Art Exhibition

Artists engage in disability issues and challenge the hierarchical nature of colonialism and its policies on Indigenous populations.

While you dried in the sand, out of the blue, 2021 custom print on beach towel. Dimensions 38.5 by 77 inches. A custom printed beach towel. In the background, an arial view of a beach. On the foreground, an arial view of houses flooded and destroyed after hurricane Maria. On the bottom left there is a sea star, and on the top right in orange “tropical font”, the phrase reads out of the blue.

Kevin Quiles Bonilla. While you dried in the sand (out of the blue). 2021. Custom print on beach towel. 38.5 x 77in.

A portrait of Kevin, wearing a black t-shirt and black-framed glasses, sitting in front of an artists studio with white walls and artwork in the distance. Kevin Quiles Bonilla (b. 1992) is an interdisciplinary artist born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He received a BA in Fine Arts – Photography from the University of Puerto Rico (2015) and an MFA in Fine Arts from Parsons The New School for Design (2018). His work has been presented in Puerto Rico, The United States, Mexico, China, Belgium, and Japan. He’s the recipient of an Emerging Artist Award from The John F. Kennedy Center (2017). He has recently presented his work at The Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, The Shelly & Rubin Foundation’s 8th Floor Gallery, Dedalus Foundation, and the Leslie-Lohman Museum’s Project Space. He has been an artist in residence at Art Beyond Sight’s Arts + Disability Residency (2018-2019), Leslie-Lohman Museum’s Queer Performance Residency (2019) and LMCC’s Workspace Residency (2019-2020). He explores ideas around power, colonialism, and history with his identity as context. He currently lives and works between Puerto Rico and New York. Website linked here. 2021 video interview with Kevin Quiles Bonilla for the Indigeneity & Disability Justice Art Exhibition (transcript)

Two photographs are side by side, two still images from a performance on a black-box stage and a deep blue light. The left image shows a white woman in a blue shirt and white overalls holding and piercing a puppet that lays on the floor. The puppet is sculpted to resemble a flower where the stem is a spine that is a darkening green, and the head of the puppet a large blue forget-me-not flower. Pink strings are passing through the spine of the puppet and out the other side. The image on the right is a close up of the puppeteers face with downward cast eyes gazing at the puppet over her shoulder, and the large blue forget-me-not head of the puppet seeming to gaze in the opposite direction. In the bottom right corner it says Illness Revelations and the Bodies of Hisotry+Medicine+Us, images courtesy of the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University.

A close up of a white woman with red glasses and shoulder length brown hair is smiling into the camera while holding a large silk purple flower up to her face. The flower is semi-translucent with a bright green center and bright yellow half-moon at the tips. The background is a blurry grass field.Marina Tsaplina is Russian-born social practice puppetry artist, writer, teacher, advocate and independent scholar in disability/health humanities with a focus on anti-colonial and anti-ableist thought, research and practice. Through puppetry animation and poetic thought, she creates participatory spaces to help awaken the deep connections between land, bodyminds, imagination and healing. She co-founded Reimagine Medicine and was a visiting artist at Duke University (2017-2020), was a Kienle Scholar in the Medical Humanities at the Penn State College of Medicine (2016-2018), and recently organized and facilitated Indigeneity and Disability: Futures of Personhood, Care and Consent as part of the 2021 Cleveland Humanities Festival. Following a recent commission by Orion Magazine, “Dream Puppet, Wild Forest, Disabled Futures” that was co-created with nearly 100 people from the disability and environmental communities, her focus is on fostering connections between disabled embodied knowledges and old-growth forests, protecting an ancient forest in the Yaak Valley, Montana from extractive logging, and securing partners for a long-term initiative of temporary puppetry installations in ancient forests across the country. You may contact her at Website Link Here

“Olga” by Berenice Olmedo
HKAFO (Hip, Knee, Ankle, Foot, Orthosis), polypropylene, aluminium, velcro, mechatronics, motors, sensors, microcontrollers, leather

Portrait of Berenice Olmedo, wearing black-framed glasses, a black tank top and dark grey sweater, with a multicolored, patterned scarf. She is wearing smiling at the camera with crossed arms.Berenice Olmedo is a Mexican artist who does installations. Her work examines concepts such as “What is normal? What is not? In any field, be it sociology, culture, economics or politics, an attempt is made to identify a “standard.” Somehow, the idea that a rule to which everything must conform has become the norm. Perhaps it also has to do with our need to mark out a context, a field of action in which to dwell. What does not fall within this framework is thus considered abnormal, as if it were an aberration, an obstacle. And this is what happens with minorities, with those who think differently, with people with disabilities; it even happens with minor physical defects such as a simple hip dysplasia. What does not comply is forcedly made to do so, because that is normality.” Article linked here.

