This Women’s History Month, celebrate the books and author that inspired our exhibition, The Alien‐Nations and Sovereign States of Octavia E Butler. We invite visitors and community members to join us in a collective public reading of excerpts from Lilith’s Brood and Parable of the Sower.
About Our Featured Readers:
About Emily Hooper Lansana
Emily Hooper Lansana is a community builder, storyteller, arts administrator, writer and educator. Currently she serves as Senior Director of Programming and Engagement for the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago where she also teaches Storytelling in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies and at the Crown School of Social Work. She has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Black Storytellers and as President of the Chicago Association of Black Storytellers. She received her BA in Theater Studies from Yale University and an MA in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.
Her work has been featured in a variety of publications, most recently, Southern Foodways. For more than thirty years, she has performed as a storyteller, sharing her work with audiences throughout Chicago and across the country. She has been featured at the National Storytelling Festival, the National Association of Black Storytellers Festival, and at a variety of museums, colleges and performance venues. She often performs with Performance Duo: In the Spirit. She is the Artistic Director of SOL Collective: Storytelling by Women of Color. Her work seeks to center those whose stories are often marginalized, especially those of the African diaspora.
“Octavia Butler is magic and roots. She has opened my creative spirit and continues to help us manifest more artistically, emotionally and spiritually. I can’t think of another artist who has more deeply nurtured my commitment to growth and meaningful change.” — Emily Hooper Lansana
About Alexandria Eregbu
Alexandria Eregbu is a creative anthropologist. Her vibrant practice spans across art, music, forum-building in order to consider objects, stories, and experiences that dignify Black life. As the founder of FINDING IJEOMA, Alexandria uses her curatorial platform to celebrate ‘the fruitful journey’ by uplifting African diasporic values and lifestyles through DJ sets, exhibitions, and intentional gatherings. Recent curatorial projects include: AfroDisco Social Club (2024); How To Build A Queendom (2023); Envisioning Justice (2019); Marvelous Freedom/Vigilance of Desire, Revisited (2013).
Since 2012, Alexandria has studied forms of Black liberation and its origins ranging from various music genres such as jazz, blues, house, and hip-hop alongside poetry movements like that of the Chicago Surrealist Group, OBAC, and Afrosurrealist movement. Alexandria’s current interests include the use of Afrofuturistic technologies, drum patterns, and communion with the living word, in order to harmonize and call into existence love, freedom, creativity, peace, and abundance on a daily and ongoing basis.
Alexandria’s work has appeared on screen in Candyman (2021) directed by Nia DaCosta, in print, on television, and radio. Her writing has been published by the University of Chicago Press, Sixty Inches From Center, Terremoto Magazine, Candor Arts, and Green Lantern Press. She has presented work in partnership with MacArthur Foundation, Independent Curators International, the College Art Association of America, EXPO Chicago, Soho House, Stony Island Arts Bank, Southside Community Art Center, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, the University of Oregon’s Art + Design, the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, Poets House, the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, Casa Rosada in Salvador, Brazil, the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans, among others.
Alexandria is a 3Arts / Allstate Award recipient in the Teaching Artist category. She earned an MA in Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she currently teaches in the Fiber & Material Studies department.
“As a fellow Cancer, I love writers like Octavia Butler for her otherworldly universe-building and unparalleled commitment to storytelling and Black radical imagination.” – Alexandria Eregbu
Krista Franklin is a writer, performer, and visual artist, the author of Solo(s) (University of Chicago Press, 2022), Too Much Midnight (Haymarket Books, 2020), the artist book Under the Knife (Candor Arts, 2018), and the chapbook Study of Love & Black Body (Willow Books, 2012). She is a recipient of the Helen and Tim Meier Foundation for the Arts Achievement Award and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Her visual art has been exhibited at DePaul Art Museum, Poetry Foundation, Konsthall C, Rootwork Gallery, Museum of ContemporaryPhotography, Studio Museum in Harlem, Chicago Cultural Center, National Museum of MexicanArt, and the set of 20th Century Fox’s Empire. She is published in Poetry, Black Camera, The Offing, Vinyl, and a number of anthologies and artist books.
“Octavia E. Butler is important to me for several reasons. One of the reasons is she foretold in 1993 what we are experiencing right now. She was a visionary and a treasure.” — Krista Franklin