- Words and Photos by Joanna Pan
Flip-the-Script: A Cultural Happening In Da Bronx, Part II
In August, the Ngozy Art Collective launched "A Cultural Happening in Da Bronx" at THE POINT's Riverside Campus for Arts and The Environment. There, an assemblage of graffiti kings took center stage for a day of all-ages fun that was two parts live-painting exhibition to one part tunes-infused, informal lawn party.
While that inaugural Ngozy event saw most attendees in shorts and t-shirts, its second installment --last weekend, on the heels of a windy Halloween -- had participants donning additional layers.
But last Saturday's script-flip wasn't just weather-related: the latest "A Cultural Happening In Da Bronx" switched out male artists for female artists. Gender distinctions aside, it was robust talent that was front-and-center! Aerosol artists included:
Giannina Guttierez , Lady Pink , Steph Burr , Erotica67 (flyid) , Shiro , Riiisa Boogie , Ming , Bianca Romero , Alice Mizrachi , Felicia Nobili , Jenna Morello , Dennesa Usher , Lady J Day , Sarah Merenda , Zera , MRS , Kay Love , ANJL.
Artist ALICE MIZRACHI with JOE CONZO
The campus studio featured a gallery-styled photography exhibition by Gloria Zapata, an artist "with a passion in making changes through [her] art and photography."
To complement the live art, DJs UnratedEbony, Sunnaay, and Neon Nuckles kept the musical ambience on point, and local food/drink vendors were conveniently on hand. Event sponsors included Christie Z Presents, Scoe Unlimited, The Point CDC , Maintain A Chain, Loop Paint, and Uptown Vinyl Supreme.
But it was free-flowing connection between artists, art-embracers, and their families that truly infused "A Cultural Happening In Da Bronx" with its air of fellowship and celebration!
SOLD was there. We interviewed several of the day's participating artists, asking each to weigh in on her artistic process, Ngozy event piece, and more!
MRS: "My work is inspired by graffiti art's relationship to temporality. Each layer signifies part of a story about the battle for space, and for ownership of a wall. I build layers through different mediums such as spray paint and silkscreened fabric because these materials are familiar to my artistic interests. Through use of textile collage, my goal is to combine art that is often perceived as being masculine --graffiti, with art that is often perceived as being feminine -- quilting."
Jenna Morello: "Two main components that keep me steady and my life up-and-running are art and music. They are also categories that I feel go hand-in-hand, and can play off of each other in terms of expression. Rap and hip-hop alone have been a key influencer my entire life, and since the Bronx is the birthplace of that, I wanted to paint something that paid homage to where I was. I chose an old phonograph because I felt it represented the spark of an ideated beginning of a culture. Everyone's parents had one, and it's what records were played on before turntables. A required building block in a way that the future would use as a foundation. Plus, I also didn't think I could make a microphone look as cool."
Gloria Zapata: "My collages started with portrait documentary photos I have from my trip home to Honduras in the summer of 2014. I brought the idea to artists BG183 and Nicer from Tatscru; also Eric Orr in August 2018. I would like people to know I am not only a Bronx photographer / artist, but also born in Central America -- Honduran with Garifuna roots. I would love to expand this collaboration / project with other artists and another exhibition. Along with other collaborations, I have had opportunities to work with BIO (Tatscru) and Crash on my portraits of some body paint I have done on my models. One of the reasons I transform my photos into a splash of color: I see the world in black and white. All my images have an original copy. I love and enjoy editing photos. We express ourselves through the colors we vision."
JP: What positive change(s) would you like to see come about for female artists in the near or far-off future?
GZ: "As a Blacktina and Gay woman artist, positive change is important in our community. I would love for people to take from my work the changes happening in LGBTQ, diversity, culture, humanity, and self-identity."
[Learn more about Gloria Zapata via: Voices of NY, Mott Haven Herald, News12 The Bronx, BronxNet]
Ngozy LLC partner John "CRASH" Matos and MRS's collage piece
For more information on the Ngozy Art Collective, read our September 12th feature.
Finished pieces from A Cultural Happening In Da Bronx's latest installment will be available for purchase on ngozy.com next week.