Aja Monet Bacquie
Negro SpiriTTuals is the debut music project by Love Riott: a music/poetry duo of Miami artists Aja Monet & Umi Selah in collaboration with Smoke Signals Studio based in Little Haiti, Miami.
Negro Spirituals are closely linked to the history of African Americans in this country. The lyrics were intimately connected to the lives of their authors: black slaves imagining a free future. Then and now, these songs hold an incredible resonant power.
Keisha Rae Witherspoon
T is a film that follows three participants of the 50th Annual Black T Ball in which community members of one of Miami’s most violent inner city zones assemble to model wildly innovative “R.I.P.” T-shirts designed to honor their deceased loved ones. Set in a dystopian, mega-surveilled Miami 40 years into the future, T is a meditation on the absurd, foundational culture of death and destruction that is sadly widely accepted in Miami’s black inner city, a condition which parallels with our drowning city. This short whirlwind of surveillance drones, absurd costuming and the increasing threat of heightened racial violence tugs on the futurism of Mad Max, parodied racial themes of Bamboozled and the dark satire and aesthetic of Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb… all set in Liberty City.
Tabloid: Decolonial Aesthetics
It is hardly surprising—but not because of this excusable—that in a city squeezed between luxury condos and art fairs, there is a dearth of discourse around what seems to me the most important task we face in light of both climate change and the reassertion of white supremacy in the social sphere: a decolonization of our of thinking and our practices. It is the glaring absence of this discourse in Miami, along with the new political landscape we find ourselves in, that determines the motivation behind the proposal to generate, over the next year, four tabloids (quarterly) to be freely distributed at different culturally-related sites (galleries, museums), activist locations, and universities. The tabloids will include original scholarship on decolonial aesthetics from the leading thinkers in the field, as well as material on the practices of Indigenous artists throughout the Americas. The impact of such a project will be to render more robust, dynamic, and diverse the critical conversations in the city and, by extension, have an impact of local cultural production and pedagogical practices (and perhaps even further afield).
Animals with tails do not jump over fire
"Animals with tails do not jump over fire" is a feature length experimental film exploring the U.S. occupations of Haiti including the current Brazilian led U.S. backed UN (MINUSTAH) operation. The recent exodus of Haitians from Brazil, has magnified the acceptance of deplorable exploitation and modern day slavery as part of the workings of globalization. Haitians have lived under decades of brutal U.S. backed dictatorships. This, and their race, lands Haitians deep in what Frantz Fanon's called the "zone of non-being." It is important to recognize degrees of racial privilege even among oppressed groups, and call attention to the rights that are lost by those shoved deeper into the zone of non-being. The piece is to be filmed in three temporal stages (1805, 1915-1935, and present day 2017), I will assemble a narrative using Susan Buck-Morss' "Hegel and Haiti" as a guide, and the lead character will be performed by a Haitian refugee who made the gruesome 7,000 mile journey from Brazil to the U.S. - whom I've been in communication with over the past 2 months.
The Cuba Project
Research and Development/Implementation
The Cuba Project (tentatively titled) is a platform for artists, curators and scholars about art from Cuba and the Cuban diaspora. Organized by independent curator/producer Susan Caraballo, it will engage numerous institutions ranging from museums and arts organizations to galleries and artist-run spaces across South Florida including ArtCenter/South Florida, Diana Lowenstein Gallery, Dimensions Variable, Fountainhead Studios, Pan American Art Projects, Perez Art Museum Miami, the Screening Room, among others.
Research and Development/Implementation
As Miami’s arts scene matures, we are faced with challenges of sustainability, discovery and local impact. While more Miami artists find success on the national and global stage, the city remains a difficult community for mid-career local artists to grow in their craft. How might we attract new local collectors to support these artists, build more art around Miami’s culture, and ultimately build a more sustainable arts community?
Commissioner will offer a quarterly subscription to small-scale, limited-edition artworks from mid-career Miami artists and experiential programming around our city’s artists, art, and culture. The series will provide a much-needed art commissioning and cultivation platform for local artists and inspire new Miamians to take an active role as patrons in the community.
DAYLITE is a 360-degree virtual reality art piece that is based in a hyper-saturated world. Aesthetically, the artificial environment will be constructed and conceptualized by my paintings, sculptures, and installations that address contemporary human’s dependency on technology. This experience will blend motion activated soundscapes that modify and react as the user moves through the virtual space. Three-dimensional footage will be captured of people performing with my interactive sculptures and the player will be pulled in and out of a narrative that questions dystopia digital integrated life with computer generated ideals.
Since 2009, Dimensions Variable has been inviting local and international artists to produce solo projects in Miami as well as curating projects outside its exhibition space. DV is interested in supporting experimental practices and ideas as a way to contribute additional dialogue within Miami. The belief that more opportunities should be available to artists and audience outside conventional art world platforms is important. Independent spaces like DV are often the breeding ground for new innovative work by emerging artists that lead to greater opportunities. These activities make up part of the foundation of any dynamic cultural city.
Port to Port
Research and Development/Implementation
Dwelling Projects is an itinerant residency program that develops opportunities for Miami-based practitioners to travel to Latin America and the Caribbean using Miami’s existing and historical trade routes and transient space, supporting exchange between both sites.
EXILE BOOKS/ Amanda Keeley
Activating the Miami Zine Fair with Art & Identity
On Saturday April 22, 2017, EXILE Books will produce their annual Miami Zine Fair in partnership with University of Miami’s Special Collections and O, Miami Poetry Festival at the Lowe Art Museum. The Miami Zine Fair features over 120 local artists, writers, publishers, and activists gathered together on the University of Miami campus, with an educational symposium hosted by the Special Collections department. With the support of the Wavemaker Grant, we will include five activations in conjunction with the Zine Fair featuring local and visiting artist’s and writer’s public arts interventions as well as participatory projects such as zine stations and workshops, performances, live printing and demonstrations.
YáLE Club Social
Themed as a Mexican cantina, YáLE Club Social is an artist-founded alternative exhibition space created by the Miami-based artist Justin H. Long and located in the burgeoning creative cluster of Little Haiti. Humorously responding to the elitist tone of an Ivy League school, YáLE is uniquely positioned as a platform for creatives including artists, gallerists, musicians and those who are self-taught to exhibit work in an experimental, supportive space. With only 250 square feet, since its inception in February of 2016 YáLE has solidified itself as a creative hub and peer environment, in response to the sudden populating of galleries, artist studios and alternative spaces cropping up in Miami’s upper east side. In 2017 YáLE will expand its operations to embrace support for alternative education and create longevity and support for the creative community by offering stipends to exhibiting artists.