Bronx Museum names Jasmine Wahi Holly Block Social Justice Curator

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Bronx Museum names Jasmine Wahi Holly Block Social Justice Curator
Portrait of Jasmine Wahi. Courtesy of The Bronx Museum of the Arts.

BRONX, NY.- The Bronx Museum of the Arts announced the appointment of Jasmine Wahi as the Holly Block Social Justice Curator for exhibitions in 2021, which marks the museum’s 50th anniversary. In the role, Wahi will curate exhibitions that highlight the museum’s rich history of social activism, with a focus on both emerging and established artists responding to The Bronx.

“I’m inspired to join an institution whose mission of inclusivity reflects my own values as a curator,” said Jasmine Wahi, Holly Block Social Justice Curator at The Bronx Museum of the Arts. “I look forward to bringing dynamic programming that channels the longstanding history of activism and radicalism for which the Bronx Museum is known, and am excited for the future of what that looks like both regionally and at a global scale.”

Wahi is a curator, activist, TEDx speaker, and a founder and co-director of Project for Empty Space, a not-for-profit organization that creates multidisciplinary art exhibitions and programming that encourage social dialogue, education, and systemic change through the support of both artists and communities. In January of 2020, Wahi co-curated Abortion Is Normal, a two-part emergency exhibition co-organized by Marilyn Minter, Gina Nanni, Laurie Simmons, and Sandy Tait. The exhibition received wide critical acclaim and will tour cross country as part of an advocacy campaign on reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood PAC efforts in upcoming 2020 elections.

Wahi joins the museum just ahead of its dynamic Spring program, including its Visionary Duos Gala on March 2 and two major solo exhibitions: Jose Parla: It’s Yours, opening February 26th, and Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch, on view this coming April. This fall, the museum celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the AIM Fellowship this year, a program which has provided vital resources to once emerging and now established artists.

“Jasmine’s dedication to creating equitable spaces for audiences and artists reflects the foundation and the future of our museum, and we’re excited for the fresh perspective she will bring,” said Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Interim Director, Klaudio Rodriguez.

Named after the late visionary Director of the Bronx Museum, the position carries on Holly Block’s legacy as a pioneering arts administrator who developed a world-class institution while remaining deeply rooted in the community, history, and culture of the Bronx. Her achievements include bringing artist and AIM Fellow Sarah Sze to the Venice Biennial and lifting admission fees in 2012, creating one of the only free major art museums in New York City.

Jasmine Wahi is a Curator, Activist, TEDx Speaker, and in 2010 became the Founder and Co-Director of Project for Empty Space, a not-for-profit organization that creates multidisciplinary art exhibitions and programming that encourage social dialogue, education, and systemic change through the support of both artists and communities. Her practice predominantly focuses on issues of femme empowerment, complicating binary structures within social discourses, and exploring multipositional cultural identities through the lens of intersectional feminism.

In 2015, Ms. Wahi joined Rebecca Jampol to open a brick and mortar gallery for Project for Empty Space in Newark, NJ, which increased the organization's ability to stage thoughtful exhibitions and offer artist-in-residency opportunities – with past AIR participants including Derick Adams (2015) and Nina Chanel Abney (2015). In 2018, she served as the Co-Chair “Rape, Radicality, and Representation” for the College Art Association's Day of Panels with The Feminist Art Project (TFAP). In 2019, she spoke at TEDxNJIT on the idea of Resilience. In addition to her other work, Ms. Wahi is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts: MFA Fine Arts department. She is a former board member of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC), and a volunteer instructor for the Girls Educational Mentoring Services (GEMS) group.

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