Miriam Romais is a New York based photographer, curator and director for En Foco, Inc. Her dual nationality (U.S.–Brazil) and fluency in both Portuguese and English has given her an insight into the two cultures, and become an important part of her artistic and socio-documentary explorations. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the U.S. and abroad. These include El Taller Latino Americano (current exhibit, Jan 16-March 3, 2012), the Museum of the City of New York, El Museo del Barrio and John Jay Art Gallery (NYC); the Smithsonian Institution (DC); the Field Museum (IL); the American Labor Museum (NJ); Society for Contemporary Photography (MO); the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and the University of California-Berkeley (CA); Southern Light Gallery (TX); Light Work (NY); South Florida Art Center (FL); Photographic Resource Center (MA); the National Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures, Prague, Czech Republic; and the Severoceske Museum, Liberec, Northern Bohemia.
Her work is part of the book, video and HBO project, Americanos: Latino Life in the United States (Little Brown & Co, 1999). Her work has also been published in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Guide to Motorcycling Excellence: Skills, Knowledge and Strategies for Riding Right (Whitehorse Press, 2005), among others. Accomplishments include a Puffin Foundation grant (1999); a residency at Center for Photography at Woodstock (Critic in Residence, 2009), Light Work (1997) and the Photographic Resource Center (1993); two grants from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (1994, 1995); and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rutgers University/MGSA, NJ (1990). Romais has curated a variety of exhibitions with En Foco and independently; most recently, an exhibition for Aperture Foundation (Mexico + Afuera: Contemporary Mexican and Mexican-American Voices, and Selections from En Foco’s Permanent Collection, Sept-Oct 2010); and Tracing Memory for Light Work in Syracuse (Nov-Dec 2008). She also curated the traveling exhibition Fire Without Gold: Works by Photographers of Color (1990–1996), featuring Dawoud Bey, Albert Chong, Carrie Mae Weems, Eli Reed, Jolene Rickard and other established artists. It traveled from Rutgers to the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Photographic Resource Center, and the Yankee Stadium Subway Station as part of the MTA/Arts for Transit program.
Romais was co-chair of the 2010 Society for Photographic Education’s National Conference in Philadelphia, titled Facing Diversity: Leveling the Playing Field in the Photographic Arts. As a panelist/reviewer, she has served with PhotoNOLA; the Ohio Arts Council; FotoFest in Houston; PDN; the Society for Photographic Education; PhotoLucida; Center (formerly the Santa Fe Center for Photography); the New York Foundation for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts; the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; the Center for Photography in Woodstock where she serves on their Board of Advisors. She is also an Advisor for the NYC Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program (2009, 2010).
An avid motorcyclist since 1987, Romais became a Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor in 1994 to help riders gain the knowledge and confidence needed to ride safely. She helped develop the Fairleigh Dickinson University Motorcycle Program two years later. She became a RiderCoach Trainer in 2003, and served as FDU’s Director of RiderCoach Training and Development until 2007. Romais works mostly in NY and NJ training riders and novices, and also works as a trainer for the MSF.
Romais is the Executive Director and Editor for En Foco (www.enfoco.org), a national non-profit organization that supports photographers of Latino/a, African, Asian and Native American heritage through publications and exhibitions. En Foco makes their work visible to the art world while remaining accessible to under-serviced communities, using photography as a vehicle to raise awareness and address social and economic issues that affect peoples of color. Through exhibitions, workshops, events and publications, En Foco uses the photographic arts as an approachable means to promote cultural equity, giving a more inclusive portrayal of the artistic contributions made by artists of color, and a supportive platform for them to grow into different stages of their careers.