Ashley David is an interdisciplinary artist, who travels widely and has lived in the US, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, and most recently, Poland. She combines techniques and traditions from ethnography, poetry, visual art, digital media, theater, community arts, and scholarship to create word-art-sound things.
Her pieces are intended to catalyze conscious democratic participation by exploring, disrupting, and nuancing power relationships and binary oppositions as they intersect with heritage, history, landscape, globalization, and everyday experience.
Degrees include a PhD from The University of Georgia, an MFA from the University of Michigan, an MA in cultural anthropology and a Certificate in culture and media from New York University, and an AB in cultural anthropology from Stanford University. She was a pre-doctoral resident-artist fellow at the Vermont Studio Center from 2011-2012.
Creative work has been featured in Web Conjunctions 05.06.14, Hyperallergic, Michigan Quarterly Review Blog, The Offending Adam, Alimentum, Center, Greensboro Review, Hanging Loose, Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, South Dakota Review, Southern Review, Toad, Verse, and Women’s Studies Quarterly.
Scholarship on Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters appears in The Future Is Now: A New Look at African Diaspora Studies; Let Spirit Speak!: Cultural Journeys through the African Diaspora; and Turning Points and Transformations: Essays on Language, Literature and Culture, and op-ed features on education, the environment, and social justice have appeared in The Flagpole.
As the editor-in-chief of the multicultural publication, Mandala Journal from 2009-2011, she took the journal online and established an international presence with readers in 80+ countries using 30+ languages. As the the founding blog editor (2010-2014) and the online producer (2013-2014) for the Michigan Quarterly Review, she developed and implemented dynamic models to publish diverse voices weekly and to expand and extend MQR’s reach and impact domestically and internationally via online channels.
Artist Statement: To explore the possibility of/for arts to catalyze conscious and democratic participation, I generally begin and end in ethnography. In between, i/we traverse a spectrum of media from experience to text to 2D/3D/4D visual art to performance. My formal training as anthropologist, filmmaker, poet/writer, and literary scholar positions me to draw from all, but does not require me to adhere closely to any. This freedom tends to result in an interdisciplinary approach that is highly theoretical and intellectualized for me, but it can be offered to others on whatever terms they wish to receive it, including “not at all.” I’m most interested in the Text that results from this process of offering-reception-action, though the work stands alone as discrete and achieved elements of the Text.
CV: (available upon request)
Website Photo Credits: Header portrait featured throughout the site by Jennifer Garza-Cuen. All other photos, unless otherwise specified, are by Ashley David.