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Artivist Working Group

As part of the creative strategy for the 14th AWID International Forum, the Artist Working Group gathers 12 feminist artists and collectives from a spectrum of regions, backgrounds and movements. The members will support with ideating, developing, and implementing creative proposals, strategies, and perspectives that center and showcase Feminist Realities from various parts of the world. The group brings together multiple artistic disciplines, through which they will curate and produce exhibitions, films, and experiential/interactive spaces both online and at the Forum.

Alejandra Laprea

Forum Artist Working Group member - Alejandra Laprea

Alejandra is a feminist filmmaker from Guyana and the first woman sound engineer in the Venezuelan film industry. She is the screenwriter for the documentaries “Cuando la brújula marcó al Sur” [When the compass pointed South], “Proyecto Independencia” [Project Independence] “Chávez Infinito” [Infinite Chavez], director and screenwriter for the documentary “El Alma de mis Muñecas” [The Soul of my Dolls] on the artisan women who make traditional Venezuelan dolls, as well as the TV micro-documentary series “Resteadas en la Historia” [Erased from History] on women’s contributions to history, among other productions.

Alejandra is a member of La Araña Feminista [The Feminist Spider] Network, which brings together feminist collectives and individuals in Venezuela and coordinates national participation in the global Women’s March. She works on the editorial team for La Araña Impresa, which publishes in the national press weekly and has served in a national coordination role several times. She also edited the book La Araña Opina, a compilation of work from the first three years of La Araña Impresa.

As a grassroots activist, Alejandra motivates the taking up of public space with artistic expressions that provoke reflection on the oppression of women as well as collective action to transform life and relations between women and men. Some of the collective actions in which she has been involved include: “La Gran Putada,” a series of open mic sessions for poets to read feminist and erotic poetry, and mural paintings to capture youth groups’ reflections. She was involved in the collective production of the banner “Nosotras luchamos” [We Struggle]. That project involved several conversational weaving circles, where women came together to weave flowers and swatches of cloth as they exchanged views on topics, such as feminist economy and violence against women. For the last four years she has produced and directed the radio program “Mujeres en Rebelión” [Women in Rebellion] with Merlyn Pirela. As an offshoot of the work of Mujeres en Rebelión and the collaboration with Merlyn Pirela, organizing work is underway in “el Guarataro” neighbourhood starting with the self-recognition of grassroots Afro-Venezuelan women.

Colectivo Morivivi

 

 Forum Artist Working Group member - Colectivo Morivi

Colectivo Morivivi is a women driven artistic collective that has been producing public art and artivism since 2013. Our artistic production consists of muralism, community-led muralism, and protest performance/actions. We believe that through artivism we can promote consciousness on social issues, producing what we call the collective "imaginario" (imaginary/imagery). The collective "imaginario" is the imagery we build in our artwork that resonates with Puerto Rican narratives strengthening our collective memory.  Our intention is to make community and that our history is not denied, that's why we use public art to achieve it.

We began as eight high schoolers who wanted to paint a mural together. However we've had almost seven years to grow and evolve. Now our model has changed, we have a core team of three and we reach out to collaborators depending on the location of each project. We are growing from an artist crew to a social enterprise, asserting the meaning of the word "collective" that is part of our name. We wish to expand to different areas of public art. We aspire to become an alternative school of art practice for those interested in immersing themselves in community art production.

After almost seven years of work, we have murals and community projects done in different towns in Puerto Rico, like San Juan, Caguas, Loíza, Humacao, Vega Alta, Las Piedras and Culebra. We've given conferences in New York City and Buffalo, NY. We've also been class speakers for a couple universities, such as Tulane University in New Orleans, Grinnell College in Iowa and Trinity College in Conneticut. We've eagerly worked with the Puerto Rican diaspora in the US though community projects in New York City with El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice, at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, in Holyoke Massachusetts with Nueva Esperenza and the Holyoke Public Library, and with the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center in Chicago, IL. In 2017, we also had the opportunity to go to China, to represent Puerto Rico in a mural project called the Miracle Project with the production of two murals centered on the subject of the colony. Last 2019, we were finalists in the Sheffield Mural Festival in Tasmania, Australia and official muralists for Fresh Paint Springfield in Springfield, MA. In 2018, we were awarded one ot the Art Matters Grants. In addition, that same year we became a FRIDA Young Feminists Fund co-part and grantees, and continue to be so to this day.

