11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Join us in celebration of the Southeast Queens Biennial: A Locus of Moving Points, as we wind down this inaugural biennial exhibition with a series of FREE events.
Queens Borough Public Library, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, New York.
Directions: F to 169th Street.
York College Fine Arts Gallery, Academic Core, 94-20 Guy R Brewer Boulevard, Jamaica, New York. Enter on Liberty Avenue.
Directions: F to Parsons; E, J, Z to Jamaica Center; LIRR to Jamaica Station.
11am – 4pm: Wikipedia-Edit-A-Thon with Black Lunch Table, Queens Borough Public Library
The day kicks off at the Queens Borough Public Library with a Wikipedia edit-a-thon focusing on underecognized and underrepresented Southeast Queens artists and cultural producers. Participants are invited to bring a laptop and a friend! Don’t have a laptop? No problem. The library has Dell laptop computers available on site. A training session will be held at the beginning, and help is available throughout the event. BLT encourages new editors to create their own Wiki account in advance. A BLT photographer member will be available to shoot visitors’ portraits for the open source Wikimedia Commons that may be used for your current or future Wikipedia page. Capacity is limited to 25. For full details and to register by Friday, April 20, click here.
1pm – 2pm: Artist Talk, Queens Borough Public Library
On view at the Library is Notations in Passing, an exhibition that intersperses photographs of everyday life in Southeast Queens with artworks that investigate the interconnectedness of quotidian life, the global economy, environmental crises, and race-based oppression within African and Caribbean diasporas. Join exhibiting artists Salimah Ali, Ify Chiejina and Rejin Leys in conversation with co-curators Rebecca Pristoop and Niama Safia Sandy as they unpack the thematic connections that unite the photographers, painters and mixed media artists in the group show.
2:30pm: Elizabeth Velazquez performance, York College Fine Arts Gallery
Elizabeth Velazquez will perform amid her outdoor installations Vortex, large black “voids” commissioned for the Biennial that are installed at three cemeteries: Prospect Cemetery, Methodist Cemetery (founded in the mid-1800s) and St. Monica’s Cemetery (c.1856), commercial properties purchased by York College in the 1970s. The performance pays homage to the indigenous populations who originally stewarded the land, the Europeans who settled, industrialized and developed the land, and the people interred there.
3pm – 5pm: Music with DJ Tam Jams, York College Fine Arts Gallery
DJ Tam Jams is a life long Queens resident, Hip Hop Aficionado and the owner/operator of Tam Jams Enterprises. She will set the tone and mood with Hip Hop selections from her Essential Jamaica Queens Mix Tape. Food and beverages will be served.
3:30-5pm: Workshops with artists Odathrowback and Okechukwu Okegrass Ofiaeli, York College Fine Arts Gallery. Odathrowback invites visitors to help him develop a 12 x 6-foot portrait of Southeast Queens, made in part of textiles donated by the York College community, Southeast Queens residents, and visitors to the Gallery. The artist will lead a fabric wrapping workshop to cover 333 wooden tiles needed to complete the portrait. Examples of wrapped tiles are on view at the Gallery along with a sketch that represents the piece that will be permanently installed at York College with a plaque listing the names of all contributors. Visitors are invited to bring and donate a piece of clothing or fabric! Okechukwu Ofiaeli will work with visitors to construct and take home small sculptures made out of fallen Sycamore trees and paint. All ages are welcome.
About The Black Lunch Table
Currently, 85% of Wikipedia editors are male and 77% of Wikipedia editors are white. The Wikipedia edit-a-thons The Black Lunch Table (BLT) stages mobilize a collective authoring of a specific set of articles (most often those pertaining to the lives and works of black artists). BLT reserves space to encourage more editors of color, more women editors and a space for white male editors to focus on a subject that might otherwise slip through historical gaps.
About Elizabeth Velazquez
Elizabeth Velazquez is a mixed media artist and educator whose practice encompasses sculpture, large scale installation, works on paper, and performance. Throughout her childhood, superstition and religion blended together and this is often reflected in her work. As a child, Elizabeth attended a Spanish-speaking Pentecostal church where people from different Latin American countries shared their beliefs and customs. Church exposed her to music with traditional instruments (such as the conga, bongo, and maracas) as well as people singing, praising, testifying, and dancing in the holy spirit, emphatic sermons, and different Latin American foods. Though Elizabeth does not practice a religion, she does have reverence for nature and earth.
Odathrowback is a carpenter, sculptor and set designer who mines the creative potential of industrial design to produce art objects that pay homage to individuals, events, and groups of people. His art practice emerged during the recession in the early 2000s when contract work was sparse and he found himself experimenting with discarded materials from previous jobs. Over time Odathrowback developed a technique of replicating three industrial patterns: brick laying, cinder blocks, and rocks into large-scale wall mounted sculptures. For the Biennial, the artist has been commissioned to create a community portrait that expands on DNA, a piece he made in 2013 out of denim jeans collected from family members. The title poetically connects the notion of a group portrait with the structure of a wall made of bricks to reference a unified body.
About Okechukwu Okegrass Ofiaeli
Okechukwu Okegrass Ofiaeli is a self-taught artist, educator, and environmentalist, whose entrepreneurial project Waste to Wealth (1980s-present) leverages the power of collective art making to provide eco-friendly alternatives for making money off discarded land. The project emerged as a response to bush burning, a practice that has devastated many parts of Nigeria, depriving the soil of nutrients and causing mass erosion. To implement each project, the artist sets up looms and teaches individuals how to weave and sell hats, handbags, and briefcases made of elephant grass. Ofiaeli oversees the selling of these products, returning the money to the communities that make the goods. He first brought a version of this project to Southeast Queens in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, inviting residents to make art objects and usable goods from uprooted sycamore trees.
About DJ Tam Jams
DJ Tam Jams is a lifelong Queens resident, Hip Hop Aficionado and the owner/operator of Tam Jams Enterprises. She is known in the Southeast Queens community as the DJ for any age group, cultural background or nationality, be it children, senior citizens, elected officials, or non-profit organizations. She has spent most of her life emerged in Hip Hop culture, and gives voice to this cultural movement by educating about Hip Hop’s root values and the artists, producers, DJs and others who have shaped and continue to define the movement.
The inaugural Southeast Queens Biennial: A Locus of Moving Points is curated by the 2017 NLE Curatorial Lab: Sarah Fritchey, Corrine Y. Gordon, Rebecca Pristoop, Niama Safia Sandy, and Anastasia Tuazon, and is organized in partnership with York College Fine Arts Gallery CUNY and Queens Library.
The 2017/2018 NLE Curatorial Lab is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel of North America.
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