Press Release

Stilt Dancers, Musicians, and Ritual Processions Come Together in New Performance Piece by Artist Laura Anderson Barbata Animating the United Nations Plaza for World Ocean Day on June 8

New York, NY

Commissioned by TBA21–Academy, Spectacular New Work Explores Our Relationship with the Ocean, and the Urgent Need for Collective Transformation

Ocean Calling was created in collaboration with choreographers Chris Walker and Mei Yamanaka, the Brooklyn Jumbies, and Jarana Beat world musicians.

WHAT: In celebration of World Oceans Day and coinciding with the first-ever United Nations Ocean Conference, the U.N.’s Eastern Plaza will be animated with a dazzling, marine-centric performance work by Mexican-American artist Laura Anderson Barbata, featuring colorful costumes, stilt dancing, and world music inspired by the traditions of coastal nations including Papua New Guinea, Jamaica, West Africa, and Mexico. Charting the emotional and physical relationship to life in the ocean, the work creates a spectacular public call to action and addresses the urgent need for collective transformation. 

Commissioned by TBA21–Academy, Ocean Callingbuilds on the 2016 work by Barbata, What-Lives-Beneath, first presented during the TBA21–Academy Current Convening in Kingston, Jamaica. Ocean Callingfollows a two-day cross-disciplinary program of installations, presentations, and performances organized by TBA21–Academy at the Explorers Club. 

WHO: Ocean Callingby artist Laura Anderson Barbata (Miembro del Sistema Nacional de Creadores México)

A TBA21–Academy commission Created in collaboration with choreographer Chris Walker, The Brooklyn Jumbies, choreographer and dancer Mei Yamanaka, and Jarana Beat

WHEN: Thursday, June 8, 2017, 1 – 2 pm

ADMISSIONS: The event is open to media on assignment only.


TBA21–Academy leads artists, scientists, and thought-leaders on expeditions of collaborative discovery. Our mission is to foster a deeper understanding of our ocean through the lens of art and to engender creative solutions to its most pressing issues.  The itinerant Academy commissions interdisciplinary research that catalyzes engagement, stimulates new knowledge, and inspires artistic production. Founded in 2011, our nonprofit’s program is informed by a belief in the power of exchange between disciplines and in the ability of the arts as a vessel for communication, change, and action. TBA21–Academy’s first exhibition, Tidalectics, presenting 13 artists whose work reveal diverse perspectives on the cultural, political, and biological dimensions of the oceans, recently opened in the foundation’s headquarters in Vienna. 

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Laura Anderson Barbata. Photo by Stefan Falke.

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