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Friday evening, the National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) will conclude National YoungArts Week 2019 with the opening of the Design Arts, Photography and Visual Arts exhibition featuring works by 41 of the most promising artists from around the country. Entitled “Infinite Possibilities,” the exhibition, curated by Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator Founder Rosie Gordon Wallace, promises to leave visitors feeling hopeful and inspired at the start of a new year.

Over the past week, YoungArts—an organization established in 1981 to identify and nurture the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts—has welcomed 159 students to participate in its signature weeklong intensive program. Over the course of six days, students working across 10 disciplines presented their work to the public and attended master classes with artists such as Tony Award-winning actress Karen Olivo, singer and songwriter Betty Wright, prolific choreographer Camille A. Brown, interdisciplinary designers The Haas Brothers and visual artist Yashua Klos.

Friday’s exhibition opening will give attendees the opportunity to meet each of the exhibiting artists. While some of their works deal with uncomfortable, and even painful, themes, and others confront current affairs head on, they all reflect a hopeful spirit and serve as a testament to the power of the artist’s voice. Wallace chose to focus on this uplifting and empowering message, and of the ability in these works to incite change within their communities. The artists featured in the exhibition represent a variety of cultural backgrounds spanning the globe. In this exhibition, their voices are being heard clearly.

One such artist is 18-year-old Aisha Mpiana. Born in Zambia, Mpiana allowed her immigrant experience to inform both the content and aesthetic of her work. Elements of texture, pattern and symbolism celebrate the heritage that Mpiana once rejected. “The whole process of accepting my culture was very hard, not only for me but for my family as well,” Mpiana says. “I wanted to make my work so that a viewer can see it and know that their culture is beautiful, everything about them is beautiful and there’s no reason to despise yourself and that part of yourself.”

Jamaican native and YoungArts Visual Arts Finalist Njari Anderson also learned to embrace his experience as a young immigrant through art. Reflecting on memories of his boyhood, his work utilizes materiality to communicate themes of identity and nostalgia. The heavy layering of fabric allows the viewer to visually perceive the weight and complexity of his intersectionality as an artist, a young Black man, an immigrant and a son. “The works detail stories from my personal life about being African American, or being an immigrant or the struggle between trying to find a portion of yourself that can sustain you but also be enough to sustain what your family hopes for you to be,” Anderson says. “As an artist, and especially being an immigrant, there are a lot of expectations. [My family] struggled to get here…you’re going to throw that away? Throw all of their struggle away to go chase something that isn’t defined?”

Anderson’s work is, as its essence, an extension of himself and his experiences. “I think that’s where my work really culminates and all of these layers combine into one tangible and visual piece that communicates.”

Photographer Yemazen “Honé” Sellassie is captivated by processes on every scale. “I’m mainly film based, so you have the whole process—you develop the film, you make the photo—but then what else?” Sellassie asks. “Instead of putting it in a gallery right then or showing it to a classmate or showing it to a teacher, I’m going to keep going with it.”

Utilizing experimental film techniques, Sellassie’s work investigates the Black narrative through nature, loss and self-discovery, often drawing inspiration from their younger brother’s

experience as a Black boy. “There are a lot of other photographers of other races that come in and try to photograph but they don’t know me and they don’t know my people and they don’t understand,” Sellassie says. “And they definitely don’t understand what it’s like to be a minority in poverty; that’s a whole other level.”

Also working in an experimental medium is Daniel Narvaez. A proud Puerto Rican, Narvaez discovered his medium of choice by chance. “My specialty is paper cut light boxes and I first stumbled upon the medium when I was scrolling through Instagram,” Narvaez shares. “I found these two artists, their names are Hari & Deepti. I was very interested in it so I gave it a try.” Narvaez’s four paper cut light boxes are a commemoration of his four years in high school and a dedication to the influential individuals he encountered along the way. Thinking of his YoungArts experience in Miami, Narvaez adds, “I feel welcomed here. I do not feel like I am the only one anymore. There are artists all around me now and that really took me back to a place that I missed.”

Meet the 2019 YoungArts Finalists in Design Arts, Photography and Visual Arts at the opening reception of “Infinite Possibilities” on Friday, January 11, at 7.30 pm at YoungArts, 2100 Biscayne Boulevard. The exhibition will be on view in the YoungArts Gallery and Jewel Box until February 3, 2019.

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Cultural Exchanges as emancipatory practices.
Exchanges, internationalism, and partnerships as education.
Alix Pierre, Ph.D, Marie Léticé, Simone Pierre and Rosie Gordon-Wallace
 
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Caribbean Crossroads 2017-2018

Jamilah Sabur, BFA, MFA : My Queen before you go Tell my horse. | Maggie Knox Gallery

10/03/2017 – 10/31/2017

Jamilah Sabur is a Cannonball 2017 Wave Runner awardee and local artist whose work references the colonial system in the Caribbean and the continued practice of the super-natural in the daily lives of working class folks. The hidden practice of the middle-class and the devout beliefs of the well to do. This installation is an experimental piece worked on with DVCAI in 2015-16 and will be exhibited in Miami and Jamaica. it responds to the dysfunctional global mechanisms that helped create the noxiuos breeding ground for Jamaica’s looming economic and environmental crisis. Performing as a traditional Obeah priestess, Sabur summons the spirit of Michael Manley, the former prime minister of Jamaica, is a globally recognized revolutionary figure, a leader in the fight against economic inequality across the developing Caribbean landscape. Sabur looks at the IMF practices and the World Bank’s roll in destabiliztion of Caribbean countries.

