Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Artist Talk at MELS

I had the very special pleasure of being invited to do a guest artist talk about my work to a group of eighth grade students studying immigration in Forest Hills, Queens at the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School. Students had studied texts specific to their research and had interviewed local residents or relatives in order to decipher for themselves what being an immigrant in this country today is really like. I was not extraordinarily familiar with the specific texts so when asked to provide the students with a visual arts assignment, I went toward the route of what immigration meant to both my parents (mother from Nicaragua, and father from Italy) which, after the relocation became a lot about finding a sense of place and home within new grounds, and establishing those lasting memories.

In terms of my work, I showed them images from my series work in Time/Frame 1, 2, Heart of This Home 1, 2, Conversations With Dan McNulty 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and X (formerly known as Nonestica, and Tik Tok of Oz). I wanted to illuminate my story as a photographer who was born out of wanting a simple common ground with my father, an enthusiast photographer, after he had passed away-further progressing my sense of belonging and understanding of loss and reinvention of home.

After my artist talk with the students I asked each of them to draw from their memories of a time or a place in their lives that they felt most comfortable and safe, or experienced the most lasting memories. After they had completed their drawings I then explained that they would be taking an image of that same place with a digital camera. The concept was in finding the true origin of belonging and making it visible for the viewer. I believe that absolute truth comes from when what is completely inside of you meets what is completely outside of you.

The exhibition for the created works along with other classes instructed by the following artists will be on view at the Immigration Movement International (IMI) opening Friday March 23rd from 6:00 - 7:30 PM.

Program curated by and organized by Camilo Godoy.

Visiting Artists:

Andrew Bovasso (Photography/Video)
Tania Bruguera (Performance Art)
Rudolfo Diaz (Photography)
Kim Funk (Comics)
Camilo Godoy (Fine Arts/Photography)
Chris Slaughter (Spoken Word)
Aldrin Valdez (Collage/Painting)

The following are the created student works from my group:

About MELS

The Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School (MELS) is a public school in Queens which opened in September 2010 and currently serves grades 6‐8. Its curriculum is entirely interdisciplinary, and pivots around large grade‐wide projects that aim toward community action. Called “A School for a Sustainable City,” much of its work focuses on social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Recent projects include a multi‐disciplinary presentation in Greenpoint about the oil pollution of Newtown Creek and a partnership with Cooper Union’s engineering school and the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission around its “Green Taxis” initiative.