Mi Querido Barrio Augmented Reality Exhibition & Tour
About the Artists
MICHAEL SHAWN CORDERO
Michael Shawn Cordero is a multimedia artist from Brooklyn, New York, whose work has been exhibited in New York, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, and Guatemala City. He is a creative agitator who believes in growing community first through education, social equity, and culture.Cordero has launched several successful arts and community-based businesses. He is motivated by the desire to facilitate economic and intellectual opportunities for community around him, especially its youth. With a strong reputation for promoting social, political, and cultural awareness to provoke change, his focus is primarily on using art and entrepreneurship to raise consciousness in the community.
Cordero has been a teaching artist with Urban Arts Partnership (UAP) since January 2008 and has recently become the EdTECH manager there. He has also designed and coordinated numerous youth-based art programs at UAP. His students’ award-winning work has been featured in numerous film festivals and youth media conferences.
Bianca DeJesus was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She is Puerto Rican and Dominican but identifies with all of the Caribbean and other places of the African diaspora; consequently, she is very much a student of the world. DeJesus’s work often addresses the complex issues of power, romance, “race,” gender, colorism, and body image, and the relationships among people, their words, and their surroundings. She intends her art to convey vivid emotions that evoke a line of questioning. Her academic background is in writing, and poetry plays a part in everything she does, as does the idea of having a “story.” DeJesus wants her work to uplift rather than to condemn, and to draw attention to those who are often overlooked, utilizing the literary idea of magic realism. She draws inspiration from her ancestors as well as from strangers and family members she observes.
DeJesus attended a small liberal-arts college in Baltimore, Maryland, where she was introduced to the art of collage and began to explore drawing and watercolor. She graduated with a B.A. in English, minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as Africana Studies. Bianca is now pursuing her M.A. in New York. She recalls visiting the islands of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as a child and feeling an intense connection to those places as being her true home, although she never lived there. Her Mi Querido Barrio “augmented reality” project is a physical manifestation of that bond, focusing on the brightness and perseverance of the individual faced with a neighborhood’s gentrification.
Alejandro Epifanio, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a multifaceted artist—sculptor, painter, printmaker—as well as a designer and curator; he received his B.F.A. in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. His work focuses on the physical and metaphysical nexus of the arts and its surrounding community. For more than ten years, he has remained close to the Lower East Side, Spanish Harlem, and South Bronx communities of New York City. His work constantly investigates the ideas of peace, tolerance, and unity or of displacement and abandonment. He continues to explore the possibilities offered by different mediums to inform a sensorial language.
His “augmented reality” work in this exhibition, La Marqueta Time Machine, features an AR food vendor cart that displays and connects different food markets of New York City and Puerto Rico, then and now. Through videos, photographs, and texts containing information, La Marqueta Time Machine provides viewers with a visual and interactive experience that will expand their knowledge of the positive role these markets play in creating a sense of community, enriching our culture, and serving the residents as well as the many visitors who come here.
KEARRA AMAYA GOPEE
Kearra Amaya Gopee is a Trinidadian documentary photographer and visual artist, who since the age of eighteen has been based in Brooklyn, New York. Born in Miami-Dade County, Florida, to Trinidadian parents, she moved when she was three to her maternal family’s home in Carapichaima, Trinidad and Tobago. When she was seventeen, she was hired to work as a photographer for the Trinidad Guardian, Trinidad and Tobago’s oldest newspaper. During her time there, she discovered her affinity for research and documentation, which is now an integral part of her practice. She recently presented work at the Caribbean Studies Association conference in Haiti, as well as having been part of group exhibitions at Alice Yard, Trinidad and Tobago, the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, and UFES Gallery in Vitória, Brazil.
Her work varies in subject matter and form but mostly focuses on the nature of violence and erasure inflicted on the Caribbean by the global north. She has also been heavily influenced by studies of the infrapolitical action undertaken by the women in her own family. Seeing beauty and master craftsmanship in the daily activities of these women has led her to appreciate the power of processes and the place of invisible labor, especially in the construction of the home and, by extension, in the post-colonial Caribbean region.
Yasmín Hernández was born and raised in Brooklyn to parents from Ponce, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico’s struggle against colonialism, and the pursuit of liberation globally, have informed her work over the last twenty years. Her 2011 East Harlem mural Soldaderas honors painter Frida Kahlo and poet Julia de Burgos, inspiring continued solidarity between the Mexican/Chicanx and Puerto Rican communities. Since moving from New York City to Puerto Rico in 2014, her work has been centered on restoring Borikén to a liberated state through more spiritual, holistic, sustainable practices as taught by her ancestors. Her art has been supported by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, the Puffin Foundation, and the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Yasmin studied art at the LaGuardia High School of the Arts and Cornell University in New York. She has worked as an artist educator with the Studio Museum in Harlem and El Museo del Barrio in New York City and Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia. Today, Yasmin runs an art studio and hosts art classes for women from her hilltop home in Moca, and she also works as a K-12 art teacher in Aguadilla.
