Mass incarceration of Black people is a serious problem in modern America and Kyle Abraham has found a new way to draw attention to it.
Kyle Abraham is a choreographer and the founder of the dance group Abraham.In.Motion. The latest work of the theatre company is called Untitled America.
According to Abraham, the performance is aimed to represent the heavy toll that imprisonment takes on families, especially when we speak about the mass incarceration in African-American communities. In the three pieces, the Black director tells how imprisonment becomes a part of a convict’s identity, remaining with him or her like a second skin that can’t be shed.
“I’ve had family members who’ve gone in and out of the prison system,” Abraham tells. “And I remember talking to my mother most Christmases when she had just finished speaking to one of her brothers who was incarcerated. And my experience of getting to know them after they’ve already gone through the system got me thinking about how isolated and separated people can feel from a family. I was trying to dive into how we can think about what that process is like on both sides — having a family member who’s gone through the system and someone who maybe hasn’t.”
The unique specificity of Abraham’s work is in his ability to tackle an extremely urgent issue without getting aggressive or political. His incredible sensibility towards what incarcerated people feel is a really helpful tool for encouraging a fruitful discussion about different ways to solve the problem.