Art at First Presents: Invincible Beings
New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), in collaboration with The First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York, invites you to a group exhibition of works by Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program (IAP) alumni titled Invincible Beings.
Invincible Beings brings together artworks by twenty-five artists from NYFA’s Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program. Curated by Zahra Banyamerian, Program Officer at NYFA Learning, This exhibition celebrates different ways of seeing nurtured by the artists’ movement within and between places. The artists represented use different mediums and materials and explore various visual and conceptual strategies to reflect on their invincible beings in the world as they make sense of the past, present, and future.
Through the Immigrant Artist Program (IAP), the New York Foundation for the Arts is building and serving a community of artists with diverse backgrounds who share the experience of immigration. We connect artists with services and resources to foster their creative careers, gain support and exposure for their work, and integrate into the cultural world of New York and beyond while upholding their distinct identities.
Thursday, February 4 from 4-5 p.m.
First Church members are welcome to join the artists at an opening reception on Thursday, February 4 from 4-5 p.m. Please register here.
Feel free to peruse the gallery below, click on an image to learn more about the piece and artist!
You are Doing Ok, 2016, Looping Animation,
Untitled (Goat), 2017, Single channel HD, 0:30 loop
About the Artists
Mrinalini Aggarwal (Supermrin) Supermrin is a Visiting Artist at the Graduate Architecture and Urban Design (GAUD) Program at Pratt Institute, and an Assistant Professor of Art at the School of Art, University of Cincinnati. She holds an MFA degree from the San Francisco Art Institute, California and an undergraduate degree in Exhibition Design from the National Institute of Design, India. Her work has been exhibited at venues across the United States and Asia, including the Headlands Center for the Arts, The Old San Francisco Mint, Root Division, The First Presbyterian Church of New York, ChaShaMa Space, and the India Habitat Center in New Delhi. Supermrin is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design Fellowship (2018-20), the New York Foundation for the Arts Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program (2019), and the Graduate Fellowship Residency Award at the Headlands Center for the Arts (2017). She has served as a juror for the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Individual Artist Grants, and has been awarded the Creative Capital “On our Radar” distinction for 2021. Supermrin founded Streetlight in 2016 as a critical spatial research and design laboratory for decolonizing public space. She is presently engaged in public arts projects with the City of Oakland and ProArts Gallery and COMMONS in Oakland, CA.
Katya Akuma is an interdisciplinary artist who focuses on using ubiquitous, overlooked, cultural-rich materials, to explore questions of identity and belonging drawing upon her personal experience as an immigrant who has lived and worked in several countries.
Katya has developed a unique storytelling technique involving densely layered discarded leather and found objects that often depict themes of history, collective memory and nostalgia. Through her use of recycled medium, she seeks to highlight the creative potential of repurposed materials while inviting the audience to reconsider the environmental impact of their consumption and disposal.
Katya Akuma is a founder of Council for Fashion and Social Change, that focuses on helping other non-profit organizations raise funding through collaborations with established brands while providing young emerging designers and artists with a platform to showcase their talent.
Akuma is currently an Artist in Residence at Andrew Freedman Home. Her works were recently exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art Pop Rally. She was selected and participated in the Parsons Design Fellowship, which was launched by Parsons, The New School for Design and the Urban Zen Foundation for The Design, Organization, Training Center (D.O.T) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Akuma has a MA in Fashion Studies from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.
Born and raised in Brazil, Júlia Brandão works primarily in textile, installation, and performance. Her multidisciplinary practice questions the body in relation to displacement and memory. In creating paintings and sculptural pieces with repurposed fabric, her work investigates the limits and possibilities of the female body in the spaces it inhabits. Reflecting upon the conception of ‘home’ not only as a physical space but also as an imagined one, a mental place of identity, Brandão’s work is a representation of the threshold across and in between borders. Her work has been presented at NARS Foundation (New York), Jane Lombard Gallery (New York), Galleri Silk (Sweden), Galeria Sé (São Paulo), among others. Brandão currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Buenos Aires, 1982. Lives and works in Brooklyn.