Mariona Lloreta is a visual artist and film director currently based in Brooklyn, New York; she is originally from Barcelona, Spain, and has North African roots. Lloreta has worked and lived in various countries, including Nigeria, Brazil, China, Italy, and the United States, with the goal of documenting cultures around the world while exploring the complexities of identity and heritage. Working as a visual artist, Lloreta hopes to become a leader in the quest to enact positive change through the arts. She seeks to transcend the differences among people and celebrate the universal thread that binds our human experience—to find a common ground across and within cultures, races, and gender to capture experiences that we all relate to, conveying a sense of Oneness and celebrating and honoring our individual and collective stories.
Among her recent projects are two short films: Sankofa: Part I (2015) takes as its subject a woman in Ghana who bleaches her skin to be more accepted by society, and by doing so deals with issues of identity, race, and the social repercussions of colonization. Amenze, Entre Dois Mundos (2016), explores the interrelationships between an African woman who has newly arrived in Brazil and her surroundings, reflecting on themes of belonging, foreignness, migration, identity, and alienation She has also recently created a series of mixed-media works, Naija Nights, which evokes the beauty that Lloreta encountered as she traveled in Nigeria for two years.
ANDREW J. PADILLA
Andrew J. Padilla is an award-winning filmmaker, educator, and independent journalist, born and raised in East Harlem. He is currently profiling displacement in the United States through a series of documentary shorts entitled El Barrio Tours: Gentrification USA. From Hostos to Harvard, Andrew has lectured on urban politics across the U.S. His writing has been featured on NPR Latino, and in City Limits, Latino Rebels, and La Respuesta.
Edwin Pagán is a New York-based photographer, filmmaker, cinematographer, curator, and cultural activist with a rare blend of creative and administrative experience including more than twenty-five years in community organizing, as well as extensive production experience in the documentary and narrative film sectors.
Pagán has worked extensively as an arts technical assistance provider at Bronx Council on the Arts, IFP Market & Conference, Association of Hispanic Arts, and Black Filmmaker Foundation, and has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) and Hispanic Organization Latino Actors (HOLA). He has also served on numerous juries and selection committees for the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), New York International Latino Film Festival and Tribeca Institutes’ Tribeca All Access Connects initiative. Pagán frequently speaks on panels related to filmmaking, particularly the expansion and integration of filmmakers of color into the entertainment industry.
For the past fourteen years, Pagán has curated the NewLatino Filmmakers series at the renowned East Village cinematheque Anthology Film Archives and is a founding member of the acclaimed Seis del Sur photography collective. He currently works as program manager of the Bronx Culture Collective (BxCC) in the South Bronx.
Oliver Rios, born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in El Barrio, is a visual artist who is committed to raising awareness. His innovative and artistic technique empowers his creativity daily. His anti-violence murals and memorial murals helped bring awareness to Spanish Harlem in the early 1990s. He learned to airbrush his images and designs on T-shirts, and he painted storefronts for local businesses. This planted the seed of entrepreneurship in him. He attended the Art and Design High School and City Tech (New York City College of Technology), both in New York, majoring in art and advertising design. Rios continues to document the changing neighborhood of East Harlem with the use of both traditional and digital photography. His passion and creativity have supported his career in fashion photography, editorial photography, advertising design, and digital art. As the founder of Orios Designs and as a creative consultant, he continues to develop cutting-edge ideas that help generate positive results. His mission is to create uplifting and meaningful images through photography, visual design, and typography, striving to inspire the human spirit.
TAMIKO THIEL, ARTISTIC ADVISOR FOR MI QUERIDO BARRIO
Tamiko Thiel is an internationally known visual artist and acknowledged pioneer in developing the dramatic and poetic capabilities of virtual reality (since 1994) and augmented reality (since 2010) to create spaces of memory for exploring social and cultural issues. Her work often deals with crossing boundaries, drawing extensively on her own cross-cultural experiences as an American of mixed German and Japanese descent living in Japan, the United States, and Germany. Images of the garden as a lost paradise appear in many of her works, and issues of global warming and climate change are increasingly becoming a concern in her art practice.
A founding member of artist group Manifest.AR, she participated in their path-breaking augmented reality guerrilla intervention at MoMA in New York in 2010, and was the chief curator and organizer of their uninvited intervention at the Venice Biennale in 2011. for which she helped write the proposal for the Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Award for the CCCADI project Mi Querido Barrio, before serving as the augmented reality artistic adviser for the exhibition.