West Harlem Art Fund kicks off the fall season with an all-female exhibition & public mural where NATURE MATTERS
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West Harlem Art Fund kicks off the fall season with an all-female exhibition & public mural where NATURE MATTERS

NEW YORK, NY.- Elements presented by the West Harlem Art Fund is a multi-disciplinary exhibition, that features an international roster of women artists in their exhibition space (NP/10) on Governors Island, beginning September 10th.

Also featured is Floral Love Project, a participatory mural led by veteran artist Kraig Blue from September 10th through 12th, and the outdoor sculptural installation Garden Sentinel by NYC-based artist Michele Brody.

Drawing inspiration from a Native American proverb ”Peace comes within the souls of men when they realize their oneness with the Universe when they realize it is really everywhere… it is within each one of us,” artists were carefully selected to convey how nature continues to work in harmony with human life.

Whether creating textile, using live petals, handcrafted design, or new media — Sagarika Sundaram, Yi Hsuan Sung, Yalan Wen, and Valerie Hallier offer the public new approaches for appreciating everyday life and nature.

Kraig Blue will lead Floral Love Project, a celebration of the native flowers that thrive on Governor's Island. This eco-friendly collaborative project with the West Harlem Art Fund will take place during Fall Arts Week on the island. The public will engage in drawing, painting, and mural making.

Kraig Blue is one of over 500 New York City-based artists to receive $5,000.00 through the City Artist Corps Grants program, presented by The New York Foundation of the Arts (NYFA) and the New York Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA).

Garden Sentinels by Michele Brody is made up of 12 – 8’ tall by 55” diameter towers composed of aluminum carpet strips held together by various elements of re-purposed hardware. Within each Garden Sentinel hangs an oversized test tube filled with growing plants within them. The role of each Garden Sentinel is to stand guard over their charges, keeping the plants alive and vibrant for all to enjoy and learn more about the native gardens on Governors Island.

Exhibition artists

Sagarika Sundaram (b. Kolkata) creates felted textiles and objects that investigate the materiality of wool and its relationship to human biology and the psyche. By estranging what is familiar, she creates work that possesses its own unique life. Her work has been exhibited at Frieze New York with Jhaveri Contemporary (2021), Nature Morte (Delhi, 2021), Mana Contemporary (NJ, 2020), Mexico City Art Week (2020). In 2021 Sundaram won a South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund grant and was a finalist for the UC Berkeley South Asia Art Prize. In 2020 she was awarded a Tishman Award for Excellence in Climate, Environmental Justice & Sustainability and a Michael Kalil Endowment for Smart Design. She has an MFA in Textiles from Parsons School of Design, NY, and studied visual communication at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. She also studied at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Sundaram is based between New York and Bangalore.

Yi Hsuan Sung is a textile designer who recently earned her MFA in Textiles from Parsons School of Design in 2020. As a curious maker who loves to integrate handcraft and technology to create biodegradable textiles, and who enjoys discovering the littlest surprises from the natural world, she has been cooking, knitting, weaving, braiding, and gardening a glorious world of flowers from agar and food waste. Her inspiration derives from respect for natural materials and the love of organic colors and textures. Yi Hsuan focuses on making floral pendant lamps with agar. She creates textile lampshades base by knitting with handmade agar yarn and decorates the knitted bases with agar flowers cast from 3D printed molds she designed. Yi Hsuan’s goal is to bring nature’s beauty into interior spaces with a more sustainable material and fabrication process.

Yalan Wen is a visual artist based in New York City who works on computational images, new media installations, and motion graphics. Born and raised in Taiwan, she developed her curiosity about art and science by observing nature. Her work explores the subtle events that happen beyond the surface, finding the balance between simplicity and subtle philosophical interpretations. Graphic design is the foundation of her visual language, which she continued to develop in the MFA Computer Arts program at the School of Visual Arts. Her most recent artworks incorporate creative programming, experimental music composition, visual graphics, and paintings.

Multimedia artist Valérie Hallier came to the US with a Fulbright Scholarship from her native Paris, France. She later graduated from the School of Visual Arts (Computer Arts). Through visualizing sounds such as screaming or serializing autobiographical data such as her reproductive history, Hallier’s work redefines portraiture in the forms of mixed-media series, immersive installations, and interactive public art. Her work challenges the patriarchal segregation created between the natural, the human, and the technology realms despite their inherent fusion. Hallier current explorations with flower petals extends to gender roles and the notion of deflowering, as in French, losing one’s freshness.

Featured Sculptor

Michele Brody was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1967, she received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1989 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994. Utilizing her strong background in the liberal arts, she creates site-specific, mixed-media installations and works of public art that are generated by the history, culture, environment, and architecture of a wide range of exhibition spaces. While living and working in such places as France, Costa Rica, California, the Midwest, Germany, and her home of New York, her art career has developed into a process of working in collaboration with each new community as a means towards developing an interpretation of the sense of a place as an outsider looking in.

Mural Artist

Kraig Blue is a born and bred native New Yorker from The Bronx. From 2005 to 2015 he lived throughout Los Angeles county; returning to his hometown in 2016. His most recent endeavor is exploring multimedia sculpture using found materials as metaphors to explore complex socially constructed ideologies and paradigms; creating multilayered assemblages as altars to become vehicles for contemplation and dialogue.

He received his BFA (2015) at the Laguna College of Art & Design in figurative sculpture, painting, and drawing, and his MFA in Studio Art from The City College of New York (2019). He is the recipient of two Conner Scholarship awards and in 2018 the Therese McCabe Ralston Conner Fellowship to study abroad throughout Cuba, and most recently he was awarded The Bronx Recognizes Its Own 2021 (BRIO) visual artist award.

For twenty-five years he has been a published illustrator, arts educator, musician, and exhibiting visual artist; with exhibitions in New York, Washington, DC, New Orleans, Vermont, and Southern California. Currently, he is working with the Brooklyn Museum in conjunction with their criminal justice diversion program Project Reset and the Gallery Studio Programs. In 2021 he is the recipient of the Bronx River Art Center’s Artist Studio Program (ASP).

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