Jorge Alberto Perez: The Legacy of Racism

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The current state of race relations in the US has a lot to do with the legacy of cultural abuse, violence and marginalization. Add to this a national history that has been heavily revised to exclude the contributions made by minorities, and we have the combustible situation we see today.

Jorge Alberto Perez: The Artist as Perennial Learner

One of the unexpected advantages about creating RACE AND REVOLUTION is learning more about the contributing artists. JORGE ALBERTO PEREZ shares with us the influence his father has had on his work:

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I grew up in Atlanta in the 70s where my father worked for the Urban League, one of the earliest organizations in the US that advocated specifically for an end to racial segregation and discrimination. As an artist I include subtle references to race in much of my work as an homage to my father who taught me from an early age to have empathy and love for all people regardless of color or religion. Naturally, participating in the exhibition Race and Revolution is an opportunity to learn about the contributions Native and African Americans made during the Revolutionary War and to expand how I express my beliefs visually.

Jorge Alberto Perez: The Artist’s Process

JORGE ALBERTO PEREZ is an incredibly accomplished photographer, curator, and writer. I am so excited to have him do an installation piece for RACE AND REVOLUTION this summer on Governors Island. Throughout the week learn more about who he is and why he thinks it’s important to continue exploring the roots of racism in the United States.

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Jorge Alberto Perez is an artist, curator and contributing writer for LensCulture and ARC Magazine where he is also on the Board of Advisors. In 2014 his photographic work was featured in Ventana Latina magazine(UK). Last year Perez was selected as curator-in-residence at Baxter St./CCNY with the exhibit The Three Traumas as well as adjunct curator for the International Center of Photography’s new gallery space at Mana Contemporary with the exhibit The Future is Forever. This year his work was featured on as number 46 of 52 emerging international artists.

Talwst: an Artist’s Truth

In this final feature post of the artist TALWST he shares what he thinks an artist has a responsibility to create with his or her work. (This piece is titled The Rape.)

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“I believe an artist should communicate their truth. Not all art needs to be political it just  needs to be an honest expression of the person making it.”

A House Divided

I called Paul Ryan yesterday and left him a voicemail pleading for the GOP to listen to the people and to get their heads out of their asses and their money grubbing hands out of their pockets. “A house divided cannot stand.” So the Democrats have chosen to sit.

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Talwst, 2012

Talwst: Racism is . . .

As a Canadian living in the United States, TALWST reflects on racism in the U.S.

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The word I would use is systemic. As a Canadian aware of my country’s own issues with race. There are many similarities but also many differences that I’m only now able to investigate in the 4 months I’ve been living here.

Talwst: Histories in Miniature

Curtis “TALWST” Santiago is a Canadian-Trinidadian artist working in mixed media and performance practices. He is currently engaged in his ongoing and prolific infinity series of miniature dioramas in reclaimed ring boxes. An exploration across cultures and time periods, through these works Talwst aims to draw attention to absent or misinterpreted narratives, suggest the non-linear complexities of history, and explore relationships between cultures. He has produced a number of sub series in this format that focus on themes, such as inserting marginalized narratives into art history and drawing parallels between disparate cultural histories.

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These works draw parallels between narratives of global marginalization, violence and unrest across time and combine them with references to the contemporary digital age in a manner that mediates on the atemporal human condition. Talwst began this series with his work The Execution of Mike Brown (image above) in which he appropriated the composition for Edouard Manet’s The Execution of Maximilian, scaling it down, putting it in a box, and relocating it in the United States where we see a portrait of a black man being shot by multiple police officers. Talwst quickly continued with this series creating a number of strong works including The Rape, Tell them to Stop! Tell them to Stop!, and Por Que? which is currently on view at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

These works challenge our visual culture by cutting and mixing moments in history, global cultures, and the digital word. They both propose alternative narratives and question our assumptions. The inclusion of references to digital culture, our obsession with social media and photography weaves in another narrative commenting on our current, filtered, view of the world.

The small scale of Talwst’s works involve an unusual physical engagement in both creating and viewing the work. The dioramas are made in reclaimed ring boxes: cases that hold, protect, and transport precious objects, which are passed down through generations. These are unusually mobile artworks; between exhibitions they close and travel with the artist. The artist’s interest in storytelling, in particular narratives from African and Caribbean culture, informs the tension
between the powerful content and miniature scale, which acts as a reflection of minimized and marginalized histories’ challenge in integrating into predominant, western history. The lack of an immersive experience in viewing these works, as
well as their overt objecthood, suggests the distance between dominant culture and the stories they hold.

A former apprentice of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Talwst’s work has been exhibited in Canada including recent exhibitions at The Art Gallery of Mississauga, convenience gallery, Angell Gallery, and internationally at Fuse Gallery, Studio Museum Harlem, New York and Galerie White Projects, Paris.

Frohawk Two Feathers: The Role of an Artist in Society

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I don’t necessarily have a notion on what role the artist should have in society. I doubt we would make capable leaders in our current incarnation as most of us are whiny babies (ok. I’m talking about myself but you all know who you are J). I think we should occupy the role that we always have, and that is to be bold, and daring in the proliferation of ideas, new or ancient. We should also continue to inspire and reflect the ugliness, the mundane, and the beauty all around us. To tell the stories that we almost never hear, and remix the ones we’ve heard before. Our role is to be artists, full stop.