AAAinA was pleased to announce a panel discussion that brings together three collectively run art initiatives based in New York to discuss artist-driven and collective models of learning. Featuring speakers from Asianish (est. 2018), School for Poetic Computation (est. 2013), and Southeast Queens Artist Alliance (est. 2017), moderated by Özge Ersoy, Mimi Brown & Alp Erçil Senior Curator at Asia Art Archive, and the discussion explored: What can art collectives teach us about the role of artists in the world at large? How do they propose new models for education? What are the possibilities and what are the challenges?
This conversation was part of The Collective School project, co-curated by Asia Art Archive and Gudskul, a Jakarta-based collective that runs a grassroots school for other collectives. Initially presented at AAA Hong Kong and now on view at AAA in America, The Collective School exhibition features the works of eight collectives from across Asia, created in response to selected materials in AAA Collections: Xiamen Dada, known for their audacious performative critiques of China’s art system in the 1980s; Black Artists in Asia, the driving force behind the enduring artist-run biennial VIVA ExCon in the Philippines during the 1990s; and Womanifesto, a feminist art collective and biennial initiative that thrived in Thailand from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s.
Formed in 2018, Asianish is a group of artists and art workers who gather around informally sharing and discussing the nuanced complex iterations of Asian/South/Southeast/East Asian/etc identifying individuals in the New York City area. They are interested in holding space for these “Asian-ish” hybridized identities that sometimes overlap and are also incredibly unique and specific to each individual.
The idea for these gatherings came out of their experience after participating in the NYC Creative Salon in March 2018, around the theme “identity.” That particular discussion was so rich that when it ended, they knew that they needed to do it again because there was a deep desire and an urgency to share intimate, non-white space together, as a group that has come to be called Asianish.
Maia Cruz Palileo (they/them) is a multi-disciplinary, Brooklyn-based artist. Influenced by familial oral histories about migrating to the US from the Philippines alongside the troubling colonial history between the two countries, Maia infuses these narratives using both memory and imagination. Maia is a recipient of the Nancy Graves Grant, Art Matters Grant, Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant, Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Program Grant, Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant, NYFA Painting Fellowship, Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Award and the Astraea Visual Arts Fund Award. Maia received an MFA in sculpture from Brooklyn College, City University of New York and BA in Studio Art at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts and has participated in residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine, Lower East Side Print Shop, New York, Millay Colony, New York and the Joan Mitchell Center, New Orleans. They are a recipient of the 2022-23 Sharpe Walentas Studio Program in Brooklyn, NY.
Gabriel de Guzman is Director of Arts & Chief Curator at Wave Hill, where he oversees the visual and performing arts program at the public garden and cultural center in the Bronx. This includes changing exhibitions in Wave Hill’s art gallery spaces and on the grounds, as well as outdoor music and dance performances and indoor concert series in Armor Hall. Previously, he held curatorial positions at Smack Mellon and The Jewish Museum. As a guest curator, he has also presented shows at Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, BronxArtSpace, Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, Rush Arts Gallery, En Foco at Andrew Freedman Home, Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, and the Bronx Museum’s AIM Biennial. His essays have been published in Nueva Luz: Photographic Journal and in catalogues for the Museum of Arts and Design, the Arsenal Gallery at Central Park, Kenise Barnes Fine Art, and the art institutions mentioned above. He earned an M.A. in art history from Hunter College and a B.A. in art history from the University of Virginia.
School for Poetic Computation
The School for Poetic Computation (SFPC) is an experimental school in New York founded in 2013. The school supports interdisciplinary study in art, code, hardware and critical theory. It is a place for unlearning and learning. SFPC’s programs challenge the capitalistic, heteronormative and patriarchal canon of social and computer sciences. Participants are treated as collaborators and they formally encourage the power they have to determine their experience and education. The special culture of the institution is one grounded on communal care and solidarity across social differences.
SFPC is a platform for people who are Black, Indigenous, of color, trans, gender non-conforming, queer, disabled, survivors, living with and/or from low-income backgrounds, and oppressed to feel empowered that their ideas are important, necessary and central.
Celine Wong Katzman is an independent curator based in New York and Singapore. She is Co-Director of the School for Poetic Computation, an experimental platform for the study of code, hardware, and theory through lenses of artistic intervention and abolitionist politics. Previously, she was Curator at Rhizome, an affiliate of the New Museum. In 2022 and 2023, she mentored and facilitated Art & Code, a residency program at NEW INC. In 2019-2020 she was Curatorial Fellow at the Queens Museum. She holds a B.A. in Visual Art with honors from Brown University.
