OCEANA JAMES, MFA, BA
Theatre Artist, Dancer, Director
Oceana James is a St. Croix-born interdisciplinary artist. Her work is an examination/a re-telling/ a re-imagining of her Caribbean indigeneity. It is a commentary on the socio-political, cultural, and economic realities of peoples of African descent. In her work James deconstructs the idea of language as one’s sole means of communication and experiments with the use of time, space, non-linear form and movement to do this. Additionally, she uses her Caribbean “Nation Language” to further explore the mythologies and stories that she grew up hearing. Right now, her research is centered on epigenetics, trees, (the biology and mythology), the intersection of science, spirituality, agriculture; and the use of the body to embody and then exorcise the traumas of colonialism.
Oceana has successfully shown her one-woman experimental piece, For Gowie: The Deceitful Fellow, in Germany, Denmark, NYC and St. Croix, USVI. She has presented her paper Weaving Jumbie Time: Translocational Storytelling and Praxis at the Royal Danish Art Academy of Fine Arts’ Archives that Matter conference/residency. She has most recently been featured in Gibney: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center’s: Living Gallery (curated by Eva Yaa Asaantewa)–showing her work-in-progress: Min(d)ing My Business.
James is a collaborator in choreographer Paloma McGregor’s Building a Better Fishtrap and a principal member of Sibyl Kempson’s 7 Daughters Perf. Co. a theatre company that completed a 3-year residency (12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens) at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Oceana’s most recent residencies have been through her work with Angela’s Pulse at Movement Research; Movement Lab at Barnard; at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was in the 2019 cohort at EmergeNYC at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and politics at New York University; El Residencial 2018 in Carolina, Puerto Rico (where she worked with Las Nietas de Nonó and other Caribbean artists), and Migrating Histories (curated by Monica Marin) on the island of St. Croix.
Oceana grew up hearing stories/folktales and is proud to continue the long legacy and tradition of storytelling from the Caribbean. On the island of St. Croix, James has worked with The Caribbean Community Theatre; Moving Women Ensemble Theatre; Per Ankh Inc.; St. Croix Sankofa for the Cultural Arts; and artists such as Opal Palmer Adisa, La Vaughn Belle, David Edgecombe, and Monica Marin, to name a few.