Here We Are
February 15 - March 14, 2020
School of Visual Arts (SVA) presents “Here We Are,” an exhibition of works by SVA’s Black Student Union (BSU). Curated by BFA Fine Arts student Emmanuel Massillon, the exhibition is on view Saturday, February 15, through Saturday, March 14, at the SVA Gramercy Gallery, 209 East 23rd Street, New York City.
“Here We Are” is an exhibition that addresses and highlights unique points of view by students of the BSU at SVA. Through a variety of different media, the artists explore many different themes of blackness through their own artistic expression. Works in this exhibition include paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography, video and performance.
Julian Alexander (BFA Illustration) uses empathy and studies of his subjects to relay nuances of the black and brown American experience. Through Alexander’s dynamic paintings, the viewer is diverted from their own preconceived notions surrounding self-identity and race, working to spark conversation from a portrayal of the complexities found in everyday life.
Stephanie Shay Anderson (BFA Photography and Video) transforms herself and others through a creative process that shines a bright light on a piece of who the subject is. Using the barest form of these individuals to bring out pure, relatable emotions, Anderson unapologetically presents the human body in order to emphasize the relationships between every living being.
Kaya Balugo (BFA Film) explores the traditional family dynamics and values surrounding topics of mental health and spirituality. Balugo presents intricacies of the human state of being while placed in various situations, showing how one adapts and grows in unique ways while simultaneously questioning typical generational values.
Darin Cooper (BFA Photography and Video) creates work about the black experience in America, including how it is both so beautiful yet so horrific, while exploring its role in shaping both individual and community.
Ryan Cosbert (BFA Fine Arts) strives to normalize visual representations of the black community while speaking to the effect of traumas inflicted upon their lives. Her bright, vivid drawings and paintings emerge from her own emotions and the colors she sees.
Angelica Dalzon (BFA Illustration) creates illustrations and paintings as a device to delve further into her spirituality, mental health and blackness, constantly confronting her identity. Dalzon incorporates the significance of ancestral ties, inspired by the beautiful versatility of black women who have paved the way before her, and the need of representation in her community.
The work of Bryan Fernandez (BFA Fine Arts) focuses on social, cultural and political issues faced by Afro-Latinx Americans by way of his own personal narratives. Looking toward finding solutions, Fernandez employs the iconography and symbols found within his Dominican heritage and life in Washington Heights to identify external forces of oppression (including American society, class and colonialism) in the struggles affecting his community.
Krista Gay (BFA Photography and Video) centers her work around the black experience and the question of how to live freely in the black body. Often utilizing self-portraiture, Gay’s photographic work asks the viewer to think about their own relationship to blackness.
Tremaine Johnson (BFA Cartooning) uses his illustrations to project a more inspiring world around and within himself, delighting in the experience of expression and communication.
Emmanuel Massillon (BFA Fine Arts) explores the complex history of race, identity, culture and its relation to people of African descent through various media including painting, photography and sculpture. His upbringing in the inner city of Washington D.C. shapes the narratives conveyed through his work, encompassing day-to-day life and politically charged topics, with an aim to initiate conversations among viewers.
Juried exhibitions are a way for SVA’s student body to recognize the achievements of their classmates. Artists are selected from a large pool of applicants to the annual SVA Galleries call for entries, whose submissions undergo a rigorous examination of presented materials, including documentation of work and artist statements.