Decolonizing Travel

A LIGHT-SKINNED QUEER PERSON OF COLOR WITH SHORT DARK HAIR WEARING A WHITE BUTTON-UP SHIRT AND BLACK MOTORCYCLE JACKET STARES AWAY FROM THE CAMERA AGAINST A GREEN LEAFY BACKGROUND. Bani Amor (they/them) is a gender/queer travel writer who explores the relationships between race, place, and power. Their work has appeared in CNN Travel, Fodor’s, AFAR, and Teen Vogue, and in Outside the XY: Queer Black and Brown Masculinity, and the upcoming Where We Stand: Brown and Black Voices Speak the Earth. Pronouns: they/them. Travel blog linked here.

Ancestral Mindscapes “is an autobiographical collaboration using video, sound and photography to explore the intersection of madness, indigeneity, colonialism, environmental destruction and the healing power of nature. Ancestral Mindscapes is a collaboration between Rick Miller, who self-identifies as a Mad artist in discovery of his Indigenous ancestry; Jules Koostachin, a Cree artist and academic; and Geneviève Thibault, a Gaspésienne photographer.” Website linked here.

Khairani Barokka (b. Jakarta, 1985) is a writer, poet and artist in London. She’s a practice-based researcher, whose work centres disability justice as anti-colonial praxis. Among her honours, she was an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow for her masters at ITP, and Indonesia’s first Writer-In-Residence at Vermont Studio Center. She was Modern Poetry in Translation’s Inaugural Poet-in-Residence, and is currently Research Fellow at University of the Arts London’s Decolonising Arts Institute, Associate Artist at the National Centre for Writing (Norwich, UK), and UK Associate Artist at Delfina Foundation. Website linked here.

PELENAKEKE, A LIGHT BROWN SKINNED WOMAN WEARING A ORANGE JUMPSUIT. HER ARMS ARE OUTSTRETCHED AND SHE LOOKS OUT TO THE SPACE BETWEEN. PHOTO CREDIT: ARIELLE KNIGHT.Pelenakeke Brown (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and writer. Her practice explores the intersections between disability cultural concepts and Sāmoan cultural concepts. Her practice investigates sites of knowledge that hold both and she uses technology, writing, poetry and performance to explore these ideas. Currently she is the Artistic Director at Touch Compass a performance company that supports disabled creatives but prior to that role she was based in New York City as an independent artist. Pronouns: she/her. Website linked here.

Vanessa Dion Fletcher is a Lenape and Potawatomi neurodiverse Artist. She graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 with an MFA in performance,  she has exhibited across Canada and the US, at Art Mur Montreal, Eastern Edge Gallery Newfoundland, The Queer Arts Festival Vancouver, Satellite Art show Miami. Her work is in the Indigenous Art Centre, Joan Flasch Artist Book collection, Vtape, Seneca College, and the Archives of American Art. In 2019 Vanessa is supported by the City of Toronto Indigenous partnerships fund to be Artist in residence at OCAD University. Website linked here.

A portrait of Raisa Kabir wearing a black crop top, a printed shawl and a gold necklace, with her arm outstretched against a wooden banister, with wood shelves in the background. Raisa Kabir is an interdisciplinary artist and weaver, who utilises woven text/textiles, sound, video and performance to materialise concepts concerning the cultural politics of cloth, labour and embodied geographies. Her (un)weaving performances comment on power, production, disability and the body as a living archive of collective trauma. Pronouns: she/her/they. Website linked here.

A portrait of Petra Kuppers, with very short grey hair, wearing a grey long sleeve shirt, black scarf, and yellow framed glasses in front of a black background. Petra Kuppers (she/her) is a community performance artist, a white settler on Anishinaabe Territory, and professor at the University of Michigan. Her forthcoming book Eco Soma (Minnesota, 2022) illuminates ecopoetic disability culture perspectives, contending that disabled people make art to live in a changing world, in contact with feminist, queer, trans, racialized, and Indigenous art projects. Pronouns: she/her. Website linked here.

A portrait of Yo-Yo Lin, wearing a white polka-dot blouse, looking off into the distance toward the left, with yellow sun-lit foliage in the backgroundYo-Yo Lin (she/her) is a Taiwanese-American, interdisciplinary artist who explores the possibilities for self-knowledge in the context of emerging, embodied technologies. She often uses video, animation, live performance, and lush sound design to create meditative ‘memoryscapes.’ Her recent body of work reveals and re-values the complex realities of living with chronic illness and intergenerational trauma. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. Pronouns: she/her/hers. Website linked here.

Maru Nihoniho has collaborated with a University of Auckland research team to develop a game drawing from Māori material cultures designed to address crises of mental health that threaten the futures of Māori adolescents (Shepherd et al., 2018). Website linked here.

A portrait of Alex Dolores Salerno, wearing an off-white t-shirt, with brown hair that is shorter in the front and longer in the back, with trees in the background.

Alex Dolores Salerno is a Brooklyn based interdisciplinary artist informed by themes of care, interdependency, and queer-crip time working primarily in sculpture alongside photography and video. Drawing from the bed as a site of collectivity and protest, they work to critique standards of productivity, notions of normative embodiment and the commodification of rest. Their work has been featured in the New York Times and Art in America, and they are currently an artist in residence at the Museum of Arts and Design (NYC). Pronouns: they/them. Website linked here.