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Inside View of Somali Piracy

Tue, 05/14/2024 - 11:53
Christine Sciulli, whose installation “The Weight of Water,” seen here, is at The Church in Sag Harbor, will take part in a panel discussion there that explores the work’s themes.
Joe Jagos

The Church will once again show its thematic range this weekend with programs devoted to Somali piracy, songwriting, and the intersection of art and social justice.

Thymaya Payne, a writer and filmmaker and a current artist-in-residence at the Sag Harbor venue, will show his 2012 documentary “Stolen Seas” tomorrow evening at 7. The film follows the pirate Ishmael Ali, a pirate translator and negotiator, telling the story of 13 men captured and trapped on their ship, and explores why their captors feel justified in their tyranny.

Mr. Payne was drawn to the project in an attempt to understand the rapid changes wrought by globalization and the emerging story of piracy in Somalia. How did he connect with a Somali pirate? How did the camera find its way onto the ship to witness a life-threatening negotiation for seven million dollars? How did he find the negotiator?

These and other questions are answered by the film, which The New York Times called “magnificent,” and during a post-screening question-and-answer session with the filmmaker. Tickets are $10, free for members of The Church who R.S.V.P.

Arta Jekabsone, a vocalist and composer also in residence at The Church, will lead a songwriting workshop there on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ms. Jekabsone’s honors include the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition and third prize in the 2021 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Voice Competition. Her compositions are infused with the folk melodies of Latvia, her homeland.

The workshop will explore the improvisational nature of songwriting and consider how simple melodies can transform into complex compositions when combined with the spoken word. Participants will be guided through a series of exercises and techniques designed to encourage creativity and facilitate improvisation. Tickets are $45, $40 for members.

Christine Sciulli, an artist from New York City and Amagansett whose installation “The Weight of Water” is on view in the venue’s current exhibition, “Space - Sight - Line,” will be there on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. for a conversation about the work’s themes, among them race, the history of slavery on the East End, and its legacy.

“My recent efforts to combine artistic practice with my passion for social justice have led me to create ‘The Weight of Water,’ “ Ms. Sciulli said. “This program invites our East End community into a space of reflection and discussion with educators and policymakers.”

The event will include presentations by Meghan McGinley, the Sag Harbor Cinema’s director of education, and Carrie Clark and Cara Nelson, local educators. State Senator James Sanders Jr. will discuss his work on reparations via Zoom.

The audience will see how education connects to policy, how children process revised and relevant history, and how families and the community can learn to generate an informed and engaged electorate that can promote social justice — “not just at the voting booth,” said Ms. Sciulli. Tickets are $10, free for members who R.S.V.P.


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