Ann Lewis is a multidisciplinary activist artist using painting, installation, and participatory performance to explore themes related to American identity, power structures, and justice. In early 2014 the artist garnered national media attention when she installed an oversized police tape banner that read ‘GENTRIFICATION IN PROGRESS’ at the former graffiti mecca 5 Pointz in Queens, New York. Her work was exhibited in the White House in the fall of 2015 during the Obama Administration. In early 2017 her work was acquired by the New York Historical Society Museum. Since receiving her bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, her art has been reviewed in Blouin Art Info, Hyperallergic, Brooklyn Street Art, Huffington Post, Le Monde, and The New York Times. She has exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the US and abroad including shows at Petzel Gallery in New York, Seyhoun Gallery in Tehran, Iran, and Truth to Power during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Lewis has lectured at PACE University as well as CAA, and is a teaching artist with the Young New Yorkers. She has recently been selected for the Equal Justice Residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute during the 2017-18 season. Through community organizing, participatory performance events, murals, uncommissioned street work, gallery installations, and curatorial projects she continues her dialog of mindful and social evolution.
Ato Ribeiro (b. 1989) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but spent the formative years of his life in Accra, Ghana. He received his B.A. from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and has worked in a variety of media, including sculpture, installation art, drawing and printmaking. His work has been exhibited at venues such as the Nubuke Foundation (Accra, Ghana), ABSA Gallery (Johannesburg, South Africa), the Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Headquarters (Farmington Hills, Michigan), The Ink Shop (Ithaca, New York), Agnes Scott College Dalton Gallery (Atlanta, Georgia), and most recently at the Cranbrook Art Museum (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan), The Carr Center (Detroit, Michigan), Detroit Artist Market Gallery (Detroit, Michigan), the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art (Detroit, Michigan), the Next Step Studios and Gallery (Ferndale, Michigan) and Anastasia Tinari Projects (Chicago, Illinois). Ribeiro recently completed his M.F.A. in Print Media from Cranbrook Academy of Art and is currently a 2017 Summer Fellow at the Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan.
Confluence Collective creates Random Acts of Art at the intersection of community transformation, climate, and civil rights. Founded in late 2016 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Confluence convenes art practitioners and curators to co-conceptualize socially-engaged public space projects that extend into the community in urgent ways. We embrace visual, sound, multimedia, choral, film, body, literary, spoken word, theatrical arts to wake-up and shake-up our still somnolent world regarding environmental justice and civil rights; New Mexico’s energy sacrifice zones; the climate crisis; the sixth great extinction; and planet earth careening into oblivion with current fossil fuel and large-scale agriculture practices. We are gathering as alchemists to creatively transform in a positive manner, the texture of civic dialog. Nonviolence in image, word, and movement guides the creative drama of our investigatory approach to art, as we strive to grow the environmental movement. Confluence is guided by the principle that no people should sacrifice their health or wellbeing for the sake of under-regulated, inappropriately located, or climate-ignorant industrial development. We envision a 100% environmentally safe and habitable world for generations to come, and the consciousness required for a nonviolent/nontoxic world. The time for fossil fuels is over. The time for renewable energy is now. Confluence Collective core members participating in the Equal Justice residency include: Ahní Rocheleau (founder), Mayumi Nishida, Alicia Marie Da Silva Rencountre, Bobbe Besold, and Cate Cabot, all involved in visual and performance art. Confluence is the flowing together of separated energies, a merging force reconnecting humanity with biotic communities.
