Adisa Banjoko has had a vision since the founding of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation 2006 to present to the world a unique fusion of artforms. This unlikely combination of hip-hop, chess and martial arts has been a revelation to those who may only understand one of these arts… or none. Over the years, it has helped youth look at the ways in which these arts can help them to make better life decisions, but also the way that each of them can express themselves in a non-violent way. Banjoko has been the inspiration of the “Living Like Kings: The Collision of Chess and Hip Hop Culture” exhibit that opened yesterday at the World Chess Hall of Fame. It will run for the next six months until April 26, 2015. Here is a description:
“The concept for Living Like Kings began when WCHOF’s team was introduced to Adisa Banjoko, an author and educator who founded the nonprofit Hip Hop Chess Federation in San Francisco, CA. Adisa fuses chess and hip hop to promote peace, knowledge, and self-reliance among young people. This has been the inspiration for our ground-breaking art exhibition.”
~Shannon Bailey, Chief Curator at the World Chess Hall of Fame.
The press release continues…
The exhibition is centered on an immersive, multimedia experience created by Saint Louis artist? Benjamin Kaplan and executive producer Nicole Hudson, with murals by Peat “EYEZ” Wollaeger. Commissioned by WCHOF, the installation includes archival and original video, music and photography, custom-designed type and illustration, and a series of interviews. Kaplan weaves these pieces together to create a linear narrative that will literally surround visitors in sound and sight using inventive projection techniques.
Kaplan’s piece is approximately 25 minutes in length and will be shown in WCHOF’s first floor gallery. It touches on themes that chess and hip hop share: history, strategy, spirituality, process, creativity, education, and symbolism. Interviewees for the piece include Banjoko, International Grandmaster Maurice Ashley, Wu-Tang Clan member RZA, Eugene Brown (founder of Big Chair Chess Club, Inc.), Dr. Daaim Shabazz (founder of thechessdrum.net), and Woman Grandmaster Jennifer Shahade.