Panel Discussion: Art and Immigration Policy
Time: April 11, 2018; 6:30-8:30 PM
Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
City University of New York
860 Eleventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019
This panel will draw upon the themes raised by “Internalized Borders,” an exhibition that examines the ways that language and legal systems create internal and external borders. Visual Culture and language have a profound effect on how we as a country vote in political elections and also affect the national point of view. Historically, the cultural production of such images and language defined how people were seen by their governing institutions and by society in general. Some of the language created to define them has stayed permanently in the system or been challenged by society. What is the responsibility of lawmakers, historians, and cultural producers, in how we define people currently and in the future?
Come listen to engaged lawmakers, an art historian and artists speak about the current legal battles and other challenges around immigration. The conversation, moderated by Caitlin Cahill, features State Senator Marisol Alcántara; Anjana Samant, Assistant Attorney General of the New York State Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau; spoken word artist Danyeli Rodriguez Del Orbe; and visual artists Francisco Donoso, Shahrzad Changalvaee, and Alva Mooses. The panel will begin with a short introduction by the curators of “Internalized Borders,” art historian Susan Noyes Platt and visual artist Maria de Los Angeles.
Caitlin Cahill, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Urban Geography & Politics, Pratt Institute. Caitlin co-founded the Mestizo Arts & Activism Collective, an intergenerational social justice think tank focused on resisting the “school-to-sweatshop-pipeline.”
State Senator Marisol Alcántara, the Chair of the New York State Senate Labor Committee, is a longtime labor organizer and community activist who has devoted her life to empowering low- income communities, women, workers, and immigrant New Yorkers. She is proud to serve the people of the 31st Senatorial District in Albany as the first Dominican woman elected to the New York State Senate and the only Latina serving in the chamber.
During her first legislative session in Albany in 2017, State Senator Alcántara passed several signature bills to help women, workers, and small businesses. These include her landmark legislation to help Minority and Women Owned Businesses secure larger city contracts, a bill that was signed by the Governor in December 2017. During the 2017 budget, she worked arduously to secure $10 million in funding to provide legal services to undocumented immigrants and passed legislation requiring translation of court orders for domestic violence victims. In addition, she has passed bills tackling the epidemic of suicide in the Latino community and calling on the state to find ways to encourage the formation of more employee- owned businesses.
State Senator Marisol Alcántara is a graduate of Manhattan College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics, and the CUNY Murphy Institute of Labor, where she obtained a Masters in Labor Relations. Upon graduating, State Senator Alcántara began her career as a trade unionist, first as a labor organizer for SEIU 32BJ and then as an organizer for the New York State Nurses Association.
Anjana Samant is an Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau, where she has worked on a range of civil rights issues including employment discrimination, police misconduct, and language access. Over the past two years, she has worked on litigation and policy recommendations for the New York State Attorney General challenging the Muslim travel and refugee bans, sanctuary policies, and other attacks on immigrants’ rights. Prior to joining the OAG, Ms. Samant worked as an impact litigator at the Center for Constitutional Rights, focusing on racial justice and government misconduct, and as an employment lawyer at Outten & Golden LLP. Ms. Samant served as the Derrick Bell Research and Teaching Fellow in constitutional law at NYU School of Law and completed a federal clerkship with the Honorable Martha Vazquez in the District of New Mexico. Ms. Samant holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Francisco Donoso was born in Quito, Ecuador, and grew up in Miami, Florida. After attending the prestigious New World School of the Arts, he received his BFA in Painting & Drawing from Purchase College, SUNY. In 2012 he was a fellow at the New York Center for Art and Media Studies and in 2013 a Van Lier Fellow at Wave Hill. He was also the artist in residence at Stony Brook University and named a Hot Picks artist by Smack Mellon in 2014 &2018. He is currently participating in the Artist in the Marketplace program at The Bronx Museum. Francisco has exhibited in New York, Berlin, and Miami and continues to work and exhibit in New York City. He is also the Program Administrator for the Parsons Scholars Program, where he explores the intersections of art, education and social justice. He is a DACA recipient.
Danyeli Rodriguez Del Orbe is a spoken word artist and third-year Community Fellow at Immigrant Justice Corps. She emigrated from the Dominican Republic fifteen years ago and was undocumented for eleven years before being able to adjust her status. Her experience as an undocumented immigrant led her to co-found the JJ Dreamers and become a legal intern and representative in non-profits around New York City. In addition, she is part of the 2017 Project X Slam Team, a group of spoken word artists that represented the Bronx in New Hampshire Regional’s competition Vox Pop. She uses poetry and writing as means of resistance and visibility for Dominican immigrants struggling with issues of race, immigration status, and gender.
