Enjoy these photos from my stroll around Harlem in January!
The wonderful story of the Anishinaabeg people is told in the exhibition Anishinaabeg: Art & Power at the Royal Ontario Museum. Using art to discuss cultural traditions and their knowledge, their art was deeply influenced by inter-communtiy relationships with other indigenous groups and the arrival of Europeans to Canada. Humans, their ancestors, nature, ceremony and supernatural beings known as spirits are depicted in the artwork. It was a true honor to see the work in person on this weekend to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day in America!
As a life long Bronx resident I am elated and proud to have curated an exhibition that celebrates my West Indian heritage. With the support of BXArts Factory and hosted by the Montefiore Fine Arts program ArtViews gallery, the exhibition is on view through early October at Montefiore Moses Campus, 90 East 210th St. Bronx, NY 10467.
The West Indian population of the Bronx, NY is 8% or 106,000 people from various islands lying between southeastern North America and northern South America bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic and comprising the Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles and Bahamas. The largest event in New York City that celebrates and honors Caribbean culture, arts, history and traditions is the West Indian American Day Carnival, which is comprised of week-long festivities and a grand finale. The grand finale Carnival reaches over one million people in attendance during Labor Day weekend with participants and tourists from all over the world.
Reflections: Celebrating 50 Years of the West Indian American Day Carnival celebrates and honors the history of the Caribbean carnival by reflecting on the West Indian population in the Bronx, NY and noting their impact and long-lasting influence on their community and NYC. Through the lens of 5 Bronx-based photographers, the vibrancy, tradition and impact of West Indian Americans are captured by the photographs on display. Artists Trevon Blondet, Ijeoma D. Iheanacho, Jonathan Joseph, Omesh Persaud and Harri “Indio” Ramkishun each take on a subtheme of inspiration from the West Indian community. Together the photographs share the energy and strength of the West Indian population and the groups influence to the political, economic and cultural vitality of the North Bronx.
For more information:
Community Action Day: I am Present
May 21, 2017 (3-5pm)
It will be a day to reflect, heal and act in support of our community. This day of action will bring together an amazing group of women artists that, with you, and other community members will bring action and attention to the many cases of missing black and brown girls in the Bronx and adjacent cities. We will use creativity to heal, express ourselves and be present with each other. We will have tables filled with art materials for artists and community members to work together. We will also have a table for children to create.
The Action Day will be videotaped to have an online resource for spreading the message and awareness in regards to our missing girls. Come be part of a collective wall of words and be part of this wonderful thoughtful day.
ABOUT THE EXHIBIT: “Hombres de Arcilla” (Men of Clay) showcases Alberto Villalobos’ collection of 43 hand-made clay masks. These masks honor the memory of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico. About his work, Villalobos says “for me, clay represents the fragility of life, yet the resilience of the human spirit. I hope that by giving faces to the disappeared, their memory may live on.”
Photo Credit: Barbara Reeley Graphic design: Meagan Van Ahn
1. Tell me about your process as an artist.
The first step of my process, I have an idea and develop it into a concept through brainstorming and thinking. Next, I practice techniques and skills on a surface. This could mean I’m playing around with color combinations using inks, or scribbling in various pens or even testing brushes on scraps of paper or canvas. Once I have practiced, I begin working. I don’t like to work using easels, so I simply lay my paper, canvas or panel flat on floor or table and work. As I’m working, my concept may change and that is perfectly fine. Often times, my work will come out completely different from what I had planned in my mind. If I begin to get frustrated, I will take a break and work on something else. My works of art are never truly finished, and often times I will return to a piece that I had worked on previously.
My process fluctuates between fluid and controlled. I feel as though I have a balance of both
2. Describe your artistic practice in three words.
My artistic practice can be described as therapeutic, fluid, and abstract.
3. Why do you make art?
I make art for several reasons. First, the physical act of making Art for me is at times relaxing and often a way to de-stress. Secondly, art is a way for me to organize my thoughts, or ideas and express them visually.
Like many others, I struggle to explain myself verbally at times and art allows for me to say what I need to say without having to actually say it. Lastly, I make art to stir up conversation. My art allows for an open dialogue between the viewer, myself and the work. I am very open to conversations about my work with anyone.
4. Where do you create art?
I feel most comfortable creating art where I can be alone. If I happen to find myself working around people, to give the illusion that I am alone I will play music as I work.
5. What does it mean to be an artist in the Bronx?
Being an artist in the Bronx and from the Bronx means being a part of the many creative communities here in New York. I feel very honored, and proud to be a practicing artist from the Bronx.
6. How can people get in touch with you and see more of your works?
People are more likely to get in touch with me and see more of my work through my email (Luisacalcano23@gmail.com), my instagram account (@marialuisaart).
7. Who is your greatest inspiration?
My inspiration for the work I do stems from my personal experiences, observations, and books that I have read. However, my greatest inspirations are people such my mentors, family, friends and significant other.