Dafni Kalafati / Greece Fulbright Fellow
Dafni is a freelance documentary filmmaker and art therapist, based in Athens Greece. She was born in her homeland at the beginning of the eighties. She studied Intercultural Education and Photography and then followed a master’s degree in art therapy, in the school of fine arts of Buenos Aires, in Argentina. There she worked for several years in the public mental institution «Borda» as an art therapist using the new media (video and photography) as therapeutic tools. Her love for social action and the arts made her engaged in documentary film making and since then she has travelled to some of the most remote parts of the planet together with her video camera filming documentaries and teaching photography and art . Among others, she has filmed documentaries with the indigenous tribes of the Amazon basin and with the street children of the big Argentinian metropolis of Buenos Aires, travelled with a group of scientists through Africa’s East Coast in search of traditional ways to preserve solar and wind energy, she has followed the truck drivers in their arduous journey from Tajikistan to China through the Pamir Highway and captured the Greek sponge divers diving in depths of over 50 m in the Aegean Sea in their search for sponges. Nowadays she lives in Athens where she splits her time between conducting Art Therapy and Participatory Video workshops and developing her personal documentary projects. Since 2008 she has founded the N.G.O. AMAKA which runs various programs of social help through the Arts catering for underprivileged urban groups. Whatever free time remains, she likes to spend it on the mountains.
Darice Polo was born in New York City and studied drawing and painting at SUNY, Albany (MFA) and the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan (BFA). Polo is a 2016 recipient of a Creative Workforce Fellowship awarded by the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and a 2015 recipient of a Puffin Foundation Grant; both in support of her independent film, A Wise Latina Woman. Polo was one of nine artists responding to Trump’s first 100 days as president in the highly anticipated exhibition The First 100+ Days at Spaces Gallery in Cleveland. Two of her large-scale drawings (each almost eight feet long) included the text as represented in their titles “Immigration Mass Deportation” and “Resist Agent Orange.” Steven Litt of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote in his review, “The real marvel of the drawings is that Polo has drawn each razor sharp letter with infinitesimally subtle shading that lends power, intensity and presence to the words.” In 2016 her work was included in the exhibition Latino Art of the Midwest: Into the 21st Century at the University of Dayton. She has had solo exhibitions at West Virginia University in Morgantown; William Busta Gallery, Raw & Co Gallery and Some Time Gallery in Cleveland; and has exhibited throughout the U.S.—New York, San Francisco, Sacramento, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Antonio, and at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez. Polo is an Associate Professor of drawing and painting at Kent State University’s School of Art.
Deborah Koenker is a Vancouver based artist with interests in writing and curating. Her years as Associate Professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design have been an integral component of her art practice. A founding member of Malaspina Print Society, she served as first Director of Malaspina Print Workshop, a cooperative artist studio now in its 5th decade. Koenker utilizes print, drawing, photography and textile in mixed media installations investigating current interests in borders, globalization, migration/immigration and social justice. Her work, represented in more than twenty-five public collections in the US and Canada, has been exhibited in Canada, Mexico, Spain and the USA. In 2016 Koenker completed a solo exhibition at the Kelowna Art Gallery on migrant Mexican farmworkers, and a residency/exhibition for the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, a collaborative project with Karen Kazmer aka Volcano Collective.
Feminist Art Museum
The Feminist Art Museum (FAM) secures space for women (women-identified and gender non-binary people) in contemporary art. Conceived of by Toronto based curators Xenia Benivolski and Su-Ying Lee, the project is currently in the research and development phase. We are prioritizing feminist spatial practices that take responsibility to the land into account and will be foundational to our approach in working with organizations and artists to produce exhibitions, discursive events and land-based art. Rather than occupying a building, constituent art organizations across Canada come together as FAM. This allows us to avoid gentrification, and deeply consider the implications of taking up space on colonized land. FAM has an objective to produce land-art projects. The Feminist Art Museum is committed to contemporary art and its discourses with the historic, current and developing social situation of women (woman-identified and gender non-binary people) at the fore. Feminists undertake the governance, operations, curation and directorship. It is an intersectional, inclusionary organization. As such, within museum, gallery and art organizational structures we will foreground the voices and contributions of individuals with group identities that have been historically excluded, underrepresented, underserved or who have experienced inequitable access to privileges or benefits available to others. Xenia Benivolski is the founder of several collective art spaces, an international artist-in-residency program and sits on the curatorial committee for the 2017 Beijing Biennale. Su-Ying Lee is an independent curator. She has worked in a curatorial capacity in Canadian institutions and curated exhibitions across Canada and in Hong Kong.
