PROGRAMS

Public Programs
Exhibition Program
Aljira Emerge
emergeNEXT
Bending the Grid
Culture Creators

Public Programs

Saturday, July 30, 2016, 2-4pm:
Join us for artist Kwesi Abbensetts and guest curator Grace Aneiza Ali in conversation PLUS a screening of the short film, The Seawall by filmmaker Mason Richards

New York-based artist Kwesi Abbensetts will present a talk on the use of his personal photographs of Guyana and his creative process to create the new mixed-media work, Pieces of Land, From Where I Have Come, 2016 for the exhibition Un|Fixed Homeland. He will join guest curator, Grace Aneiza Ali for a conversation on the exhibition’s larger themes of how artists unpack the global realities of migration, tease out symbols of decay and loss, and explore the experiences of displacement and dislocation.

The event will also include a special screening of the award-winning short film, The Seawall by Guyanese-born filmmaker Mason Richards who will be joining the conversation from Los Angeles via Skype. The Seawall, an official selection for the Cannes Film Festival-Court Mertrage (2011), is a moving and gorgeous film that tells a universal story of a young boy about to embark on an odyssey from his familiar home in Guyana to a new life in Brooklyn. It’s an immigrant’s tale, and a journey made by the filmmaker himself.

KWESI ABBENSETTS is a New York-based photographer who hails from the Corentyne coast of Guyana. He moved to the United States in 1995. Portraiture has been Abbensetts’ main photographic foundation as he’s always found fascination in the human figure and its various states. His photography stands firmly within the modern contemporary aesthetic and is enhanced by his West Indian origins—the colors, the sun, and the vibrancy. He is a 2016 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Photography. Abbensetts’ work has been included in exhibitions at Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Baltimore (2011); African & African-Caribbean Design Diaspora Festival, London (2011); Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, Newark (2009); Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, New York (2010); and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York (2010). spaceshipgeorge.com

GRACE ANEIZA ALI is an independent curator, faculty member in the Department of Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and Editorial Director of OF NOTE—an award-winning online magazine on art and activism. Her essays on contemporary art and photography have been published in Nueva Luz Journal, Small Axe Journal, among others. In 2014, she received an Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Curatorial Fellowship. Highlights of her curatorial work include Guest Curator for the 2014 Addis Foto Fest; Guest Curator of the Fall 2013 Nueva Luz Photographic Journal; and Host of the ‘Visually Speaking’ photojournalism series at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center. Ali is a World Economic Forum ‘Global Shaper’ and Fulbright Scholar. She holds an M.A. in Africana Studies from New York University and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park. graceali.com

MASON RICHARDS is a writer/director born in Georgetown, Guyana and emigrated to Brooklyn with his family at age 7, where he spent most of his youth. Mason studied English and Human Development at Vanderbilt University and after working in film industry in Hollywood he decided to pursue his Masters in Film as a way to tell stories in Hollywood that often get overlooked. Mason now holds and MFA in Film Directing from Cal Arts where he made his thesis film The Seawall, shot entirely on location in Guyana, South America. He is currently in pre-production of The Seawall feature film—an adaptation of his award-winning short film The Seawall which was an official selection for the Cannes Film Festival-Court Mertrage (2011), the Havana International Film Festival in Cuba (2014), and has screened at festivals in the UK, Toronto, and throughout Caribbean, including the Trinidad &Tobago Film Festival (2014). Mason splits his time between New York City and Los Angeles.

Images at left, top to bottom:
1. Kwesi Abbensetts. “My Dreams Talk About A Place” (left) and “You Booked Your Passage” (right) from the series “Pieces of Land, From Where I Have Come From,” 2016. Mixed media, painting, and photography on canvas. 8 x 10 in. Courtesy of the artist.
2. Artist Kwesi Abbensetts.
3. Curator Grace Aneiza Ali.
4. Filmmaker Mason Richards.

back to top

unfixedprogram

Exhibition Program

At Aljira’s core is the exhibition of the work of emerging and under-represented artists. This includes the promotion of art perceived as problematic by mainstream institutions.

back to top

Aljira Emerge

Aljira Emerge is a strategic career management and exhibition program for emerging artists. Under the tutelage of experienced artists and professional coaches, Emerge artists learn how to manage their careers as arts professionals and develop a personal strategic plan. The program is designed to provide emerging artists with the resources to overcome obstacles, focus on goals, and move forward in their creative careers. Aljira Emerge attempts to address practical areas of concern to artists, such as curatorial practice, legal and financial issues, gallery representation, exhibition and public art opportunities, and marketing. The program culminates with a group exhibition and fully illustrated catalog.

Click Here for More Information

back to top

image spacerAljira Emerge

emergeNEXT

EmergeNEXT is an initiative to continue engaging with Emerge (link to Emerge page) fellows by offering advanced professional development opportunities, continued career guidance and solo project space to Emerge fellows further along in their careers. The EmergeNEXT exhibition opportunity is conceptualized as a project room without a formal curatorial role and serves to recognize and showcase the progress and development of Emerge fellows as artists.

back to top

Bending the Grid

Inaugurated in 2003, Bending the Grid is a series of exhibitions committed to the work of artists of diverse backgrounds over the age of 60, with successful careers spanning several decades, who somehow continue to be underacknowledged. Although the work of the featured artists often is grounded in formal concerns, the series focuses on the way each individual artist subverts or adapts these traditions to his or her own purpose.

The artists included in the Bending the Grid series to date are Frank Bowling, Judith K. Brodsky, Donald Locke, Miriam Beerman and Helen M. Stummer.

back to top

image spacerFrank Bowling
 

Culture Creators

Culture Creators is an innovative program that provides an opportunity for teens to build literacy, analytical and interpersonal skills while gaining a firsthand perspective on what it means to have a career as an artist or curator. Through the years, hundreds of teens from Newark and neighboring communities have come to Aljira to learn, in art-making Culture Creators workshops and meetings with artists, curators and educators, gaining invaluable analytical and communication skills that have helped to reinforce their classroom education.

back to top

image spacerCulture Creators