Currently she lives between Austin, Texas and Lagos, Nigeria.


MARCH 23, 2017 by jenn

With a global art market valued at $63.8 billion and artists receiving the lowest amount of their earned income from the market…it’s time to reinvent the art auction!

House of Wahala–meaning trouble in Nigerian pidgin–flips the script. Artist Wura-Natasha Ogunji steps in as auctioneer and audio guru Emeka Ogboh provides the evening’s soundtrack. All works come from the primary market–that is directly from artists–to you. Featuring work from over twenty-five international and Texas-based artists, House of Wahala infuses the art auction with the perfect amount of spectacle, humor, and political debate. The art auction is finally fun again!

Participating artists include Rabéa Ballin, Gabrielle Civil, Annette Lawrence, Rahima Gambo, Regina Agu, Adee Roberson, and ruby onyinyechi amanze, among others. Opening bids on many works begin at $100. Participating artworks/artists are subject to change. More information at


Thursday, April 27, 6 – 8 PM, Free (no tickets required)

Friday, April 28, Doors at 7 PM, Auction begins promptly at 8 pm
Free, but seating is limited and tickets are required.


Wura-Natasha Ogunji is a visual and performance artist based in Austin, Texas and Lagos, Nigeria. Her works include drawings, videos, and public performances. Her most recent creative investigations focus on the presence of women in public space in Lagos, Nigeria.

Her commissioned performance, An ancestor takes a photograph, which recasts the traditional Egungun masquerade with women, is featured in the exhibition DISGUISE: Masks and Global African Art (Seattle Art Museum; Fowler; Brooklyn Art Museum). Ogunji has performed at the Gordon Institute of Performing and Creative Arts, Cape Town; Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos; the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis; and the Menil Collection, Houston. Ogunji is a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow (2012) and has received grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Idea Fund. She holds a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from San Jose State University.


Emeka Ogboh is a sound artist whose work contemplates broad notions of listening and hearing. Ogboh’s work focuses on uses of sound in understanding and describing cities and their histories. He has performed his live soundscapes and created sound installations across the globe in cities such as Lagos, Addis Ababa and Dakar and has exhibited at such places as the 2015 Venice Biennale; Menil Collection, Houston; MASS MoCA; and Museum of Contemporary Arts Kiasma, Helsinki.


House of Wahala is presented in partnership with Women & Their Work and Fusebox (Austin).

House of Wahala is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Women & Their Work, DiverseWorks and NPN. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency).For more information:

House of Wahala’s presentation at DiverseWorks is supported in part by an award from Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, and foundations, corporations, and individuals throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Additional support is provided by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.

DiverseWorks Season Sponsors: The Brown Foundation, Inc., The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, The Houston Endowment, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Wortham Foundation



FEBRUARY 9, 2017 by jenn


Listen Around Your Way is a collaborative sound performance that will use the architecture of the MATCH building as a site and stage for a series of solo and collective sounds.  Performers will be stationed in multiple locations around the outdoor breezeway that connects the north and south wings of the building, with some of them traveling along a looped pathway marked by brightly colored tape. The performers will play and sing in overlapping segments, thus creating different combinations of sound that can be heard from various points in time and space around the breezeway.

Performers: Andrew Durham, Megan Easely, Sandy Ewen, Kathy Fay, Danny Kamins, Austin Lewellen, Kate Ann Nichols, Rebecca Novak, Gee Okonkwo, Emmy Tisdel, Hayden Wright

Listen Around Your Way is presented in conjunction with the DiverseWorks exhibition, Kate Gilmore & Heather Rowe: Only in Your Way, on view in the gallery through March 18, 2017.


Born in Toronto, Canada, Sandy Ewen received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. Since then she has resided in Houston where she is an artist, musician, and architect. Ewen has released several albums, including a duo with guitarist Tom Carter, a trio with bassist Damon Smith & drummer Weasel Walter, and a rock album with Austin’s Weird Weeds. Ewen’s visual work is closely tied to her work in sound; she uses both mediums to explore texture, composition, and materials.

Rebecca Novak works within the practices of visual art, performance, writing, and improvised music. She received a Masters degree in music from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and later studied visual art, social practice, and dance in Houston. Recent projects include PerFormative Poesis: A Timed Play in Three Acts (DiverseWorks, 2015), Other Ends Pine, a collaborative text and performance with the Hygge Writers Group (Alabama Song, 2014), and Radio DWOW, a simultaneously transmitted and received radio-based performance and text (DiverseWorks, 2014). As an improviser, Novak uses a variety of instruments including cornet, Autoharp, glass vases, radio, and piano.  She performs as part of the group Garden medium with Sandy Ewen and Carol Sandin Cooley, and in a duo with electronic and cassette tape musician Steve Jansen.