The Graduates are a New Orleans-based performance ensemble of formerly-incarcerated women who were former members of the Drama Club at Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women (LCIW). Life is a performance that was created by The Graduates to accompany The Life Quilt (2018), a hand-beaded quilt adorned with the names of the 107 women serving life sentences in Louisiana.
Created to honor the women named on the quilt, Life combines spoken word, music, dance, video, and live musical accompaniment by New Orleans musicians Zohar Israel and Big Chief David Montanna. The names, compiled by Selina Anderson of the LCIW Drama Club, were hand-beaded by members of the Black Masking Indian gangs: Golden Feather Hunters, Creole Osceola, Washitaw Nation, Wild Magnolias, Cheyenne Hunters, and the Young Masai Hunters. The center portrait was created by Brandan ‘BMike’ Odums and features an image of the late Mary Turner, founding LCIW Drama Club member and “Lifer.” The entire piece was sewn together by Louise Mouton Johnson.
This program is part of Inter[SECTOR], the CAC’s three-year multidisciplinary arts programming centering cross-sector engagements with the fields of carceral justice, healthcare, and the environment. During the 2021-2022 season, Inter[SECTOR] examines the impact of mass incarceration on our community through performances, workshops, and virtual conversations created and led by women and non-binary artists alongside individuals impacted by the in justices in the prison system. Learn more