Alva Mooses is an artist and educator. She has organized collaborations and community art initiatives in the U.S., Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, and Argentina. Her work has been exhibited at the 10th Havana Biennial, Instituto Cervantes in NY and Logan Center for the Arts in Chicago. Forthcoming exhibitions include ‘Retrato de un Paisaje’ at the Museo Eduardo Sívori in Buenos Aires, Argentina and a two-person exhibition at Studio 17 in Stavanger, Norway. Alva received her BFA from The Cooper Union and her MFA from Yale University. She has developed projects at Casa Wabi in Oaxaca, Mexico, and has completed residencies at The University of Chicago and Davidoff Art Initiative in the Dominican Republic. She is co-founder of the online platform LAZO, which creates dialogue amongst artists in the Americas and is currently on the faculty at The Cooper Union School of Art.
Alva’s work investigates traces and imprints of specific sites and architectural spaces. The walls, windows, and fences that demarcate the public from the private, this side or that of national boundaries, become subjects to be critiqued and questioned. Similarly, at a different scale, she is drawn to the exploration of boundaries surrounding construction sites and the gender dynamics encountered in negotiating and requesting access to typically male-dominated work environments.
Shahrzad Changalvaee (Tehran, 1983) received her MFA in Sculpture from Yale University (2015), and her BA in Graphic Design from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Tehran University (2006). Her practice responds to sculpture in a vast field of media, including sculpture, installation, video, photography, text and performance, through exploring materiality, displacement, language, making and hope. She constructs unities of prints and multiple elements in a non- hierarchical rhizomatic connection system, mainly number of ceramic tokens, that are made by transformation of matter, through whispering words into a lump of clay in her mouth.
Her recent photographs of accumulation of studio tools and material manifest resistance to organizational structures and patriarchal grid. Changalvaee was featured in Shanghai Biennial (2012), was the artist in residence in the Delfina Foundation, London (2012). She held a solo show at the School of Visual Arts, NYC in 2015 entitled “Ksi,Ein, and An, A Love Story.” Her second solo show was held at the O Gallery in Tehran in 2016 “You Cannot The Same River Twice.” She is based in Brooklyn and currently is a member and co-director of Bon-Gah collective in Tehran.
About the curators:
Maria de Los Angeles was born in 1988 in Michoacán, Mexico and immigrated to Santa Rosa, California, in 2000 with her family. Since then, she has earned an associate’s degree in painting from Santa Rosa Junior College (2010), a BFA from Pratt Institute (2013), and a MFA from Yale School of Art (2015). De Los Angeles currently practices and teaches in New York. De Los Angeles is a New York City based artist whose artwork focuses on issues of migration, displacement, identity and otherness through multiple media such as drawing, painting, performance art and fashion.
Maria has been recognized for the work she has done creating arts programs for youth, receiving the Community Action Partnershipʼs award, and the Blair Dickinson Memorial Prize, awarded for her artwork and role in her community. Recently she was the artist in residence at El Museo del Barrio and Mana Contemporary. Currently she is a visiting instructor in painting and drawing at Pratt institute. Current Exhibitions include Solo at Schneider Museum of Art, A Universal History of Infamy: those of this America curated by Vincent Ramos, Internalized Borders at John Jay College, Citizen at St. John’s University, and Half Human at The Clemente. She is co- curator for Internalized Borders and is a DACA Recipient.
Susan Noyes Platt, P.H.D. taught as an art historian specializing in American Art and the history of Art criticism at Mills College, Washington State University and the University of North Texas, where she was tenured. After relocating to Seattle, Washington, she has lectured both nationally and internationally on art and politics as an academic, journalist, art critic, and activist, most recently in 2017 at the College Art Association in the session “Aesthetic Justice” with the subject “Exposing the Invisible: Art About Detention.” As a curator she has organized many exhibitions, most recently, “Liberty Denied: Immigration, Detention, Deportation.” She currently publishes articles in a range of print and online publications as well as on her own blog. Two recent books are Art and Politics in the 1930s: Modernism, Marxism, Americanism (Midmarch Arts Press, 1999) and Art and Politics Now: Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis (Midmarch Arts Press, 2010).
For more information please contact:
The Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
860 11th Avenue New York, NY 10019