ARTISTS ELEVATING IMMIGRANT NARRATIVES
IN PROGRESS | PUBLIC EVENT MAY 2019
The goal of this project is to produce events and opportunities that elevate the narrative of immigration in America and engage art and activism in an environment that nurtures collaboration and results in meaningful action.
This project has very few elements that are set in stone and will develop over time, together with the participating artists. The intent is to offer a platform for artists to gather, collaborate, and share work as organically as possible.
江峰 Jiang Feng | Chia Ying Kao | Sandra Kluge
Treya Lam | Sifiso Mabena | MYRA m. MCPHEE
Cindy Trinh | Emily Wexler | Rourou Ye
江峰 JIANG FENG is a gender non-conforming and multi-disciplinary performance artist working across-genres in movement and theatre as a dancer, actor and singer. They are also a writer, radio show host, freelance model, filmmaker and Performance Studies scholar. He attained her B.A. in English and Chinese literature from National Taiwan University in 2016, and received a 2015 R.O.C. Government Fellowship to study and research dance abroad. Recently, she received “Grants for 20-40-Year-Old Writers” from Ministry of Culture in Taiwan.
Since August 2016, He has resided in Brooklyn, New York. They are currently pursuing an M.F.A. degree in Performance and Performance Studies at Pratt Institute. His performance works have been presented at various venues, including Itinerant Performance Art Festival, Movement Research at the Judson Church, "Thinking Its Presence" conference hosted by the University of Arizona, Exponential Festival, Dance Research Forum Ireland and HOT! Festival at Dixon Place. In Taiwan, she has worked with emerging choreographers ShioFen Li and KoYang Chang, and has performed at the National Theater and Concert Hall, NTU Center for the Arts, Nadou Theatre, amongst other venues.
Recently, they are selected to be the performer of the work “Wall-Floor Positions” in the MoMA retrospective "Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts."
CHIA-YING KAO is an independent dance artist based in New York City since 2004. She received her MFA degree in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College in 2012. Ms. Kao is the founder of Chia-Ying Kao dance, and has been presented her work and taught modern dance, Chinese folk dance, composition, and improvisation internationally. She continues exploring multiculturalism with the artists she works with and with local community input.
Her work has been presented at Triskelion Arts, Center for Performance Research, Dixon Place, Chen Dance Center, Queens Public Library Auditorium, Northport Library Auditorium, Suffolk Y Jewish Community Center, Page Auditorium at Duke University, Tribeca Film Festival, Manhattan's Union Square for a dance installation, Roulette NYC, Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in Boston and Hualien Cultural Arts in Taiwan. Ms. Kao has collaborated and performed with important choreographers, dancers, and institutions such as Sara Rudner, Yvonne Rainer, Twyla Tharp, Bill T. Jones, Asian- American Cultural Circle of Unity, Hou Ying Dance Theater, Topaz Arts, Chinese Theatre Works, Chinese– American Arts & Culture Association, New York Chinese Cultural Center, and Earl Mosley Diversity of Dance, among others.
In the past years, Ms. Kao has been a guest artist teaching modern dance, composition and improvisation at the American Dance Festival, Sarah Lawrence College, National Taiwan University of Arts, University of Taipei, Tainan University of Technology College of Arts, Chinese Culture University, Duke University, Bard High School Early College, Yeshiva of Flatbush High School, Open Arts Program of Tisch, New York University and UCLA, Department of World Arts & Cultures/ Dance. In November 2017, she was invited to choreograph a new work “Disappear Digest” and offers master classes at Broward College – Visual and Performing Arts Department. In September 2018, she was commissioned by Asian-American Cultural Circle of Unity to present a 30 minutes new work “The Nows” at Noel S. Ruiz Theater at CM Performing Arts Center.
SANDRA KLUGE is a tap percussionist born in Germany, based in Brooklyn, and performing and teaching internationally.
“one of the finest tap dancers of her generation” - Travis Knights
Her performance highlights include Thomas Marek's show NOLA, the tap ahead festival, Swiss Tap Days, and various venues around NYC.
She has been invited to teach at renowned facilities such as tanzhaus nrw, tap club, and Spoke The Hub, and to be a teaching artist in residence at Thomas Marek's Studio Footprints. Sandra is an alumni of the Art Omi Music Fellowship Program.
Her artistic works have been featured in publications such as Average Art, The Tap Love Tour Podcast, What Moves You, and Not Random Art. Sandra was first introduced to tap at the age of 10 by her Mom. In the following years, she studied with greats such as Barbara Duffy, Sebastian Weber, Pia Neises, Derick Grant, Sarah Petronio, and Heather Cornell, to only name a few. She graduated from Daniel Luka's tap apprenticeship S.O.N.T.I. with magna cum laude.
Now, as a tap percussionist, Sandra is deconstructing the classic tap vocabulary in order to be an accompanying percussive instrument, rather than just the cherry on top. Working on her own music, Sandra is continuously exploring the healing powers of frequency, rhythm, and energy.
TREYA LAM is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist and songwriter whose cinematic songs and ethereal vocals are built on Nina Simone-inspired piano, meditative guitar and lush chamber arrangements.
