The Fresh Performance Project

The Fresh Performance Poster

FRESH MILK, in collaboration with New York-based Guyanese performance and video artist Damali Abrams, is excited to embark on the Fresh Performance Project, an experimental documentary highlighting contemporary performance artists in the Caribbean and New York City. Damali will engage in conversation with twelve performance artists, one Caribbean-based and one New York City-based artist per month, filming these discussions to create episodes or chapters which will be shared online. The first video will be aired at the end of April 2013, and will revolve around defining performance art.

This project aims to expand the cultural arena for both NY based and Caribbean based creatives, contributing to critical discourse around performance art by addressing topics such as gender and sexuality; power; love and romance; the role of the audience among other topics. Given that performance art in the Caribbean is practiced by a growing number of practitioners, this project will foster a stronger creative community, offering support to performance artists who often work in isolation, while increasing production in this medium. Archiving the conversations between the twelve participants increases awareness and documentation of the arts, and will hopefully lead to further opportunities and collaborative ventures.

One of the exceptional aspects of The Fresh Performance series is its reciprocal nature. Projects like this reverse the trend of Caribbean-based artists often wanting to find relevance for their work in a North American context; in this instance, the U.S. based artists are also keen to see how their work resonates within the Caribbean environment, creating a give-and-take relationship that is crucial to the growth of both cultures. The project will build cultural bridges between the U.S. and the Caribbean, and generate understanding and community through the arts.

The Caribbean-based participating artists are Ewan Atkinson, Shanika Grimes, Michelle Isava, Olivia McGilchrist, Sandra Vivas and Alberta Whittle, and the NYC based artists are Zachary Fabri, Maria Hupfield, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow, Seyhan Musaoglu, Shani Peters and Nyugen Smith.

Damali Abrams

Damali Abrams is a New York City-based artist working primarily in video. She received her BA at New York University and her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Damali was a 2009-10 A.I.R. Gallery fellowship recipient. Her work has been shown in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Memphis, New Orleans, Denver, and Miami. In New York City, her work has been exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA), A.I.R. Gallery, JCAL, Rush Arts Gallery and BRIC Rotunda Gallery, among others. Damali is a member of the women’s artist collective tART and one of the NYC coordinators for The Feminist Art Project.

Caribbean-Based Artists’ Bios

 Ewan Atkinson:

Ewan Atkinson

Ewan Atkinson was born in Barbados in 1975. He received a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 1998 and is currently pursuing an MA in Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill.  He has exhibited in regional and international exhibitions of Caribbean contemporary art, including most recently the 2010 Liverpool Biennial, “Wrestling with the image: Caribbean Interventions” at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington DC, and “Infinite Islands” at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.  Atkinson has taught in the BFA program at the Barbados Community College for over a decade. He also works as a freelance illustrator and designer.

Shanika Grimes:

Shanika Grimes

Shanika Grimes completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Barbados Community college, while juggling the birth of her now two year old son. She displayed a proficiency in the arts from a very young age despite the pull of the business oriented society in which she lives. Shanika works in a variety of two dimensional formats and has more recently extended her practice to the realm of performance art, which is documented and presented through video or photography. She focuses on an examination of self, which she uses as a catalyst for a barrage of ideas including, but not limited to, gender, culture and relationships.

Michelle Isava:

Michelle Isava

Michelle Isava (born 1985) holds dual nationality from Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. She is a conceptual artist who straddles across different mediums and genres to place the priority on message and experience. She experiments with drawing, painting, installation and video because she believes the message should decide the mode of expression. Her interests lie in the body as an object, and what it has the potential to reveal or betray about the subject.

Olivia McGilchrist:

Olivia McGilchrist

Born in Kingston (Jamaica) in 1981 to a French mother and a Jamaican father and educated in France and the U.K., Olivia McGilchrist moved back to Jamaica in 2011 after completing a Photography M.A. at the London College of Communication (2009-2010). Since this sudden return, her current practice has incorporated her body, remapping it within the tropical picturesque through photographic tableaux and multi-layered videos. She has indulged her alter-ego Whitey in her appropriation of this space of utter difference, Jamaica, by exploring trans-location and physical expressions of emotional states in the search for her cultural identity.

Sandra Vivas:

Sandra Vivas portrait - photo credit Stephi Leigh Davis

Photo credit Stephi Leigh Davis

Sandra Vivas was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1969 and is currently living in Dominica West. Sandra has developed a body of work that has performance as a permanent thread through her paintings and videos. Irony and humour play a fundamental role in her work and she is considered a feminist performance pioneer in Venezuela. From 1997-2008, Sandra taught at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, in the Undergrad and Graduate Programs of the Escuela de Artes, teaching Contemporary Art History. Sandra studied painting and ballet and has a Bachelors Degree in Art History from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and a Masters Degree in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute, California, USA.

Alberta Whittle:

Alberta Whittle

Alberta Whittle is a Barbadian artist, who graduated from the Masters programme at Glasgow School of Art in 2011. Whilst a student she participated in the exchange programme at Concordia University in Montreal. Since graduating, Whittle completed a commission for the Museum of London, where she presented an interactive installation, referring to migration and displacement. Whittle has undertaken numerous international residencies, including CESTA (Czech Republic), Market Gallery (Scotland), Fresh Milk (Barbados), Collective Gallery (Scotland) and Greatmore Studios (South Africa). She choreographs interactive installations, interventions and performances as site-specific artworks in public and private spaces, including at the Royal Scottish Academy and has exhibited in various solo and group shows in Europe, South Africa and the Caribbean. She is currently in Cape Town preparing for an exhibition at the Centre for African Studies and participating as a researcher at Joule City’s Artist Incubator Project, focusing on visual and aural culture.

