A Window Portrait Exhibition by Sophiann M. Moore
Outside of Your Expectations (OYE) is a healing, interactive, art exhibition in the form of a video installation and live performance. It explores social constructs that are put upon Black women and the ways that it can affect their mental health. Through West African’s fast pace motions, Umfundalai’s contemporary African reflective storytelling gestures, and Hip Hop’s dynamic grooves, this video installation and performance depicts a mental fight. The fight against the belief that stereotypes define people. It goes on to demonstrate that when one takes time to heal, the individual is healing their inner child from the stereotypes they have grown up with and subconsciously took as their truth.
For the month of February, OYE has provided part of their exhibition where Black women from different spans of life speak about their lived experiences with stereotypes from childhood to adulthood. This exhibit provides an inside look at the Black woman psyche in the climate of 2020 to present day. It has been created not only to provide a platform for Black women’s voices to be heard but to start conversations on how we, as a society, can learn, grow, and show up for Black women.
When: Tuesday, Feb. 7 – Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023
Where: Free to view – In the storefront windows of the Painted Bride building (5212 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19139)
Current Philadelphia Artist, Sophiann Mahalia moved from Hartford, Connecticut to receive her BFA in Dance Choreography and Performance from Temple University. Sophiann graduated Summa Cum Laude and had the honor of being the recipient of the Rose Vernick Most Promising Performers Award.
Sophiann’s dance credentials include Equilibrium Dance Theatre, D2D: Dare To Dance, and Kariamu and Company: Traditions. She has trained under Lee Aca Thompson, who has influenced artists such as Michael Peters choreographer for Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and Dr. Kariamu Welsh, creator of the Umfundalai technique. She has studied West African, Modern, Ballet, Hip hop, Waacking, and Umfundalai with AQiida Gilbert, Dara Stevens Meredith, Dr. Kariamu Welsh, Jillian Harris, Jolet Creary, Kun Yang Lin, Laura Katz Rizzo, Lee Aca Thompson, and Stephen Hankey.
Her recent works include the Gilead’s commercial campaign “Press Play”, Black & Mild commercial shoot, and music video Clarity for singing artist Saleka Night Shyamalan directed by Ishani Shyamalan and M. Night Shyamalan. Alongside this, she was one of the featured dancers for Ari Lennox’s Shea Butter Baby music video featuring J Cole. In the commercial world, Sophiann has had the opportunity to do work for companies such as BOMBAS, gone on tour with the Clothesline Muse starring six-time nominated jazz singer Nnenna Freelon and performed in New Freedom Theatre’s Black Nativity directed by Rajendra Maroon Maharaj.
She promotes body positivity and strongly uses dance to tell the story that can’t be understood with just words, but movement. Sophiann Mahalia explores dance through her own experiences of the black dancing body by using her fusion of African, hip hop, and waacking to promote the limitless and regal qualities of womanhood within the black dancing body. She aspires to inspire other artists to take their artistry to the next level as she does the same.