Jamilah Sabur, works has been featured at MOCA, MACLA and The Fort Lauderdale Museum and DVCAI. She is a 2006 Silver Knight winner. Her art has been noted in many publications New York Chronicle, The Miami Herald, Elisa Turner, The Miami Rail and Art Blogs. 


Gloria Rolando, Film maker. Breaking the Silence | “O” Cinema

11/03/2017 -11/04/2017 – 11/05/2017

Gloria Roland, born in Havana, Cuba began her film career as a film maker in 1976 when she graduated in Art History at the University of Havana.She has worked with the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) where she transitioned to film-making and started making documentaries and features. Her work focuses on the African Diaspora History and Culture in the Caribbean. Some of her best known films are Oggun: An Eternal Presenceabout Cuban Youuba singer Lazaro Ros.. She is the founding member of Imagines del Caribe, an independent film collective.

1912, Breaking the Silence | Three part documenary on the tragedy. In partnership with the Anthropology Department and Caribbean Graduate Studies, “O” Cinema and Latin American Campus at MDC. DVCAI will host the student Breakfast series with Gloria Rolando.


Rosa Naday Garmendia: Rituals of Commemoration Stone Mountain Gallery | Liberty City.

11/05/17 – 12/18/17

Curated by Peter Mintz, Space One Eleven & Rosie Gordon-Wallace.

Rosa Naday Garmendia is a socially engaged multi disciplinary artist whose work is rooted in social issues, who belives that creativity, activism and social change go hand in hand. Garmendia will have a residency in Alabama, in Sepember 2017, she will create a video project as well as build a wall on injustice. She is a finalist to the Sante Fe Residency, where she will explore issues of social injustice, policing, surveillance technologies, colonzation, power and immigration while embracing interdisciplinary and exploratory practices. She is a teaching artist at the Perez Art Museum Miami.

Co-sponored by the Miami Workers Center and Miami Dream Defenders.


Art Basel Betsy Hotel Salons

Dec 4-7

Erman Gonzalez and Sarah MK Moody | share the artworks created during one month residencies | DVCAI

Curated by Leslie Hammond and DVCAI.


Onajide Shabaka -Dirt Yuta suelo Udungo Te

01/16/18 –  3/27/18

“Dirt is not Dirt, only matter in the wrong place”. says Shabaka post Suriname residency in Moengo. Shabaka looks at his cultural practice through his DVCAI sponsored travels to Suriname (2016), San Miguel, Mexico ( 2014), Minnesota (2000) and the Everglades National Park (2016). He looks at African Atlantic and In digenous Mesoamerican diaspora. Shabaka belives Dirt is a sacred and secretive materialthat has been creatively implemented in a variety of contexts secretive. The exhibition is an opportunity to sew new seeds in the cultural mapping and memory of DIRT. Jide will document his work using photograpy and mixed media objects. His catalog on his reaserch will be completed and offered for sale on the website.


Nadine Natalie Hall, BFA, Edna Manley College | Bird Road Art Studio

4/16/2018 – 06/16/18.

Artist in Residence | Miami

Her installations will be created on site and will explore the concept of heirlooms. In DVCAI studio for two months. Natalie is a textile artist whose practice looks at the heirloom left to family members. She will create large images and install them | Artist’s talks. 

May | June | July — Last Sunday of each Month.


Caribbean Tea Series.

 5/28/18 / 6/25/18 /  7/30/18

Caribbean Tea Series | Not Just another Tea Party.

The Tea project encourages a new and young and diverse group of guests to think of themselves as supporters of contemporary art. DVCAI arranges Caribbean Tea in collaboration with artists talks around the ritual of Global Teas. Some will create engaging personalized works of art using tea stain as paint – from traditional to the very untraditional. Artists Keisha AbrahamsJulie Mansfield and Lauren Shapiro will share with us their unique rituals and relationships with tea.These teas attact 60 plus attendees and are extremely popular. Held in the past at PAMM, The Biltmore and Serendip~a~Tea.They become fundraisers creating a new base of supporters for DVCAI. This is a new fun model on how an institution can support it’s city artists in ways that is fun, distinctive and sustainable. 


Anna Meier, MFA / UM Sculpture

07/29/18 – 8/26/18 – 9/30/18

Food in Clay | Community Food Program

Anna will conduct her “potters for food ” project where she will exchange hand made pottery (cups) during the ritual of dinners. Dinners will be held in different communities in which Anna has worked during her MFA studies at UM. Liberty City; Little Haiti; North Dade. 


Sharon Norwood, MFA 

Root of the Matter X1, 2016

08/07/18 – 09/28/18

Sharon is an artist of Canadian & Jamaican ancestry whose work spans several media including painting and ceramic. Norwood attended the University of  South Florida where she obtained a BFA in painting. She has exhibited internationally in Canada, the United States and Jamaica. Juried into the Jamaica 2017 Biennial and the 2016 Atlanta Biennale and emerging artists recognition at the 2016 Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of Arts. Her body of work explores perception of race and identity via the politics of hair. Sharon is a 2018 MFA student at FSU.

Artist in Residence | Sheena Rose – August 2018

DVCAI & Fountainhead Studios