LINKS HALL presents 

2021-2022 & 2022-2023 Co-MISSION Artists

Pictured (clockwise from top left): Helen Lee, Keisha Janae, Cat Mahari, Mario LaMothe, Nejla Yatkin, Jaerin Son, Rika Lin (a.k.a. Yoshinojo Fujima), Erin Kilmurray, Destine Young, Rigo Saura, and Marcela Torres

Links Hall is proud to announce a new cohort of Co-MISSION Resident and Fellowship Artists, who will be developing new performance at Links’s incubator studio during the next two years:

2021-2022 Season

  • Resident Artists: Keisha Janae/Eternal Resolve, Mario LaMothe, Helen Lee, and Cat Mahari
  • Fellowship Artists: Jaerin Son and Nejla Yatkin

2022-2023 Season

  • Resident Artists: Rigo Saura, Marcela Torres, and Destine Young/Ground Rhythm Dance Project 
  • Fellowship Artists: Erin Kilmurray and Rika Lin (a.k.a. Yoshinojo Fujima)

Co-MISSION Residencies and Fellowships incorporate a flexible range of resources designed to meet the needs of artistic experimentation at different points in an artist’s career and different points in a project’s development. Links provides selected artists with 3-5 months studio time ($2000-$5000 value per artist), financial awards ($1,200 for residents; $3,000 for fellows), formal coaching, production support throughout the residency period, opportunities to share works-in-progress, and paid performances at the annual Festival of New Works. In addition to 8-16 hours per week of studio time, artists also participate in the “Art of Rehearsal” mentorship program, led by esteemed artist-educators and Co-MISSION coaches Kim Davis, Kristina Isabelle, and Bryan Saner. 

Links Hall Artist Programs Manager & Associate Curator Aaliyah Christina, shares, “This year, Links Hall received over 50 applications from performance artists all over Chicago. We engaged in truly one of the most robust discussions and hardest deliberation processes some of us had ever had. Each application was so clear and passionate. We could tell folks were READY to put the pandemic fog to bed and start making. I’m so excited to welcome TWO cohorts for the next TWO Co-MISSION seasons.”

Audiences will be able to experience the work of Co-MISSION Artists during the annual Festival of New Works in June, including performances, artist talks, workshops, and more. (Tentative dates: June 16-26, 2022 and June 15-25, 2023. Exact schedule to be announced.)

Co-MISSION artists are selected by a jury panel composed of Co-MISSION alumni, Links staff and board, curators, artists, and other community leaders. The 2021-2023 jury members included: Mike Anestor (Co-MISSION alum artist, Links Hall Board Member), Aaliyah Christina (Co-MISSION alum artist, Links Hall Artist Programs Manager & Associate Curator), Elliot Reza Emadian (Co-MISSION alum artist), J’Sun Howard (Co-MISSION alum artist), Sam Lewis (Links Hall artist, Hyde Park Jazz Festival Co-Executive & Artistic Director), Stephanie Pacheco (Links Hall Executive Director), Mitsu Salmon (Co-MISSION alum artist) and Christy Uchida (former Links Hall Board Member, The Brinson Foundation President). 

Special funding for Co-MISSION residencies in 2021-2022 is provided by J’Sun Howard and the Links Hall Commissioning Collective.


2021-2022 Co-MISSION Artists:

Keisha Janae (Co-MISSION Resident Artist) Graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Keisha Janae resides in Southshore Chicago. She has experience in performance, teaching artistry, and dance making. She co-founded with Trellz Mind, “Eternal Resolve” a teaching platform that uses movement to heal and find self realization. This workshop was presented at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago’s 2020 Fall season. Versatile in a diversity movement styles, Keisha also teaches House dance at Crown Community Acd and Red clay Dance Company. She has performed with Onye Ozuzu’s “Project Tool,” Jane Jerardi’s “delicate hold,” and Damon Lock’s, “Black Monument Ensemble.” Currently, she dances with Red Clay Dance Company, the Instigation Festival, “Freedom from Freedom too” events, and BraveSoul Movement. Her desire for her career is to choreograph and create more opportunities through her instructional practice for marginalized groups to exercise their spiritual, physical, and mental power while healing and reawakening.

Mario LaMothe (Co-MISSION Resident Artist) is a performance artist, curator and scholar. His curated events at the Haitian-American Museum of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Duke University, among others, focused on Haitian artists’ labor to destabilize forms of anti-Haitianism, and queer artistry and social equity in Haiti and the Caribbean. His essays have appeared in numerous academic and public humanities publications. He holds a BA in Theater Arts and French from Boston College, a Certificate of Dance from the Ailey School, an MFA in Arts Management from Brooklyn College, and Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. Mario is also an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago. 

Helen Lee (she/they) (Co-MISSION Resident Artist) was born and raised in Chicago to immigrant parents from South Korea. They create works that weave performance, storytelling, film/video, installation and/or social practice to examine facets of trauma, racism, xenophobia, grief, shame, healing and meanings of home. She hopes to raise awareness, strengthen voices and build solidarity amongst the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.

Cat Mahari (Co-MISSION Resident Artist)’s practice is built from a richly layered body history, stemming from an archive of research, and physical training with the intent of manifesting an intellectual, material and informal grammar of liberation via documentation, video and live performance. She is a street dancer raised in the cultural shade of Hip Hop; a sound artist sourcing Blkness in jazz, punk, and more. She is a daughter that’s more like her mother, and whose granny makes the best cornbread.

Jaerin Son (Co-MISSION Fellowship Artist) is a director, puppet theater artist and set designer from Korea. Her works include plays, experimental puppet theaters and installation arts. Her process often involves surreal images that depict the world as it is, rather than representing the illusion of realism.

Nejla Yatkin (Co-MISSION Fellowship Artist) – Described  by The New York Times as “a magician, telling tales and creating worlds” and “a fierce and supple performer,” Chicago-based choreographer Nejla Yatkin travels the globe inspiring empathic connections between people and their environments. She creates solos, choreographs ensemble dances for stages and sites, collaborates on plays and film/video projects, and educates young artists. Nejla hails from Germany; her artistic lineage enfolds European dance-theatre, American Modern Dance, African-American modern dance, and numerous international influences. She is the recipient of awards from the Princess Grace Foundation, the National Performance Network, 3Arts and the Baryshnikov Arts Center, among others. 

2022-2023 Co-MISSION Artists:

Erin Kilmurray (Co-MISSION Fellowship Artist) is a dance artist, teacher and arts advocate crafting genre-straddling, queer-leading performance worlds born from athletics, DIY sensibilities, spectacle, and music videos through contemporary dance forms, social practices, theater and nightlife culture. Erin has been selected as a Chicago Dancemakers Lab Artist (2020), recognized as 50 People Who Really Perform for Chicago (Newcity) and she is the director of The Fly Honey Show, named a ‘Chicago institution’ by Chicago Reader. Her work has been supported by The Dance Center of Columbia College, Pivot Arts, The Cambrian’s, Thalia Hall, Empty Bottle, Metro, Berlin Nightclub, Beauty Bar, dancebox-Kobe (Japan) and countless underground spaces.

Rika Lin (a.k.a. Yoshinojo Fujima) (Co-MISSION Fellowship Artist) is a traditional Japanese dancer, choreographer, and increasingly a producer and curator. She is reclaiming willfulness for female artists by building spaces, from festivals to small works, that promote the full person, strengths, and expressions left out in the accepted norms of traditional Japanese performance. Her collaborations embrace musicians, media and visual artists equally.

Rigo Saura (Co-MISSION Resident Artist) graduated from the National School of Modern and Contemporary Dance in Havana, Cuba. Since moving to Chicago, he’s been part of The Ruth Page Center for the Arts and guest artist/instructor for the Professional Program at Hubbard Street Dance Company. Currently, a dancer, teacher, and choreographer with Hedwig Dances, Ruth Page Civic Ballet, and guest artist/instructor with Visceral Dance Chicago. Artist-in-Residence, Chicago Dancemakers Forum Production Residency in partnership with The Ruth Page Center for the Arts and Performance Response Journal, sponsored by the Walder Foundation (2021)

Marcela Torres (Co-MISSION Resident Artist) is a performance maker working within sensorial as a portal into our subconscious. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, living in transit between Chicago and Brooklyn.. Torres received a BA in Sculpture Intermedia and a BFA in Art History from the University of Utah, continuing their studies in MFA in Performance form School of the Art Institute Chicago. Torres has performed at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, NE), The Momentary (Bentonville, AK), Fringe Festival (Detroit, MI), Experimental Actions (Houston, TX) and Time Based Arts (Portland, Oregon). Torres has exhibited work at Recess (Brooklyn, NY), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, IL) UW-Parkside University (Kenosha, WI), Tropical Contemporary (Eugene, OR), Petzel Gallery (NYC, NY) In 2021 Torres will be a resident at Creative Exchange Lab at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts.

Destine Young (Co-MISSION Resident Artist) a native of Chicago Illinois has studied many styles of movement and works extensively as a teaching artist, performer, community activist and choreographer. Through dance informed by a variety of cultural rituals and practices, she seeks to develop and share movement-based healing practices that support social, mental and spiritual development. Her movement explores the relationships between modern contemporary. martial arts and hip-hop street dance.