Kawira Mwirichia

Forum Artist Working Group member - Kawira Mwirichia

Kawira Mwirichia is a Queer, African, female visual artist with an innate desire to change the world through beauty that inspires and educates the community. Over the years, Kawira has worked as an artist within the Kenyan LGBT community and striven for a high level of virtuosity in her own work.

Her latest project, To Revolutionary Type Love (2017-) is another example of her diverse use of medium (the kanga) and unique level of expression. The project aims to celebrate Queer Love through the demonstrative narrative of each country’s LGBTQIA milestones through kanga patterns and beautiful quotes.

Mara Menzies

Forum Artist Working Group member - Mara Menzies

Mara is one the finest performance storytellers on the global stage. As a narrative artist, she draws on her rich, dual Kenyan/Scottish cultural heritage, to create worlds that explore contemporary issues through legend, myth and fantasy. Her performances fuse ancient and modern in an intoxicating, colourful, joyous experience where the audience takes centre stage. She is passionate about the ability of women to create their own worlds, nurture and change them, then inspire others to do the same.

Nicole Barakat

Forum Artist Working Group member - Nicole Barakat

Nicole Barakat is an artist who works to unpick the borders of art and life, approaching making as a form of meditation, with intentions to transform the conditions of everyday life. Barakat works with deep listening and intuitive processes. Her work engages unconventional approaches to art-making and re-examines intersections between drawing and textiles, collaboration and live work. She creates intricate hand-stitched and hand-cut cloth and paper drawings that embody the love and patience that often characterises traditional textile practices. Barakat has worked as an educator in the arts for over seventeen years, including lecturing in fine arts at University of New South Wales Art & Design from 2003 – 2011. She currently works as an artist educator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. 

Nicole’s practice also includes extensive collaborative community-engagement where she sees respect and equality as the leading principles that drive an exchange of experience, knowledge and skills. As a queer child of migrants from the South West Asia and North Africa (SWANA) region born and living on Gadigal land, Barakat continues to dismantle and decolonise her education by actively listening, respecting and centering First Nations people’s history, stories and perspectives.

Ali Cat Leeds

Forum Artist Working Group member - Ali Cat Leeds

Ali is an artist and printmaker based in Portland, USA. Ali received her BFA at Pacific Northwest College of Art. Her prints mingle the literal and metaphorical to illuminate and comment upon the world around us. Relief, screen, and letterpress prints span from the carnage of clear-cuts to the beauty of peoples movements.

Ali mentored under master printer Paul Mullowney and her work has been featured in The Public Eye Magazine, Certain Days Calendar, The Siren Nation Festival, and Just Seeds. She completed an artist-residency at Proyecto Ace in Buenos Aires in 2014, and was a member of Flight 64, a member-run, nonprofit print studio, from 2015- 2018. Ali currently works as the Print Studio Technician at Pacific Northwest College of Art. 

Ika Vantiani

 Forum Artist Working Group member - Ika Vantiani

Ika Vantiani means a woman’s house in a mix of Javanese, Arab and Indonesian language. Being the eldest of three daughters, Ika found art and craft like her long lost home due to the long journey she has been taking before deciding to reside here for good. Being a self-taught artist with long communication industry background, Ika mostly works with what’s available within and around her being. She tends to start a conversation on topics related with women, media, consumption and art in general through her works.

