Julianna Siddiqi performs Imagine Isabella in Cash Crop, an exhibition by artist Stephen Hayes.


Thursday, June 8, 2023
6:30 PM


Performance pre-registration is full. Walk-ins are welcome if space is available.

Imagine Isabella is a solo performance exploring the lives of Antony and Isabella, two of the first 20 enslaved Africans arriving at Point Comfort, Virginia in 1619, and their enslaver Captain Tucker. Performed inside the Virginia MOCA galleries, Imagine Isabella uses the artwork of Kara Walker: Cut to the Quick as a backdrop to bridge art and story. This fictionalized tale evolves from historical facts to an imaginative interpretation of Isabella’s life from coming out of the shadows of pain and into the light of resilience. Imagine Isabella is set to classical and contemporary music by artists of African descent and is written, produced, and performed by Julianna Siddiqi.

A moderated talkback will follow the performance.


Asa Jackson, Artist, Executive Director of the Contemporary Arts Network


Juliana Siddiqi, Artist
Patricia Nguyen, Artist
Shelton Tucker, Tucker Family Descendant
Andrea Josephs, Clinical Director, YWCA of Southeast Hampton Roads
Phillip Hamilton, Professor of History, Christopher Newport University

Julianna Siddiqi is a multi-media artist living in Hampton Roads. Her work strives to discover the treasures that emerge from art, in stories. Julianna holds a Master of Arts degree from Seton Hall University. She has performed and exhibited her works in theaters and galleries in the U.S. and Nigeria. Imagine Isabella was created and first performed in 2019 to coincide with the Hampton Roads commemoration of the 1619 African Landing. The performance was inspired by Cash Crop, an exhibition by artist Stephen Hayes, at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News. Siddiqi has since exhibited in Richmond, Virginia and continues to write, draw, paint, and collaborate with artists, folklorists, and design engineers.

Patricia Nguyen is an artist, scholar, and educator based in Chicago and Charlottesville. She is an assistant professor in American Studies at the University of Virginia and earned her Ph.D. in Performance Studies at Northwestern University. She has performed and exhibited at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Chile, Prague Quadrennial, Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Milwaukee Art Museum, and Nha San Collective in Vietnam. She is an award-winning memorial designer for the Chicago Torture Justice Memorial Project, the first monument in the United States to honor survivors of police violence. Patricia is also the co-founder and lead artist of Axis Lab, a community-based arts and architecture organization focused on inclusive and equitable development for immigrants and refugees.

Shelton Tucker is a retired finance professional with executive experience in banking, consumer foods, and consumer electronics. His extensive travels and work assignments across different regions have provided him with unique insights into his family's heritage. During his time in Europe and Africa, Shelton dedicated himself to researching and tracing his family's genealogy. Leveraging his expertise in forensic accounting from his roles at First Chicago Bank - London and Coca-Cola Africa, he uncovered a captivating family history. Shelton has shared his remarkable findings at conferences and events focused on history and genealogy. With a BS degree in Health Care Administration and Planning from Tennessee State University/Meharry Medical School and an MBA in Finance from Clark Atlanta University, Shelton is currently retired and committed to documenting his family's extraordinary journey in a forthcoming book.

Asa Jackson, a Virginia-based artist, delves into textiles to explore diverse cultures, histories, and personal narratives. His works serve as anthropological studies, interweaving fabrics to symbolize the fusion of cultures, time periods, and people. With a background in sociology, Jackson gained recognition through exhibitions, including a significant solo show at Samuel Owen Gallery. His art has been featured in prestigious venues and collected by institutions like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. As founder and executive director of The CAN Foundation, a Newport News arts organization, Jackson focuses on artist development, arts education, and public projects. He currently serves on the board of the Virginia Commission for the Arts where he acted as Chair for the fiscal year 2022.

Andrea Josephs holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Norfolk State University and Masters degrees in Higher Education from Walden University and Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Regent University. With 21 years of behavioral health and leadership experience, she serves underserved populations for 32 years. With 7 years in private practice, Josephs specializes in counseling diverse racial backgrounds, providing spiritual guidance, and supporting individuals during disruptive events. As a Disruptive Event Consultant for Fortune 500 companies since 2015, she has responded to incidents like Hurricane Florence and mass shootings. Josephs is currently pursuing a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision and is Treasurer-Elect for the Hampton Roads Counseling Association.

Phillip Hamilton is a historian, author, and editor known for his books on American history, including "The Making and Unmaking of a Revolutionary Family" and "Justifying Revolution." He has published articles in renowned journals and is currently working on a biography of Henry Knox. Hamilton holds degrees from Gettysburg College, George Washington University, and Washington University in St. Louis. As a Professor of History at Christopher Newport University, he teaches courses on Virginia history, early America, slavery, and the Civil War/Reconstruction.


Kara Walker: Cut to the Quick From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation


A leading artist of her generation, Kara Walker (b. 1969) works in a range of mediums, including prints, drawings, paintings, sculpture, film, and the large-scale silhouette cutouts for which she is perhaps most recognized. Her powerful and provocative images employ contradictions to critique the painful legacies of slavery, sexism, violence, imperialism, and other power structures, including those in the history and hierarchies of art and contemporary culture.


MARCH 9–JUNE 11, 2023