NYC-Based Artists’ Bios:

Zachary Fabri:

Zachary Fabri

Zachary Fabri was born in Miami, Florida in 1977. His mother is Jamaican and his father is Hungarian. In 2007, he received his Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College in combined media. His work mines the intersection of personal and political spaces, often responding to a specific environment or context. Zachary’s work has been exhibited at Sequences Real-time Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland; Nordic Biennale: Momentum, Moss, Norway; Gallery Open, Berlin; the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, New York; the Jersey City Museum, and El Museo del Barrio, New York, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. He is a recipient of the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art in 2011 and was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in interdisciplinary work in 2012. Recent solo exhibitions include Third Streaming in New York City and Real Art Ways, in Hartford, Connecticut. He lives and works in Brooklyn.

Maria Hupfield:

Maria Hupfield portrait - photo credit Henry Chan

Photo credit Henry Chan

Maria Hupfield (born 1975) is from the Georgian Bay region Ontario, Canada and currently based in Brooklyn New York. She is of Anishnaabe (Ojibwa) heritage and a member of Wasauksing First Nation. Hupfield holds an MFA in sculpture from York University, Toronto. She recently participated in: A Conversation on Performance Art: Women Redrawing/Performance, organized by The Feminist Art Project at SOHO20 Chelsea NY; (2013) Wave Hill’s Winter Workspace Program, Glyndor Galley, Bronx, NY; and (2012) Artist Leadership Program, National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC. She has performed at ACCOLA GRIEFEN GALLERY, Chelsea NY, Grace Gallery, Brooklyn NY and (2012) 7a*11d International Performance Festival, Toronto ON. Hupfield’s work is currently in the traveling exhibitions Beat Nation and Changing Hands III.

Hupfield’s work was featured in the 2011 winter edition of Black Flash Magazine on performance photography and in the North Edition of Fuse Magazine winter for the collaborative artist project “From the Moon to the Belly” with Laakkuluk Williamson.

Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow:

Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow Portrait

Born in Manchester, Jamaica, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow is a multidisciplinary artist who received a BFA at University of Florida (New World School of the Arts) in 1996. In 2005 she attained an MFA from Hunter College, New York City. Her work has been exhibited and performed nationally and internationally at venues including Exit Art (NYC), Rush Arts Gallery (NYC), Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at SUNY Old Westbury College (NY), Scope Art Fair (FL), The Queens Museum of Art (NY), Third Streaming LLC (NY), Rush Arts Gallery (NYC),  Open Contemporary Art Center (Beijing, China), Art Museum of the Americas (Washington, DC), A.I.R. Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), SOHO 20 (NYC), MoCADA (Brooklyn, NY), Grace Exhibition Space (Brooklyn, NY), ‘’Gwangju International Media & Performance Art Festival’’ at the Gwangju Bienalle (Gwangju, SOUTH KOREA) and Edna Manley College for Visual and Performing Arts (Kingston , JAMAICA). She is also a Rema Hort Mann award nominee and a 2012 NYFA Fellow in Interdisciplinary Art.

Through a feminine perspective Lyn-Kee-Chow uses allegories to navigate issues of the body, desire, and nature while weaving in humour, absurdity, and familiar objects. She lives and works in New York City.

Seyhan Musaoglu:

Seyhan Musaoglu portrait

Seyhan Musaoglu is a multi-media artist whose work spans the fields of live performance, sound art, film and video, and 2-D media. Drawing inspiration from diverse sources ranging from science fiction imagery, to fashion, to modern dance choreography, her work investigates the gap between sound production and music composition, contemporary feminist theory, and the history of avant-garde filmmaking. She has been performing widely with collaborations celebrated internationally in genres of sound and experimental noise. She is also an innovative independent curator, and is the founder of the sound, new media & peformance festival {SØNiK}Fest. Seyhan holds an MFA from Parsons the New School for Design. Some of the venues her work has been presented at are: The Kitchen (NYC), New York Studio Gallery (NYC), Lit Lounge (NYC), Curta 8 Film Festival (Brazil), and Istanbul’s famed venue, Babylon.

Shani Peters:

Shani Peters Portrait

Shani Peters is a New York based artist (born in Lansing, MI) working in video, collage, printmaking, and social practice public projects. Her work reflects interests in activism histories, cultural record keeping, media culture, and community building. Peters completed her B.A. at Michigan State University and her M.F.A. at The City College of New York. She has exhibited, screened and/or presented her work in the US and broad, including exhibitions at the Schomburg Center for Black Culture and Research, Bronx Museum of Art, Rush Arts Gallery, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The Savannah College of Art & Design, The Contact Theatre (UK), and Seoul Art Space Geumcheon (SK).

She has participated in multiple residencies including programs hosted by The Center for Book Arts, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Counsel, the Lower East Side Printshop, the Bronx Museum of Art’s Artist in the Marketplace program, and apexart’s Outbound Residency to Seoul S. Korea. Peters has taught extensively throughout her Harlem community as an educator and program designer working in New York Public Schools, Harlem Textile Works, Casita Maria Arts Education Inc., The Laundromat Project, and as a social justice arts education adjunct lecturer at The City College of New York.

Nyugen Smith:

Nyugen Smith Portrait

With a fearless approach, multi-media artist Nyugen Smith embraces the role of cultural informer and champion of social justice. Drawing heavily on his West Indian heritage, Smith is interested in raising consciousness of past and present political struggles through his work which consists of sculpture, installation, video and performance. Growing up in Trinidad, Smith was profoundly influenced by the conflation of African cultural practices and the residue of British colonial rule encountered in his daily life on the island. Responding to this unique cultural environment, Smith’s art is a reaction to imperialist practices of oppression, violence and ideological misnomers.

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