Tue | Nov 30, 2021

NLS creates vibrant space for artists

Published:Sunday | March 14, 2021 | 12:18 AM
Simone Leigh speaking at the Edna Manley College
Simone Leigh speaking at the Edna Manley College
Conceptual photo work by NLS resident Sasha-Kay Hinds who is a final year student at the Edna Manley College.
Conceptual photo work by NLS resident Sasha-Kay Hinds who is a final year student at the Edna Manley College.

Sentinel, 2019 – sculpture by Simone Leigh.
Sentinel, 2019 – sculpture by Simone Leigh.
Conceptual photo work by NLS resident Joni Gordon who is a graduate of Edna Manley College.
Conceptual photo work by NLS resident Joni Gordon who is a graduate of Edna Manley College.
Brick House – sculpture by Simone Leigh at the High Line.
Brick House – sculpture by Simone Leigh at the High Line.
NLS studio and exhibition space.
NLS studio and exhibition space.
La Practica residents with programme facilitator Nicole Smythe-Johnson
La Practica residents with programme facilitator Nicole Smythe-Johnson
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New Local Space (NLS) continues to support artists with direct funding, mentorship, and a platform for experimentation, developing local talent and connections to leading international art institutions and practitioners in the diaspora.

This year, NLS added a 12-week art residency – La Práctica – to its programmes based on a model by art organisation Beta Local, Puerto Rico. Four artists were awarded private studios, work stipends, and mentorship from guest faculty. Faculty included internationally renowned New York-based artist Lorna Simpson, Jamaican curator Nicole Smythe-Johnson, Trinidadian performance artist-writer Amanda T. McIntyre, Puerto Rican artist Sofía Gallisa Muriente, Chilean art historian Lucy Quezada, and Chilean artist Francisco Gonzalez Castro.

Overall, residents received more than J$1million in support, which culminates in a public exhibition.

“We wanted to help artists navigate the period after art school when it’s difficult to maintain an artistic practice. We focused on sparking curiosity about the future of their practices and building research skills to feed their practices. We also cultivated practical skills to engage opportunities ... writing applications to residencies and educational institutions, presenting and writing about their work. Finally, there was the community aspect of building relationships with each other,” stated Nicole Smythe-Johnson, La Práctica programme facilitator and host of the NLS podcast.

The La Práctica residents are Joni Gordon, Sasha-Kay Hinds, Matthew McCarthy, and Desanna Watson.

Gordon examines the dichotomy of racial discrimination through the United States Government’s Work and Travel programme, using photography and sculpture to express the physicality of this trauma.

Hinds deconstructs her experience with teenage pregnancy through performance, video, and photography, exploring her own subjectivity while highlighting the lack in legislative support for women’s and girls’ reproductive health and rights against abuse.

McCarthy tests boundaries between process and completion through a daily practice of journal writing interpreted as choreographed performative painting.

Watson examines factors influencing ownership and distribution of property in Jamaica, such as domestication and privilege, or lack thereof, attached to skin tone, money, and family name in the acquisition of property.

MOTIVATED

Residents said they felt motivated at the end of the 12 weeks. “This programme set a fire under me” stated Gordon, a graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA).

“It was hectic, but really good ... . I was going through a period where I wanted to change careers from art, but because I go through this, it’s more rewarding. You can actually see the end result that you been working on,” said Hinds.

“Important outcomes are that an overwhelming majority of artists who leave NLS programmes go on to graduate degrees and scholarships from leading institutions and participate in important projects and exhibitions. Artists are in a better position to determine what kind of art practices they are cultivating and how they might change the landscape and lay a better foundation for other artists. A graduate degree increases earning potential also,” said Deborah Anzinger, founder of NLS.

In spite of COVID-19-related decrease in travel, NLS serves regional practitioners with the Curatorial and Art Writing Fellowship open to Caribbean practitioners. Ada M. Patterson is awarded the fellowship for a project examining queer performance in Barbados through the shattered lens of crisis and precarity. NLS awarded Patterson a work stipend of J$300,000 with mentorship from Daniella Rose King (adjunct curator, Caribbean Diasporic Art, Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational, Tate, UK). Patterson was supported by a committee including Amanda T. McIntyre (writer, Trinidad and Tobago), Dave Williams (choreographer, Trinidad and Tobago), Jovante Anderson (writer, Jamaica) and Ronald Cummings (assistant professor, Brock University).

PARTNERSHIP

Through a partnership with EMCVPA last month, NLS welcomed Guest Artist Simone Leigh, who gave a public talk and private studio visits with final-year students there.

Leigh’s contributions to the global art world are monumental, incorporating sculpture, video, and installation in elevating black women’s subjectivities. Born in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois, to Jamaican immigrants, Leigh’s career has flourished, recently being selected to represent the United States at the 59th Venice Biennial and commissioned for the High Line Plinth in New York City for her sculpture ‘Brick House’. Other notable projects include ‘The Free People’s Medical Clinic’ at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; a project commissioned by Creative Time; a public installation presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem at Marcus Garvey Park, New York; and a solo exhibition at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Miriam Hinds-Smith, dean of the School of Visual Art, EMCVPA, remarked on the partnership with NLS. “I am so pleased to be afforded the opportunity to welcome Simone Leigh. This is a momentous occasion, particularly for us at the School of Visual Art. It is a significant opportunity to have been provided access to an artist that transcends with her work gender, issues of race, of the dynamics of power … . This has been engineered and brought to fruition by the relentless energy of Deborah Anzinger and Nicole Smythe-Johnson,” stated Hinds-Smith

“For students who received studio visits, the interaction has been beneficial. Indeed it was our pleasure to engage as these kinds of conversations are necessary to the growth of the artist,” said Hinds-Smith about Leigh’s studio visits with final-year students.

The public talk can be accessed at NLS In podcast on iTunes. NLS programming is made possible through partnership with Creative Sounds Limited and the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development. For more information contact info@NLSkingston@gmail.com or visit www.NLSKingston.org.