Annielille “Ani” Gavino is a recipient of the 2021 Leeway Foundation Transformation Award

Amid COVID and its lasting impacts on arts, culture, and its practitioners, Leeway Foundation announces $180,000 in unrestricted support to 12 artists and cultural producers working at the intersection of art and social change.

This year’s cohort spans an array of artistic disciplines and social change intents –photographers focused on immigrant justice, dancers preserving and reinventing cultural legacies, poets championing racial justice, musicians creating work about gender self-determination, and more.

This cohort also reflects an increase of awardees who identify as cultural producers. Whether they are artists or cultural organizers driving social change or curators uplifting the work of others, cultural producers offer a unique perspective and utilize their practices to connect and engage community members through art-driven social change events, practices, and opportunities.

Philadelphia based dancer, choreographer and multidisciplinary artist, Annielille “Ani” Gavino is one of the year’s recipients. Gavino is a Filipinx movement artist, choreographer, educator, writer, cultural worker, and multidisciplinary storyteller native to the island of Panay, Philippines. Since immigrating to the United States in 2000, Gavino has danced professionally with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Kun Yang- Lin/ Dancers, Ananya Dance Theater, and worked with legendary choreographers such as Katherine Dunham, Eleo Pomare, Donald McKayle, Alonzo King, Diane McIntyre, Milton Myers, Ronald K. Brown, Antonio Hidalgo Paz to name a few. 

In Philadelphia, she directs her project-based company Ani/Malayaworks utilizing dance, film, and literature as vessels for inscription, community engagement, resistance, reclaiming erased histories, and spiritual journeys. Her identity as a queer foreign-born immigrant mother is a driving force to her decolonial art activism. Currently, she is working with an all-Filipino/a/x ensemble, merging the indigenous warfare Kali as a modality used to inscribe Filipino-American resistance as integral to world history. 

Since the conception of Ani/Malayaworks in 2015, she has been supported by the MAPfund, Velocity Fund, Scribe Film Grant, Asian Arts Initiative, Career Transition Award, Dance Place, Fleisher Art Memorial, Barnes Foundation, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, Dance Place DC, National Performance Network, Small but Mighty Arts, Painted Bride, and Leeway Foundation. 

She hopes to continue the work of using dance and writing as conduits to critical inquiry and social change.

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