Our Story, Immigrant Artists

Art Show and Workshops at Boogie On The Boulevard outdoor event, Bronx

September 10th, 2017, 12-4pm

The event collaborated with New York Foundation for The Arts’ Immigrant Artists Program Social Practice ‘16 .

Guest Immigrant Artists: Yasuyo Tanaka, Deborah Wasserman, Keke Brown

Staff: Rica Takashima, Savannah Zambrano

Publicity:NYFA Current

This was my first attempt to invite social practice artists from NYFA’s Immigrant Artists Program and exhibit at open space in New York.

The collective’s goal is to help to build bridges between the local community and immigrants. The project aimed a space where strangers from different backgrounds can meet, understand, and create art together. Through interactive arts, participants experienced face-to-face personal contact in an afternoon of workshops where they were able to share, understand, talk to others, and express their thoughts.

I asked six artists some questions and to be models for my Peekaboo-sculptures. Two artists responded to me. I showed the audience their specific backgrounds, such as their memories of childhood, where they came from, when they came, and how their lives changed in information labels on the back of the Peekaboo-sculptures. The Peekaboo-sculpture worked well to visitors in order to enjoy and understand the artist’s activity and the artist.

We set tree tents, and shared a half space of each tent for each artist. The artists put titles and signs on their tents in English and their own languages. I set two interactive Peekaboo-sculptures and title and signboard of aim of the art project in front of these tents.

Yasuyo Tanaka held “Health Karuta(Cards)” workshop. Her tent, explanation sign for Edible ink, and Health Karuta in English and Japanese.

Yasuyo showed and introduced to visitors these natural plant colors to paper, felt pen and crayon for our safety environment. Paper paste is Japanese ancient technique to dye paper using rice powder and plant color.

Participants enjoyed making Health Karuta.

Rica Takashima create and showed two interactive Peekaboo-sculptures of childhood of Deborah and Keke. By introducing immigrant artists through fun way, it helped people and the artists to easily communiticate and understand the artists’s activities.

Keke’s childhood Peekaboo-sculpture. The sculpture was set in front of Keke’s activity tent.

Deborah’s childhood Peekaboo-sculpture. The explanation labels were written both English and Hebrew from her background.

As Deborah picked the theme, body and health, to her interactive art performance, I also picked the theme, body, to book making workshop next to Deborah and Peekaboo-sculpture.

The title was written in English and Japanese. Some participants remembered and drew the food they ate for morning. Some drew color of energy on the body book.

The title of the other workshop was written in English and Spanish. The workshop was led by a comic artist Savvanah Zambrano. She introduced her colorful comic of daily life to people and taught them how to make their ordinary life to funny short comic strips.

Deborah Wasserman held an interactive making salad workshop “Your Body is a Temple”. Passersby gazed at beautiful natural greens at the table. People made salad with fresh healthy ingridients and shared them with each other at site led by the artist.

Keke Brown held “Tell Your Story About Your Hair”. The artist hung actual artworks in the tent, and they looked beautiful as they swung by the wind. Keke drew participants’ hair with conversation each other at the site. We learned each hair style has each unique history.

Photo credit: David Curt

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