Calendar: The Wave: EXODUS | Movement of our people

Event Description

Join Indigo Arts Alliance (IAA) ​and Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) for The Wave, a series of three online conversations between artists, scholars, and others who are specialists in their fields. This series will create dialogue around the current and future impact of the pandemic on Black and Brown communities locally and globally, and prioritizes the need for generative conversations, together with concrete actions, that are in service of and benefit to our communities. 

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Immigrant and migrant communities of color are heavily impacted by intended and unintended consequences of policies instituted by governments worldwide, and COVID-19 has further exacerbated their plight. According to the International Organization for Migration, the outbreak of this pandemic is the largest mobility crisis the world has ever seen. Border closings, lack of access to food and medical care, racial profiling, and nationalistic responses are putting already vulnerable communities at an even greater risk.

The panel will respond to such pressing issues as it relates to their profession, interests, and research. The panel is hosted by artist Nyugen Smith and moderated by PAMM Curator María Elena Ortiz, and features poet and spoken-word artist Roger Bonair-Agard; respected scholar, producer, activist, educator, author, professor, and Yoruba priestess Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega; and multidisciplinary artist, mother, and former doula Tsedaye Makonnen.

Series Dates
  • The Wave: THE PRE-EXISTING CONDITION(S) | June 9, 12–1pm | More info
  • The Wave: SPIRITUAL SUSTENANCE | June 17, 7–8pm | More info
Panelist Bios

Roger Bonair-Agard is a poet and spoken-word artist born in Trinidad and Tobago who moved to the United States in 1987. His collections of poetry include “Tarnish and Masquerade” (2006); “Gully” (2010); and “Bury My Clothes” (2013), which was a long-list finalist for a National Book Award. He contributed to the collection “Burning Down the House” (2000), a selection of poems from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. He is a two-time National Poetry Slam champion and has appeared on programs such as HBO's Def Poetry Jam and the PBS NewsHour, among others.

Tsedaye Makonnen is an interdisciplinary artist whose studio, curatorial, and research-based practice threads together her identity as a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants and a Black American woman, as well as her experience as a doula and a mother. Makonnen invests in the transhistorical forced migration of Black communities across the globe. She is the recent recipient of a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, DC Public Library Maker Residency, DC Oral History Grant, and Art on the Vine's Savage-Lewis Artist Residency (Martha's Vineyard). She has performed at the Venice Biennale, Art Basel Miami, Chale Wote Street Art Festival (Ghana), El Museo del Barrio, Fendika Cultural Center (Ethiopia), Festival International d'Art Performance (Martinique), Queens Museum, the Smithsonian's and more. She has spoken on migration and intersectional feminism at the Hirshhorn Museum, Black Portraitures, Common Field, New York University, and elsewhere. Her light monuments memorializing Black women across the diaspora have been exhibited at the August Wilson Cultural Center and National Gallery of Art. In 2019, she was on the front cover of the Washington City Paper's People Issue. Her 2019 Venice Biennale interventions in front of the migrant boat that put Black death on display was covered by Artnet. Since the start of 2020, she has been in three exhibitions: at the August Wilson Cultural Center curated by Kilolo Luckett, at Maryland Institute College of Art curated by Dr. Deborah Willis, and at Latchkey Gallery in NYC, including a durational performance at The Africa Center in NYC. She is currently curating a virtual group exhibition with Washington Project for the Arts in DC titled Black Women as/and the Living Archive based on Alisha Wormsley's film Children of NAN .

Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega established the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) in 1976, inspired by a vision to create an international organization to promote and link communities of African descent. She guided the capital campaign for the renovation of the landmark firehouse at 120 East 125th Street, the Center's new home. Dr. Moreno-Vega has been an advocate for cultural equity, cultural studies, and education. As the second director of El Museo del Barrio, one of the founders of the Association of Hispanic Arts, Network of Centers of Color and the Roundtable of Institutions of Color. Dr. Moreno-Vega has contributed to assuring that the contributions of African and African descendants are integral to the lives of civil society in the Americas.

María Elena Ortiz is curator at PAMM, where she has curated the exhibitions william cordova: now's the time, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: A Universe of Fragile Mirrors, Ulla von Brandenburg: It Has a Golden Sun and an Elderly Grey Moon, Firelei Báez: Bloodlines, and Carlos MottaHistories for the Future, among others. Many of her exhibitions have traveled to prestigious institutions, including the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; El Museo de Barrio, New York; and the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago. Ortiz has also developed significant public programs, such as At the Crossroads: Critical Film and Video from the Caribbean and Latinx Art Sessions, along with other symposia related to exhibitions. Formerly, Ortiz was curator of contemporary arts at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros in Mexico City. She has contributed to writing plat­forms such as the Davidoff Art Initiative, Fluent Collaborative, Curating Now, and Terremoto. In 2014 she was awarded the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) and Independent Curators International (ICI) Travel Award for Central America and the Caribbean, and she received the Emerging Curator Award from the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California, in 2012.

Nyugen Smith (USA, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago) is a first-generation Caribbean-American interdisciplinary artist based in Jersey City, NJ and Dallas, TX, where he is a lecturer of Interdisciplinary Art in the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. Through performance, found object sculpture, mixed media drawing, painting, video, photo, and writing, Nyugen deepens his knowledge of historical and present-day conditions of Black African descendants in the diaspora. Trauma, spiritual practices, language, violence, memory, architecture, landscape and climate change are primary concerns in his practice. He holds a BA, Fine Art from Seton Hall University and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Nyugen is the recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Performing and Visual Arts Fund, Franklin Furnace Fund, and Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant.