Ayana Evans is a NYC based artist who was raised in Chicago, IL. Evans is best known for her on-going performances/public interventions: "Operation Catsuit" and "I Just Came Here to Find a Husband." Her work focuses on the dismantling of hierarchies, classism, misogyny and racism through interactive symbolic performances, such as asking a predominately white crowd to "catch [her] Black body," and video works projected in public spaces.
Evans is a performance artist who began her career as a painter. She received her MFA in painting from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University and her BA in Visual Arts from Brown University. In 2015 she received the Jerome Foundation's Theater and Travel & Study Grant for artistic research abroad. During the summer of 2016 Evans completed her installment of the residency, "Back in Five Minutes" at El Museo Del Barrio in NYC. The next year she completed a 10 hour endurance based, citywide performance and 100 person performative dinner party in the Barnes Foundation museum (free and open to the public) during the Spring of 2017 for "A Person of the Crowd” which was a major performance art survey featuring artists such as, Marina Abramovic, Tania Bruguera and William Pope.L in Philadelphia, PA. Her international work includes perfromances and video screenings at: FIAP, a performance festival in Martinique, Tiwani Contemporary in London(as part of the Pineapple Show curated by Zina Saro-Wiwa), Ghana'a Chale Wote festival which drew 30,000 people. She has also performed at the Queens Museum, Bronx Museum, Newark Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum, and the RISD Museum. Evans was a 2018 Fellow in the Studio Immersion Program at EFA’s Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, as well as, a 2018 resident and grant recipient at Artists Alliance Inc (NYC), and a 2017-2018 cycle awardee of the Franklin Furnace Fund for performance art. In 2018, she completed her first solo exhibition at Medium Tings Gallery in Brooklyn, which featured two solo performances, interactive works and a talk with professor and scholar Uri McMillan. Evans is also a 2018 NYFA Fellow for Interdisciplinary Arts and a 2019 awardee of the Savage-Lewis Residency Fellowship sponsored by Art on The Vine (AOTV). Additionally, because performing outside of institutional approval is important to Evans, she has completed numerous guerrilla style performances where she crashed art openings or performed unannounced on the street.
Ayana has curated and co-curated performance art shows throughout the U.S and worked in arts education for a decade. She is currently an adjunct professor at Brown University and Editor at Large for www.cultbytes.com. Her recent press includes articles in Bomb Magazine, Hyperallergic.com, Art News, New York Magazine's The Cut, gallerygurls.net, The Associated Press, BitchMedia.org, theroot.com, thesnobette.com and CNN.