She has exhibited individually at Galería Vasari, Buenos Aires (Towards Dissolution, 2015), and Alejandra Von Hartz Gallery, Miami. She has participated in several international group and two-person gallery and museum shows, amongst which A su lado, at Galería Vasari in Buenos Aires (2019); Le Dégel, at Julio Artist-run Space Paris (2017); My Feet have lost Memory of Softness, at The Franklin Chicago (2016); Assemblage #1, at Space In Progress chez Galerie 0fr (2016), Paris; Romántico, at Fundación PROA, Buenos Aires (2014); and Carnets d’Inspiration+, at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2010).
She was awarded the First Mention at XVII Premio Klemm 2013. In 2009-2010 she was awarded a 6-months residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, and participated in the Biennale Internationale du Lin de Portneuf, Québec, Canada, where she was also given a 15-days residency. She was part of NYFA’s 2020 Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program.
She recently wrote an essay on Medardo Rosso’s work for a catalogue of the Art Institute of Chicago.
She earned her MFA in Studio (Fiber and Material Studies department), at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a full Merit New Artist Society Scholarship.
Based in Queens, NY, Hedwig Brouckaert is a Chile-born, Belgian-American artist working with mass media imagery as source material to create personal works. Her artistic practice consists of drawing, digital and mixed media, and site specific installations. She obtained an MFA from the University of California, Davis, after a Master’s Degree in Sculpture and a Postgraduate Degree at the Higher Institute for Fine Arts in Belgium. She has received several Artist Grants from the Flemish Government in Belgium, and fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation – Bellagio (IT), Liguria Study Center Bogliasco (IT), Cité Internationale des Arts Paris, Hafnarborg Museum of Iceland, Yaddo (NY), Anderson Ranch (CO), NYFA Immigrant Artist Program. Her work was presented in ‘Re/pro/ducing Complexity’ at the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens (BE), Städtische Galerie Villa Zanders (DE), VOLTA NY (2014 & 2018), Kentler International Drawing Space (NY), Bangkok Art and Culture Center (TH), and Pallazo Vendramin Costa (Venice IT). Her work was featured in the NYT and the Brooklyn Rail.
Zorica Čolić is an artist whose media range from interventions in found situations, installations and autonomous sculpture, to video, sound, discursive activities and appropriated materials. Her art practice aims at developing a heterogeneous approach, intentionally refusing to adopt the conventional role of the “artist”, continuously adapting and cross-referencing different points of activity, with a goal to contribute in new and meaningful ways to the broader socio-political spheres.
Through various hybridized forms of display, she explores the complex relationships between politics, art and consumer worlds, examining how our lives are regulated or defined by taste, by products, and by mass-distributed role models. This results in an artistic discourse that is predicated on intersecting personal and political, with a thorough examination of the stable common-sense social categories. The installations and interventions she creates often challenge the audience to confront the unpleasant, disturbing topics – such as the anomalies and disappointing legacy of capitalism, and the resultant issues of depression and anxiety. As a result, the projects invite further dialogue, serving as a reminder of the excesses and distortions of contemporary life.
Carin Kulb Dangot is a painter and sculptor, and she is interested in the materiality and plastic qualities of paint in surfaces––such as canvas, aluminum, and mylar- and in three-dimensional pieces. Her work has been exhibited in art venues such as NY Live Arts (NY), Christie’s (NY), The Cluster Gallery (NY), Deanna Evans Project (NY), Governors Island (GIAF) (NY), Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery (NY), Soho20 (NY), Augusta Savage Gallery (MA), Casa Galeria (São Paulo), and the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture – MUBE (São Paulo).
In 2012, she was awarded both the Leonard Rosenfeld Merit Scholarship and Lloyd Sherwood Grant for outstanding work in non-objective art from the Art Students League; and, in 2020, with the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program.
Ana Maria is a Brazilian artist and educator based in New York. She received her masters degree in Art and Art Education from Columbia University in 2016, and in 2018 she was awarded a fellowship to the New York Foundation for the Arts Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program. Most recently, she received a scholarship to attend the MFA program at SUNY New Paltz, where she is also the Visiting Artist Director and the president of the Student Art Alliance.
