We had the good fortune of connecting with paris cyan cian and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi paris cyan, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
I am constantly talking about process and change. Always on my heart are the words of Black feminist writer Octavia E. Butler, “All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change.” Her stories and vision of change, of positive obsession, and daily living guide me in my everyday dreams and practices. These words hold me in my truths to evolve and be in transformation with my body, community, and environment. I am reminded of the cyclical impact and necessary adaptation required to trust in unknowns and continue in this life.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Since 2020 everything has been at a halt, reset, restructuring what is a priority and what is my truth in this living/ artistic sharing/process. Drawing, daydreaming, movement, praying, sleeping, visiting the bayou continue to offer me new language and possibilities, however, I am becoming more interested in the intersections of varying modes of expression to communicate this art of living. Movement, film, poetry, architecture, drawing, astrology/cosmology, sounds, nature etc. are generative forms and pathways for me to explore and be HERE, to explore. I am inspired by the unknowns and limitlessness of them all. I am also stunned, idle, uncertain at the same time about the pathway and my choices. The in between, this liminal space, propels me into directions that are guided by spirit, and trust. I’m cool with not knowing, and that keeps me going forward.

Currently, my heartstrings are connected to the elevation and curation of #MYBODYPOETRYIS, creating a celebratory healing incubator, a playground for communion and gathering in our wellness. Once a month in New Orleans, LA at Grow Dat Youth Farm, I curate varying embodied healing sessions and opportunities for community relationships with local businesses to connect and play. We dance, shake, sing, and affirm our complexities alongside the trees, birds, and bayou! It brings me joy to facilitate space for folks to explore their play, their BODYPOETRY and liberation in nature; to find new ways of safety, care, and practice in our new world. From this process, I am being reminded to trust, and lean into community for collective restoration, care, and joy. We need and are worthy of this practice, no matter where we are in the world.

In addition to BODYPOETRY, I am currently revising a 5 year project, modjeskamodjeskamodjeska, a multisite multidisciplinary performance ritual honoring the cosmology of black girls, New Orleans, and oysters, sharing stories of memory, spirituality, and ecological devotion/restoration. This project is about our collective and individual honoring of ancestry, calling attention to the vulnerability of the land/bodies that is New Orleans and our coastlines. Stay tuned!

If I could offer something to those reading this I’d say: keep living. focus less on the linearity of it all, journey with the unknowns; be in communion; talk to your neighbors; drink water; eat your favorite snacks; take a break; sleep, and sleep again; dream; pray, in whatever ways you define this; embrace your contradictions, this is what makes you human.

…keep dancing, singing, humming, singing, and writing the poem of this living!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh! We’re going to the river, the bayou, and the lake. Having a seafood boil near the water, crawfish, shrimp, potatoes, corn – the whole spread. Maybe somewhere in there we sneak in a poboy, but definitely getting beignets. I mean honestly, the whole trip would be a challenge of, how much can we eat, and how much outside time can we soak up! Lastly, it would be really important to find a late night groove somewhere, whether that’s at Ascendance (a party that honors spirituality, astrology – it’s a late night communion!) or some pop up curated by the amazing artists in NOLA.

We eatin’ and dancin’ in the streets somewhere – that’s’ the point. That’s the trip!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mama, my grandmothers, my siblings; “my people”, my ancestors who have helped me/we/us all arrive here.

My community of homegirls, brothas, mentors and in between; Blair Ebony Smith, Kelli Scates, Christine Wyatt, Jeremy Guyton, Jeffery Bullock, Syrettah Chantel, Chanice Holmes, Abeo Tibbs, SOLHOT, Common Healing, Dancing Grounds…and all the mothers, aunties, cousins, lands who have raised me.

To the Black Feminist aunties who have and continue to foreground the work…Toni Morrison, June Jordan, Alice Turiyasangitanada Coltrane, bell hooks, Octavia E. Butler, Ntozake Shange, Katherine Dunham, and Harriet Tubman.

the list and the honor goes on and on, forever and ever.

Website: pariscw.com

Instagram: @pariscyancian

Image Credits
BODYPOETRY, Fernando Lopez
modjeskamodjeskamodjeska/theShore:in/SIGHT: Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee

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