Today, apart of being an artist and crafter, she also curates and organizes events on art and culture. Ika graduated from London Institute of Communications Advance Diploma in Advertising in 1999, and at the moment she is in the middle of taking her project called Kata Untuk Perempuan (Word For Women) where she documented words that represent women in daily life through collage workshops to international level through public submissions after doing it locally from December 2015.

Laha Mebow

Forum Artist Working Group member - Laha Mebow

Laha is the first female aboriginal film director in Taiwan. She was trained in scriptwriting and directing and is also an experienced TV producer. Due to her indigenous roots, she focuses on indigenous themes in her work.

Some of her career highlights include producing a Austronesian peoples music documentary (Ça Fait Si Longtemps) linking Taiwan and New Caledonia aborigines. Most recently she has been focusing more on Austronesian culture, aiming to shoot an international drama film in the future. She is the recipient of the 23rd Annual Top 10 Outstanding Young Women Award in March of 2015 for her contribution to aboriginal issues. In 2016, her second feature film Lokah Laqi! (Hang in There, Kids!) was nominated for both Taipei Film Awards and International New Talent Competition, and won 5 awards including the Best Narrative and the Grand Prize for Taipei Film Awards. It was also selected to represent Taiwan in the 89th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film Nomination. In 2016 she participated as an artist in residence at “La Cité internationale des Arts” in Paris.

Pelenakeke Brown

 Forum Artist Working Group member - Pelenakeke Brown

Pelenakeke Brown’s work explores all the intersections of her identities as a disabled, Oceanic woman living in the diaspora and current immigrant to the United States. Her work is interdisciplinary and includes drawing, writing, storytelling, and movement. Her art practice is grounded within the Sāmoan concept of the vā: in-between space and/or spatial relationships.

Rula Khoury

Forum Artist Working Group member - Rula Khoury

Rula Khoury is a Palestinian born in Haifa. She is an art curator, historian and critic. In 2011, she received a Masters degree in Art History from Haifa University and an additional Masters degree in Writing Art Criticism from the New York School of Visual Arts in 2017.

Khoury is a creative professional with extensive curatorial and production management experience. Her project portfolio includes exhibits, symposia, lectures, film, and theater across Palestine and internationally. She is passionate about Palestinian and Arab culture both contemporary and classical, committed to finding creative solutions to obstacles of identity and geo-politics, and a proponent of open and inspiring spaces for young artists and creators. Khoury is currently the General Director of the Arab Culture Association in Haifa.

Upasana Agarwal

Forum Artist Working Group member - Upasana Agarwal

Upasana Agarwal is a Non Binary, trans visual artist from Kolkata, India. Their work explores culture and the intersections of conflict, identity, and the post colonial space. They are the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Amra Odbhuth Collective, a Queer arts collective focusing on artivism and amplifying the voices of queer and trans artists in India. They are also part of Kadak, a collective of South Asian womxn and queer folks who work with graphic storytelling.

Upasana has illustrated and been published as an author and artist, most notably they have illustrated 31 Fantastic Adventures in Science, a book which anthologises the contribution of Women scientists in India for Penguin Books, a graphic short for Kadak Collective’s anthology Bystander and the Skin Stories book of essays of sexuality and disability by Point of View. They have collaborated with Gaysi India, UNESCO Bangkok, Current Conservation and the Aravani Art Project. They are also the Creative Director of a trans led organisation called Samabhabona. When Upasana is not drawing they make short documentaries, photograph, play music and write.

Wana Udobang

Forum Artist Working Group member - Wana Udobang

Wana Udobang is a Lagos based artist working at the intersection of poetry, performance and film. Her works explore memory, womanhood, trauma, love, healing and re-imagination.She has two spoken word albums, Dirty Laundry and In Memory Of Forgetting. Her poetry film Dear Father and documentary short Nylon, have been screened at the British Film Institute. She was featured on CNN’s African Voices as one of the emerging poets from the continent.