Javana Mundy is a multidisciplinary artist, specializing in theater, movement, writing, and installation art. She studied Theater at The Actors Studio at Pace University in New York, New York. Javana is passionate about empowering black and brown youth of all ages in underserved communities to develop their voice to help create positive change in their own lives through arts exposure and creative experiences.
Before becoming a TAP trainee, she worked with foster care youth between the ages of 14- 26 at the agency MercyFirst. That experience informed her educational and artistic work moving forward. Javana is now working with the S.O.U.L Sisters Leadership Collective, whose mission is to mobilize systems-involved girls and femmes of color – black, brown, and indigenous – to interrupt cycles of state violence, poverty, and oppression. The work is fluid and intersects in her personal artistic practice. She is set to debut her solo show Mama’s 19 which dissects the relationships between America’s history between the black woman and black mother and how that affects the overall development and progression of the black community in the twenty-first century.
“As a part of TAP 2019, I joined a Community-Word Project residency at P.S. 316 in Brooklyn with Teaching Artists, Shawn Ferrerya and Jane Elias. Shawn incorporated drawing and illustration and Jane brought her creative writing and theatrical practice into the classroom. Together with our class of 1st graders, we crafted a group anthology inspired by their personal poems and illustrations about who they are and their lives. Focusing on personal experiences and discussions around identifying what a narrative is and how to write it through specific activity prompts over the course of a few months the students were able to creatively construct their personal narrative through these lessons while allowing youth the freedom to choose what they would like the world to know about them. At the culminating performance, students were able to interact and see all of their personal work on display through an identifying game and through their shared anthology. Shawn and Jane had been with the class for a few months and I was able to really see how to build relationships and learn call and response techniques that were empowering, creative, and that promoted independent thought without any punitive or disciplinary practices used. They also showed me the power of limitless potential. They never assumed that the students were to young to learn something. They just did it with the assumption they could and assessed their comprehension of it after the lesson had taken place and made the adjustments. Both Jane and Shawn lead a meditative ritual with sound and silence to open up the class and closed out every class with empowering words that these youth can take with them forever. Understanding how to implement these classroom rituals as a form of student/teacher building, understanding how to develop lesson plans and curriculum rooted in empowerment while affirming their individuality and social justice and change is a game changer for me as a teaching artist. Learning how to improvise and adjust your lesson plan depending on the student, teacher, and class dynamic has created the foundation of my teaching practice. I am confident that I will be able to better serve and guide the youth I work with, with confidence through building a compassionate space grounded in trust in any classroom or artistic space I work in. It has even informed my personal work. This program was life changing!”
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