As both an artist and an educator, Ana is interested in experimentation, experiences of release and constraint, expansion and collapse. Her work investigates themes of hysteria, as well as the body and identity through the lens of feminist theory and psychoanalysis. Lately, Ana has been exploring the materiality of fibers and textiles, creating sculptural paintings that visually speak what Elaine Showalter called a “feminine protolanguage.”
Hao Feng is an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture, painting, photography, video, graphic design, and performance. She was honored with two solo exhibitions at the Gallery of Amerasia Bank (NY) and Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery (NJ). Her work has been exhibited at many galleries & venues in New York & New Jersey as well as the collections of the International Olympic Committee (Switzerland), the National Museum of China, and the National Library of China.
Nava Gidanian-Kagan is an Iranian-Israeli artist based in Long Island City. Our connection to the divine/nature and to each other is the heart of her work.
She received numerous awards including: The Terra Foundation for American Art (2014), The Elisabeth Greenshields Foundation Award (2014), The Eileen S. Kaminsky Foundation Residency award at MANA Contemporary (2017) and featured in: New American Paintings Magazine (2019) and Studio Visit Magazines (2020).
Nava has exhibited both nationally and internationally including: The Jewish Museum of New Jersey (2019), The Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, NY (2017), Dedee Shattuck Gallery, MA (2017), Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation, Mana Contemporary, Jersey City (2017), The Experimental Gallery, New York (2016), Flux Factory, New York (2016), A.I.R Gallery, New York (2016), Sotheby’s, New York (2016), Panepinto Galleries, New Jersey (2015), Collier West Gallery, New York (2015), Wilkinson Hall Gallery, New York (2015), Indigo Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2012), Burchfield Penney Art Museum, Buffalo, NY, (2012), Marion Art Gallery, Fredonia, NY (2012), Olean Public Library Gallery, Olean, NY (2011), BAS, Buffalo, NY (2011), Echo Art Fair, Buffalo, NY (2011), Gallery 33, Tel-Aviv, Israel (2006), ISA Gallery, Umbria, Italy (2004/5) and Stern Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel.
Nava participated in the Residency programs at: The International School of Painting, Drawing & Sculpture in Umbria, Italy (2005, 2004) and The Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain (2007). She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the New York Academy of Art (2015), the Jerusalem Studio School (2006).
Floor Grootenhuis is a Dutch-Kenyan contemporary artist based in NY. Her performative practice is focused on invitation, connection and identity. Floor has lived and worked across the world including Kenya, The Netherlands, Spain, Indonesia, and now NYC. Her upbringing and professional work in the field of humanitarian assistance influence her contemporary, performative and collaborative practice.
In her work Floor values the common experience within our diverse society. She has a desire to listen, learn, and intimately connect with others through an open and experimental platform. Her collaborative research-based approach uses a variety of media. The communities she is connected to are her key collaborators. Her art deals with the body and our collective relationship to each other. In her latest works, Floor partnered with biologists to bring science and art closer to the public.
Floor is currently an artist-in-residence/research scholar at the Raper Lab in the Hunter College Department of Biological Sciences. She has an MFA in Social Practice from Queens College, CUNY and was a More Art Engaging Artist 2017 fellow and part of the NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentorship Program 2018/19. She has a Masters in Human Geography from the University of the Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Floor has received grants from Social Practice Queens through the Arts, Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, and Vilcek Foundation and Queens Art Intervention. The Queens Museum, the Godwin-Ternbach Museum and Five Myles Gallery in New York have exhibited her work as well as the Centre de Cultura Contemporània in Barcelona, Spain. Floor’s pieces live in private collections in Kenya, South Africa, Australia, USA, Thailand, Indonesia and the Netherlands.
Suburban-New-Zealand raised bodega-boy Vinay Hira is a marine and wine scientist and performance and visual artist based in Manhattan. An obsession with postmodernism and intersectional identity politics, he puts a cultural-capitalist leaning on his irreverent, sardonic branding of his own existence.
Coney Ishida is a New York-based character artist. She likes to create characters. She received NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program 2019. She is studying painting, drawing, printmaking and animation. She wants to make people smile with her artwork.
