“The jurying process this year was quite competitive and we have great admiration for all the finalists who collectively embody the layers and vibrancy of the community here in Atlanta. The two awardees represent distinct practices that demonstrate a commitment to both artistic excellence and rigorous thinking about the creative process. Sonya’s installations emphasize the deeply contemplative potential of craft, elevating humble materials to spiritual planes. Danielle’s compelling performances and videos connect personal narratives with larger issues of social justice and the lived experience of African American women.”
-Gregory Harris & Louise Shaw
Danielle Deadwyler is a multidisciplinary performance artist, actor, and filmmaker.
An Atlanta native, Deadwyler is rooted in theatre, dance, and creative writing. Hometown staples such as Gate City Heritage House, Total Dance Theatre, Gary Harrison Studios, Atlanta Street Theatre, Henry W. Grady High School, and Spelman College cumulatively honed Deadwyler amongst a distinctly Southern landscape. As a graduate student under Dr. Robin D. G. Kelley, she focused her analysis on issues facing women and African Americans while attaining a Master’s of Arts in American Studies from Columbia University.
As a professional actor, Deadwyler has performed in productions with Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Synchronicity Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Aurora Theatre and the Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre. She is the Creative Loafing Atlanta Critics Pick for Best Actress (2013) and Reader’s Pick for Best Performance Artist (2017). In 2015 she was the winning recipient of the Suzi Bass Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a play. Deadwyler has since performed in numerous television and film roles, presented nationally and internationally, including Watchmen (HBO), Atlanta (FX), FBI: Most Wanted (CBS), Being Mary Jane (BET), and as Quita Maxwell on Tyler Perry’s The Haves & The Have Nots (OWN), among a host of independent films and experimental works.
As a filmmaker and producer, Deadwyler’s work has been screened in the Creative Loafing Atlanta shorts contest (2011); WonderRoot Local Film night (2013/2015), and Hartsfield International Airport (2016), New Orleans Film Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival, and Oxford Film Fest. The multimedia project MuhfuckaNeva(Luvd)Uhs: Real Live Girl film was the Jury award winner of the WonderRoot Film Night (2015). She also starred in and co-produced the American Black Film Festival 2014 HBO Shorts Official Selection Ir/Reconcilable, a short film starring Jasmine Guy, Dick Gregory and Crystal Fox. Her short film, SuPerHeRoInUh, screened amongst ten finalists as a part of the Airport Shorts 3.0 program, and the Atlanta Film Festival 40th anniversary, at Hartsfield Jackson Airport for the duration of a year. CHOR(E)S was the jury award winner for experimental film at New Orleans Film Fest (2020).
As performance artist, Deadwyler’s race and gender-centric works have been included in MAMBU BADU collective’s exhibition If We Came From Nowhere Here, Why Can’t We Go Somewhere There? (D.C.), Mint Gallery (ATL), Whitespace Gallery (ATL), The Luminary (STL), Atlanta Film Festival, among others. She presented (dis)possessed: the live mixtape (2013), a one-woman theatrical performance art project, at Spelman College’s Museum of Fine Art as a part of their Black Box series. Numerous grants have supported Deadwyler’s works, from IDEA CAPITAL (2014/2017), ELEVATE Atlanta, Living Walls (2016), Synchronicity Theatre Stripped Bare Lab, WonderRoot Walthall Fellowship, and Artadia. She is a former Atlanta Film Festival Filmmaker-in-Residence and former MINT Leap Year Residency Fellow.
Danielle Deadwyler is the recipient of the 2019 Atlanta Artadia Award.