Fran is an artist, disability activist, curator and designer with expertise in universal design and the creation of accessible exhibitions and spaces. She graduated from Reading University with a BA (Hons) in Typography & Graphic Communication, and worked as a freelance designer and educator in London, before moving to California in 2008, where she completed her masters in Museum Studies from San Francisco State University. Fran was born into a farming family and her ties to agriculture continue to inform her artistic practice within the landscape of the USA. In 2015 she curated two exhibitions and three evening events for the disability community in the bay area. DIS/PLAY at SOMArts in San Francisco featured work by more than 35 artists with and without disabilities and ‘Patient No More’ in Berkeley and San Francisco featured 40 oral histories and a historic civil rights sit-in and victory from 1977. Fran has taught and mentored graduate level students and created workshops for a range of underserved communities. She was a 2016/17 fellow at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, grappling with the question, ‘What does equity look like?’ and delivered a presentation called ‘Taking The Common Ground’ at the UCLA conference ‘Disability As Spectacle’ in April 2017. As an independent consultant she is also creating art workshops for low-income seniors residing at five local housing association properties and developing a structured program of art engagement for those with Alzheimer’s.
Gabriel Sosa is an artist, linguist, and curator based in Boston. Through various media including drawing, video, and installation, he interrogates his experiences as a court interpreter and a Cuban-American as he explores language, the fallibility of memory, and the synthesis of fact and fiction. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, he graduated from New World School of the Arts and earned an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in 2016. Recent exhibitions of his work include El Acercamiento at La Fábrica de Arte Cubano in Havana, Cuba, I Come From Where the Palm Tree Grows at the LATLab in Los Angeles, and The Yud Video Project at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Some of his curatorial projects include Three Acts For(giving) at Haley House in Boston and Drawing Connections at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He was an artist-in-residence at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz, California in 2016.
Kate Daughdrill and Bel Falleiros
Kate Daughdrill and Bel Falleiros work with installation, ceremony, sculpture, plants, writing, drawing, cooking, and performance to cultivate a spirit of re-connection with ourselves, the land, and each other.
Kate Daughdrill is an artist, urban farmer, and writer based in Detroit. In 2011, Kate bought a house for $600 and founded Burnside Farm, an urban farm and art ashram on the eastside of Detroit. It is the hub of her art practice and a place for artists, neighbors, and healers to come together for profound artistic experiences and soulful gatherings. Kate is currently cultivating ceremonial dinners that explore the relationship between plants, meditation, wildness, healing, and artistic energy. Her work has been exhibited internationally and has been featured in the New York Times, Dwell, and Oprah Magazine.
Bel Falleiros is a Brazilian artist with a background in architecture whose artistic research originates from direct contact with the landscape–walking through it. From her hometown, São Paulo, to other places around the world, she has worked to unearth the stories and elements that constitute the identity of land. When she travels, she searches for recurrent symbols across places and cultures; she’s participated in residencies and activities to that end at the Sacatar Institute (Itaparica, Bahia), MAXXI Museum (Rome, Italy) and Pecos National Historical Park (New Mexico, U.S.A.). She is currently working on a site-specific earth work at Burnside Farm, a navel for the Land.
Kate and Bel’s shared interests in the sacred feminine, the land, and food have brought them together to collaborate and work alongside each other in rural Virginia, Detroit, and now, New Mexico!
Originally from Chicago, Veena moved to Santa Fe in 2013 after twenty years of living in England. Primarily based in London during that time, she focused her work on embedding human rights principles into social policymaking. Since 2010, she has been working as a freelance writer, facilitator and mediator. Veena self-identifies as a Wake-Up Artist and Movement Maker, with a vocation to cultivate Beloved Community. In recent years, she has become particularly passionate about exploring the relationships between soul work, collaborative art-making and systems design/re-creation. This is the focus of her Equal Justice Residency and she has published articles about these relationships in OpenDemocracy. When Veena is not playing and experimenting in this arena, she can be found hiking, cooking family recipes, dancing, practicing the art of clowning and training to become a Feldenkrais Method teacher.