Jaejoon Jang lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and Baltimore, MD. He completed an M.F.A. and B.F.A. at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Before studying art, he studied mechanical engineering in Hongik university, Seoul, South Korea. He participated in the Vermont Studio Center Residency (VT), MASS MoCA Residency (MA), Carrie Able Gallery Artists In Residence (NY) and NYFA Immigrant Artist Program.
Geuryung Lee was born and raised in South Korea. After graduating from Pratt Institute in New York City with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, she attended SUNY New Paltz and earned a Master of Fine Arts in Painting & Drawing and a second Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking. Ms. Lee attended artist’s residency programs at: Chashama in NY; Art Letters & Numbers in NY; the Woodstock School of Art in NY; Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York; the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont; and the Green Olive Arts in Tetouan, Morocco. Her solo and group exhibitions have included locations such as New York NY; London, England; Assisi, Italy; Tetouan, Morocco; Seoul, Korea; Beijing, China; and Kwangju, Korea. Recently, she introduced her artwork at the New York Foundation of Art as an artist in the 2020 NYFA Immigrant Mentoring Program.
Sizhu Li is a Chinese-born multi-disciplinary artist based in New York. Lived and educated on two different continents, Li has developed a unique visual language of immersive kinetic installations to illustrate her understanding of the universe, society, and nature, which was influenced by Eastern wisdom and Western philosophy. In 2018, she graduated from MICA with the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship, an annual national award granted to only ten students chosen from Top 10 art schools in the US.
Li’s installation works have exhibited at Spring/Break, Flux Factory, the Governors Island Art Fair, Chashama Gallery, and the Baltimore–Washington International Airport, among other local and international group shows. She just had her successful solo show What is WATT at Maryland Howard County Center for the Arts, and she has an upcoming solo show at Amerasia Bank Art Gallery (2021).
Orr Menirom received her MFA from the Film, Video, New Media and Animation department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA from Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem. She attended residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, The Jan Van Eyck Academy, ISCP and NARS Foundation. Her work was exhibited at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Houldsworth Gallery and Rixc Center for New Media Culture, among other venues.
j.p.mot (full name: Jean-Pierre Abdelrohman Minh Mot Chen Hadjj Yakop a.k.a. by his legal name: Jean-Pierre Mot), a first-generation born Khmer-Canadian, conceptual artist/visual essayist, child of Chams refugees emigrants who was born and raised in Montreal and is currently living and working in New York. He completed a BFA in Visual and New Media Art and an MA in International Development, both at the University of Quebec in Montreal; He also received an MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University in New York. He has been supported, in the past, by the Montreal Art Council, the Quebec art and Letter Council, the Canada Art Council, the NARS Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Art, the Foundation for Contemporary Art in New York, the Asian Art Archive in America and the Trust for Governors Island.
Ono creates installations, photographs and films that investigate the process of transformation in nature and human life using geopoetics. He endeavours to rediscover the questions of existence and culture by engaging with poetry, science and philosophy. Ono received his MFA from Parsons School of Design in 2015. Prior to relocating to New York, he was an international video journalist based in Asia. His works have been shown extensively around the world including: Unfinished Festival, Bucharest (2020); Ars Electronica Festival, Linz (2020); 38th EVA International – Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art, Limerick, (2018); among many others. In 2020, Ono participated in an international art payload, Sojourner 2020 curated by MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative, and delivered his three artworks on board SpaceX CRS-20 to the International Space Station in Low-Earth Orbit.
Ernesto Ortiz Leyva was born in Fort Bliss army base in El Paso, Texas to Mexican immigrants from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. He received his BFA in Painting and Drawing from the California College of the Arts in 2005. In 2003 he attended the École supérieure d’art et de design Marseille- Méditerranée, in Marseille, France. He received an MFA degree in Painting and Drawing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2014. In 2017, Ernesto was the Artist in Residence at the International Print Center of New York, IPCNY,. His work has recently been exhibited at the Editions/ Artist Book Fair and Art on Paper in Manhattan. His drawings, paintings, and etchings explore themes of sexual vulnerability, social conflict and political aggression, expressed in a unique variety of satiric, surreal and grotesque modes, drawn from a wide range of pictorial influences. He recently taught printmaking at City University of New York in Staten Island and he currently lives and works in Brooklyn.