Treya’s debut album Good News was created entirely by women - headed by Kaki King who produced and released the record on her label. It debuted to a sold out crowd at Joe’s Pub followed by a nationwide tour Fall 2018.
Lam seeks out extraordinary spaces and has performed original music at the Prospect Park Bandshell, American Museum of Natural History, Town Hall, Garfield Park Conservatory, MOCA museum and the New York Public Library. Treya is an Associate Artist with the eco-theatre group Superhero Clubhouse, and member of the Resistance Revival Chorus.
SIFISO MABENA is a multidisciplinary theatre maker from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, now based in New York. She is a proud member of AEA and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with an MFA in Theatre. As a playwright she has worked with the Royal Court Theatre (UK) and the British Council in the development of two new plays: The Comeback and Interrogations. Sifiso recently performed as the vocalist/mother in Red Hills with En Garde Arts in New York. Other credits include: All The Light In the World by Rebecca Rouse (La Mama, NY); Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble’s The Art of Luv (Part 6): Awesome Grotto! (Abrons Art Center,NY); Ocean Filibuster with Pearl Damour (Abrons Art Center, NY) and assistant directing Colette Robert for Behind the Sheet (EST, New York).
MYRA M. MCPHEE is unapologetically black. She is also a Bahamian playwright, director, performer, photographer and collaborator. Her work revolves around social justice with particular focus on the intersections of black, immigrant, and female experiences. She immigrated to the U.S.A. in the late 90s but continues to work with in The Bahamas with Bahamian collaborators.
She has performed in productions of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide and Vagina Monologues in The Bahamas and the social justice initiative Tunnel of Oppression in East Lansing, Michigan. As an alumna of the Social Justice Training Institute, she is passionate about using theatre to examine social justice themes and violence against black and brown bodies. In April 2017, she co-Directed Endless Long Hot Summer a production about the violence in the United States during the summer 2016 and created the SLC Hair Show: happy to be nappy, kinky, wavy, coiled or straight to explore the hair journeys of people of color. In May 2018, she performed her one woman show, Take me baby or leave me: An epistemological study of a black woman's 492 year transition to the United States in Manhattan, Queens and Westchester County . This performance explores how a woman’s journey through life is the result of the work and experiences of her black ancestors. It also examines the roles of community for and effects of isolation on immigrants as they navigate life-changing transitions. In October 2018, her original play, Lies We Tell Our Amygdala, was produced and published in Nassau, Bahamas. This play is about the trauma black women experience from their loved ones. Myra M. has earned a M.Ed. in Higher Education and is currently working on her M.F.A. in Theatre at Sarah Lawrence College.
CINDY TRINH is a lawyer turned photographer and photojournalist who is passionate about art and social justice. Her work has been published and featured by popular media, including Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Daily News, .Mic, Hyperallergic, The Culture Trip, AlterNet, Epoch Times, Angry Asian Man, The Indypendent, and much more. Cindy is the creator of the popular blog Activist NYC, a documentary photo project about activism and social justice movements in New York City. Her work is currently exhibited at the Museum of the City of New York. Cindy is also well known for her photo series The Model Minority Reality portraying Asian Americans working in low-wage jobs and the immigrant community struggling to survive in the city. She recently exhibited the series at the Museum of Chinese in America in Chinatown, NY.
EMILY WEXLER is a Brooklyn-based musician/song-writer/teaching artist/activist who employs the transformative power of musical story-telling as a means toward collective liberation. Emily has an alternative r&b/electronic music project called ES Wex in which she performs original music exploring personal and social transformation throughout NYC. Through ES Wex, she organizes multidisciplinary events to build community and center femme, queer, trans, and POC artists. Emily directs EarSay Youth Voices, a weekly performance workshop at The International High School at Laguardia Community College, a program for new immigrant teenagers to co-create short performance pieces that empower them to tell their stories and practice English. She is also a Teaching Artist for ENACT, a drama therapy organization serving NYC public schools that models alternative methods of navigating conflict through performance pedagogy.
ROUROU YE is a multidisciplinary dance artist based between New York City and Shanghai. With an MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College and a BFA in Choreography from Shanghai Theater Academy, Rourou is equally influenced by Chinese traditional dance/movement forms as by Western postmodern and dance-theatre practices. Her works often embody the conflict between Chinese and American culture, exploring her identity, sexuality, existential purpose, and sociopolitical position as a Chinese woman living intermittently in the USA. Rourou has been presented by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Dixon Place, and BAAD! in NYC; and in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Thailand, Japan, and Singapore in Asia. She has been an artist-in-residence at Gibney Dance and Yangtze Repertory Theater, served as movement director for multiple theater productions at Sarah Lawrence College, taught at the Musical Theater Department at Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and won numerous awards in Chinese folk dance performance.
happy hour + fundraiser
On Monday, March 25, we held a happy hour and fundraiser at The Armory in Park Slope, Brooklyn to support Artists Elevating Immigrant Narratives.
Guests were able to meet the artists, eat + drink with a percent of sales going toward this project, and the opportunity to learn more about the artists’ process, the final presentation coming up in May, and more.
Artists Elevating Immigrant Narratives is sponsored, in part, by the Meow Wolf DIY Fund.
Artists Elevating Immigrant Narratives is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).