Marlon F. Hall

Can I Tell You A Story?

Can I Tell You A Story?
Film screening and performance of “From a Door at the Center of the Table” 
Monday, April 29 at 6 p.m.
Hamel Music Center

RSVP Needed

Join us for a captivating film screening unlike any other, as we present “From a Door at The Center of a Table.” This unique event features a live micro-orchestra of improvisational jazz musicians, conducted by Grammy Award Winning Composer and Trumpet player, Keyon Harrold. Experience the journey of the film and its students, led by Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence, Marlon F. Hall, and hosted by Professor Faisal Abdu’Allah.

This ethnographic filmmaking process, known as a “visual poem,” is an original concept of Hall’s that moves from stanza to stanza, more like a sonnet, driven by the heartbeat of the storyteller, original music, and a shapeless love for human possibility. Join us for an unforgettable evening filled with creativity, exploration, and artistic expression.


Marlon Hall
Keyon Harrold (Grammy Award)
Prof. Faisal Abdu’Allah
Prof. Johannes Wallmann
Prof. Jerome Sebastian Camal
Hannah Jon Taylor
Other special guests

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of an extraordinary cinematic and musical experience!

Can I Tell You A Story?: From a Door at the Center of the Table

Opening Reception April 5, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Memorial Union Main Gallery

Followed by Just Bust, 8 p.m.
Wisconsin Historical Society
featuring Marlon F. Hall!

From April 5 to May 17, 2024, artist, author, and anthropologist Marlon F. Hall will present Can I Tell You A Story?: A Door at the Center of a Table, an exhibition that will demonstrate the beauty of human connectedness found at the intersection of anthropology and art, which brings healing to “communities that have experienced political, cultural, or systemic trauma.” 

 Marlon makes tables to make meals as an art practice. At the center of these tables are reclaimed doors made of native wood from the communities where he finds himself. He invites to the table a cross-pollination of people —16 at a time— to engage in the beauty intrinsic to being human. Original musical composition, rich culinary art, and intentionally designed conversations drive a night of wonder experienced by people who are different and share a heart for the community. At the table, they cannot talk about what they do, only who they are and why they exist.

 As a Spring 2024 Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence in UW–Madison’s Division of the Arts and the Art Department, Marlon brings meals as an art practice to campus and the greater Madison area. He has invited a cross-pollination of university students to explore the power of community meals and be transformed through the restorative practice of storylistening.

Can I Tell You A Story?: From a Door at the Center of the Table is presented by the Wisconsin Union Directorate Art Committee in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program presented by the UW–Madison Division of the Arts and the UW–Madison Art Department, with Professor Faisal Abdu’Allah as the faculty lead.

About the Artist

Marlon F. Hall headshot
Photo: Payton Ruddock

Marlon F. Hall is an artist and anthropologist whose work is rooted in social practice and grown from anthropological listening. Marlon integrates community engagement and storytelling as a process for cultivating healing in communities that have experienced political, cultural or systemic trauma. As a renowned art-making storyteller, he has served as a Lecturing Fellow for Duke Divinity Leadership Education, an Artist-in-Residence for the Princeton Theological Seminary and the Visual Anthropologist and Social Media Archivist for the Greenwood Art Project. He was recently named a Fulbright Specialist by the U.S. Department of Educational and Cultural Affairs and a 2021 Tulsa Artist Fellow. Currently, Marlon is engaged in Cultural Amnesia Therapy in Tulsa where he is working with local creatives and community advocates to help communities rebuild after the 1921 Race Massacre. His latest project features one of his carefully curated Amnesia Therapy Salon Dinners in partnership with The British Council and The Kenya Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale. Through socially engaged art-installations, large-scale photography, ethnographic films shaped as visual poems and carefully designed salon dinners, his work focuses on revealing the resilient nature of the human spirit, using memory to inform imagination and helping communities reclaim their identity.



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The residency is presented in partnership with the Division of the Arts and the Art Department, with Faisal Abdu’Allah, Professor and Associate Dean of the Arts, as lead faculty. Residency co-sponsors are: First Wave/the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives, the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program and the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, and is jointly presented with the Mead Witter School of Music.