Gabri Christa

Atlantic Fellow at GBHI
UCsf Memory and aging center

Professional Profile
Home Country: Curaçao/USA
Field of Employment: Choreographer, Filmmaker
Social Media: Twitter:@Shaolinfilms Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shaolinfilms/

Gabri Christa’s work takes personal stories, hers or those of others, and through art-making finds understanding for our common humanity. Her current MAGDALENA project is a multimedia work that tells the story of her mother living with dementia. A performance for intimate spaces, the work seeks to hold space and open the conversation around dementia and those affected by it, primarily loved ones. The MAGDALENA project also aims to create workshops for caregivers and others, and includes a series of short dance-films around aging.

Gabri says of dementia in her community: “My identity is complex as is my sense of home community, so when I speak about dementia in my community it involves several ones in the Caribbean, and in the black and immigrant/Caribbean communities in New York City, USA, where care and conversation is as complex and almost non-existent.”

As a society we need to start talking to each other about dementia, the most simple first step. Personally, I aim to create understanding for dementia through the arts. By looking at what connects us as humans, my interest lies in opening up the discussion and removing some of the stigma and fear around dementia especially for loved ones and caretakers. As an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at GBHI I hope to learn from communities around the world about how to build support for the care-taking network. I’m interested in finding out how art, storytelling and dance can facilitate communication for loved ones and people living with dementia and between each other. I am especially interested in reaching out to black and Caribbean and immigrant communities where the stigma around aging and the brain, and brain health in general, looms even larger. I spend my free time at home with my family and cats, do yoga, read, watch movies and when I can, I swim and windsurf. I love water.

Bio: Gabri Christa received her undergraduate at the University for the Arts, School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam, and her M.F.A. at the University of Washington. She has choreographed, lived, and danced in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands and now in the USA where she is Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College of Columbia University, Department of Dance where she teaches dance and film. Recognition includes a Guggenheim Fellowship. As part of her artistic practice she choreographs, makes films and multi-media works, writes and curates.

Links: www.gabrichrista.com