Bat-Ami Rivlin (b. 1991) is a New York based artist. Rivlin utilizes found and surplus objects to create installation and sculptural works that explore conceptual spaces between object ontology, material function, and bodily characteristics. Rivlin received her MFA from Columbia University in 2019 and her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2016. She has exhibited in such venues as the Jewish Museum, Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Knockdown Center, Times Square Space, Bahnhof Gallery, M 2 3, Latchkey Gallery and more. Rivlin was selected as artist-in-residence at NADA House Studio Residency, NARS Foundation Residency, Arts Letters & Numbers Residency, and SVA Sculpture and New Media Residency. Rivlin was recently awarded the A.I.R. Gallery fellowship for the 2020-2021 year.
Ghislaine Sabiti is an interdisciplinary French/American Congolese-born artist, a painter, costume designer, and teaching artist who was raised on the outskirts of Paris, France and is now based in New York. She studied fine art at Atelier Chantier du Coq and graduated with honors in fashion design from Atelier Chardon Savard in Paris, France. She studies glass lamp-work and photo decals at Urban Glass. She highlights the technical form used in both African and European arts, which stress form and color.
Sabiti completed a fellowship at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute Cycle VIII of the Spring ICA, and New York foundation of the Arts Immigrant Artist Program. Her work has been exhibited and commissioned nationally and internationally in France and the U.S. in numerous group exhibitions and solo shows including galleries and museum such as El Teatro del Museo Del Barrio, Occupy Museum Debt Fair at the Whitney Biennial, Atelier Rosal, Westfield State University Arno Maris Gallery, Rio Gallery, shapeshifterlab, Harlem School of the Arts, Brooklyn Film and Art Festival and Small Space Fest, and Poe Park Visitor Center. Ghislaine is nominated by Chashama for an artist residency at the Marcel Breuer House Pocantico Center/Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Jamaica Center and Learning, Urban glass, Chashama and Commission for the Lexington Hotel, New York, Salon du Prêt-à-Porter. Sabiti was also an award winner for the Dupont De Nemours hosiery design competition for DIM Company.
Leila Seyedzadeh’s work addresses imaginary landscapes and focuses on natural subjects such as mountains extracted from the subconscious. It is as if she is attaching pieces of her memories, and by doing so, she is destroying their meaning, thus creating a landscape immersed in placelessness.
Leila Seyedzadeh is an Iranian interdisciplinary artist based in New York and received her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2019 and BFA from The University of Science and Culture in 2014. She was a recipient of the H.Lee Hirsche prize and Soma Summer fellowship at Yale School of Art. She has been invited to participate in exhibitions, including shows at The border project space, High line nine Gallery, The Ford Foundation, Dubai art fair, and Dastan Gallery. Her work is represented in institutional exhibitions in the US and Iran, including Green Hall Gallery at Yale University and Ahvaz Contemporary Art museum in Iran. She completed her residency at Nars and NYFA in New York in 2020 and SOMA in Mexico in City in 2018.
Beverly Tu is a Taiwanese born and New York based fashion designer and mixed media artist that focuses on fabric manipulation, textiles, beading, and textures. Her works have been showcased in Atlantic City Fashion Week, Stylepointe Fashion show and many art galleries in New York. Most of her works emphasize the movement with organic curved lines and spontaneity of the creative process in the making. Combining various materials, technologies and found objects to create hybrid forms that address the relationship and connection between texture, pattern, abstraction, femininity, and expression. The inspiration can be drawn from the places and cultures where she visited in the past or from her previous explorations of materials. A process of channeling the past to present, re-imagining and re-assigning the world in which she exists.
Agnieszka Wszolkowska was born in Poland and received her BA in Fine Arts from Rutgers University, with a concentration in painting and anthropology and Masters of Educations from Seton Hall. She is currently on the faculty of the Yard School of Art in Montclair, NJ, and Art Educator at Rosa Parks Community School in Orange, NJ. She lives and works in Jersey City, where she has been regularly featured on the Jersey City Artist Tour. Her work has been exhibited in group and solo shows in New Jersey and internationally.