Samora Pinderhughes’  The Healing Project



May 10, 2022—Interdisciplinary artist, composer and filmmaker Samora Pinderhughes’ The Healing Project exhibition at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center For The Arts has been extended by popular demand and will run until September 4, 2022. Find additional details and tickets here

Pinderhughes’ visual art debut is one part of his years-long multimedia effort The Healing Project and is produced by Anna Deavere SmithGlenn Ligon and Vijay Iyer. The exhibit features a constellation of creative works including films, sound works, physical pieces and contributed artworks from established artists like Titus Kaphar and currently incarcerated artists including Pitt Panther. The work explores the daily realities of violence, incarceration, detention and policing in communities across the United States and highlights healing and care strategies that emerge from these same communities. “For us, the impact of The Healing Project is deeply felt within our spaces,” says Martin Strickland, Director of Curatorial Projects at the Center for the Arts. “The stories that are being told in the exhibition are having a profound effect on visitors and we are thrilled to be able to expand the exhibition’s ability to be seen and heard by various audiences throughout the summer.”

The heart of the exhibition is the Sound Room, where the interviews that Pinderhughes conducted over several years across 15 states for The Healing Project are scored to additional original music. The exhibition also includes workshops and events, all free and open to the public, and free performances featuring Pinderhughes and special guests. 

Pinderhughes album GRIEFanother integral part of The Healing Project—is out now. Listen to/share the latest single “Grief” here and watch/share the videos to “Holding Cell” here 

and “Masculinity” here.

Listen to the album here.

Additionally, watch a special NPR Tiny Desk performance of “The Cry/Masculinity,” “Holding Cell,” “Grief” and “Process” filmed onsite at The Healing Project exhibition at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts here.

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photo credit: Ray Neutron

Pinderhughes wrote all the songs and makes his official debut as a singer on GRIEF. Written in the spirit of music from the ’60s and ’70s by artists like Nina Simone and Curtis Mayfield who made powerful statements about life and social justice through their music, GRIEF aims to evoke feeling through texture and harmony by underlining the human voice as a bonding agent.

The digital archive of the installation, which will come later this spring is an open-source, mobile-friendly site built on AR/VR technology where people can listen directly to the recordings of The Healing Project interviewees scored to music. Pinderhughes created the digital archive alongside collaborators including Rafiq BhatiaChris PattishallJack DeBoe and Adam O’Farrill, which features a brand-new visual world created by CRUXthat site visitors can walk through digitally.

Samora Pinderhughes is a composer, pianist, vocalist, filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist known for examining sociopolitical issues and fighting for change through his art. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Pinderhughes began playing music at the age of two years and went on to study music at Juilliard, where he met his primary artistic mentor, MacArthur-winning playwright Anna Deavere Smith. Pinderhughes has collaborated and performed with a number of artists including Common, Robert Glasper, Karriem Riggins, Sara Bareilles and Herbie Hancock, and his compositional works have been commissioned by institutions including Carnegie Hall, the Sundance Film Festival and the Kennedy Center.

“The necessity of art like this underscores how deep-seated and unresolved the issues it confronts are. The project operates as a call to action, broadcasting the fact that our nation has not reckoned with racism in a meaningful way—despite a long-running civil rights movement.”

“For its unflinching look at a history of violence, The Healing Project resounds harmoniously as a chorus of voices and invites viewers to join in solidarity for a less racist and less violent American future."

“Samora Pinderhughes doesn’t want to just talk about structural violence. He wants to pave new avenues toward change. In his multimedia exhibition The Healing Project, currently on display at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Pinderhughes marries different visual and sonic mediums in a prismatic reflection of resilience amid hardship. Rather than casting a single light, he projects a constellation of physical and virtual spaces: the exhibition, the album GRIEF and a digital archive of the installation. Through it all, he actively grapples with racism, incarceration and the systemic ills of capitalism.”

“Through his purposeful engagement of various mediums, Pinderhughes centers and amplifies the voices of the silenced, creating living spaces where individuals can grapple with endemic violence. In doing so, he encourages participants to move through the pain, and he invites all to partake in revolutionary change.”


“He’s produced this masterful work in three parts: it’s part digital archive, it’s part film and there’s a sound component which is this album and is absolutely incredible. It’s fascinating listening to this record how much softness there is to it, at the same time there’s really grandeur and range and reach, this is a fantastic record.”
“The arrangements are so, so beautiful. It’s his official debut as a singer and it's incredible to hear yet another skill he pulls out of his bag. We hear him composing and producing and all of that but now he’s also singing and he has so much to say, it’s beautiful.”
“The album’s sound is a mix of Pinderhughes, singing alone at his piano, and the  cerebral, richly textured force of an 11-person ensemble he put together. Back-up singers complement Pinderhughes’s vocals, bringing out refrains that toe the line between rousing and haunting. Expert tenor and alto saxophonists shine, as does Pinderhughes’s sister, Elena, who contributes her mastery of the flute. Pinderhughes’s choice to double up the bass, with the electric and the upright versions of the instrument playing simultaneously, adds depth to the rhythm section throughout.”
“Most affecting is ‘Grief,’ the title track, which features a hypnotic wurlitzer pattern oscillating over a steady build of drums, bass, voices and Radiohead-esque synth textures. It comes to a climax as Pinderhughes delivers a final refrain—‘Don’t let them take me, tonight’—before being enveloped in a sonic landscape.”
“TODAY’S TOP TUNE: Samora Pinderhughes: ‘Masculinity’”—Best New Music
The Healing Project: a kaleidoscopic, highly collaborative creative endeavor comprised of a 15-track album; an exhibition at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA); an audio archive of interviews with more than 100 people across 15 states who’ve encountered structural violence like incarceration, detention or community shootings in their daily lives; and a concert series.”

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