Melanie Hoff is an artist, organizer, and educator. As co-director of the School for Poetic Computation, and cofounder of Hex House. They strive to cultivate spaces of learning and feeling that encourage honesty, poetry and reconciliation for the ways we are shaped by intersecting systems of classification and power. Melanie engages hacking and performance to express the absurdities of these systems while revealing the encoded ways in which they influence how we choose to live and what choices have been made for us. They teach about sex, technology, and social cybernetics at the School for Poetic Computation, Yale University, New York University, and have shown work at the New Museum, the Queens Museum, and elsewhere.
Southeast Queens Artist Alliance
SEQAA was founded in 2017 to provide community and support for artists and arts workers living in the area of SEQ (South East Queens), and to advocate for quality arts programming in our community. This artist alliance centers SEQ as the area in which it builds community and engages the public with their work.
The Southeast Queens Artists Alliance is comprised of visual artists and writers. Their mission is to nurture local talent and to support quality cultural programming by artists who want to share their work with people in the community and beyond. At the same time, SEQAA wants to participate in the ongoing discussions in the neighborhood around development and gentrification, and the role of art and culture in our community.
Shenna Vaughn is a visual artist, educator, curator and community worker. Born and raised in Queens, NY. She attended FIT and graduated from Hunter College. She has recently received her MBA in Business. Her inspiration draws from the fascination of textures, geometric shapes and silhouettes. Her body of work issues u creative, intuitive and reflects life experiences.
Vaughn has received grants from Queens Council on the Arts, City Artist Corps and one 4 artists chosen for the DFR artist commissioning program. To create murals in downtown Far Rockaway. As well as a recipient of Visual Voices the visual arts curator program at Jamaica Arts Center(JCAL). She is on the committee of Southeast Queens Artist Alliance (SEQAA). Her art has appeared in multiple films, publications, exhibitions internationally and Art Basel nationally. Her pieces are in Beyoncé’s corporate collection and is privately held by the likes of Josh Powell (NBA Player) and Tommy Porter; Mara Schiavocampo (News Personality) just to name a few.
Lisa D. Wade describes herself as a visual, environmental storyteller and caretaker. She creates with intuitive guidance images and spaces to tell a story. She explores many mediums, paint, ink, photography, clay, paper, fabric, found things and words to speak through her. She arranges the spaces that her work sits in to provide further expressions of contour and content. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows around New York City. Her arts commitment to the community led her to partner with local Queens artists to develop a resource and advocacy group, Southeast Queens Artists Alliance (SEQAA).
Her creative projects have also expanded into curating several group exhibitions, and becoming the Project Manager for Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning- ARTWorks Residency Program. Her interests in preservation and archiving stories has led her to become the historian of an Historic Black neighborhood in Queens.
Natali Sabina Bravo-Barbee (born, Córdoba, Argentina) creates works that bridges the boundaries of photography, installation and sculpture. Bravo-Barbee continues to document the world around her via photography, as she has since the age of fifteen. She incorporates alternative processes such as cyanotype into her practice to explore the range of what is possible within her image-based practice.
The artist merges the personal with the political in her practice. She uncovers the lived memories of her family’s flight from Argentina in her childhood while simultaneously investigating postcolonial and feminist topics. Bravo-Barbee holds an MFA from City College, CUNY and a BA, Studio Art from Hunter College, CUNY. She lives and works in Queens, New York and actively participates on the steering committee of the Southeast Queens Artist Alliance (SEQAA). Her works have been exhibited at York College Fine Art Gallery,The Mattatuck Museum, Flushing Town Hall, Queens Botanical Garden and more. She currently has works on view at New Jersey City University and at Galerie Lucida.
Özge Ersoy is Senior Curator at Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong. She was Research and Programming Associate of the 13th Gwangju Biennale (2021–21) and Assistant Curator of Sarkis: Respiro at the Pavilion of Turkey, La Biennale di Venezia (2015). Her recent writings have been included in Curating Under Pressure (Routledge, 2020) and The Constituent Museum (Valiz and L’Internationale, 2018).
The event is funded in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Ruth Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts.