Photo: Savona Bailey-McClain
Since the start of the pandemic, only during summer months, the West Harlem Art Fund hosts a residency with artists from NYC and around the country on Governors Island. Visual Muze is a unique storytelling residency and retreat. It provides visual artists, performance artists, multi-media designers, and writers the opportunity to explore narrative forms within collaborative projects, works in progress, guest lectures, and crafts. Participants can choose to work independently or in teams to create original works in print, film, public performance, or digitally for a culminating exhibition. Process, creative strategy, and inspiration is emphasized.
Beginning this Saturday on August 6th, Brooklyn-based artist Tanika Williams will present her site specific installation Intrinsic Ecologies and short dance film (construct)Clearing in Nolan Park at Building 10B (NP/10) where West Harlem Art Fund resides on Governors Island. This installation will be on view August 6th and 7th and August 12th and 13th. Public talks will be offered each day at 1pm and 3 pm.
Intrinsic Ecologies and (construct)Clearing is being presented in tandem with HouseFest on Governors Island (August 5th — August 7th) and Dance Party NYC (August 6th).
Intrinsic Ecologies places alien plants in handmade plasters to explore the impact of immigration on indigenous biology. The experiment positions human beings as an invasive species and plants as sentient life forms to imagine the relationship between the migratory patterns of plants and people. This site-specific installation places callaloo–a leafy green plant essential to Jamaican foodways–in hyperlocal compost from the Earth Matters field station on Governors Island.
25 min 57 sec
As a meditation on quiet care, intention, intergenerational movement, and labor (construct)Clearing seeks to understand how we wear and repeat family patterns of silence and separation. The work speaks to the experience of migration—moving from country to town, across countries, across towns—and seeks to present the pain around the unspoken suffering experienced during the separation of caregiver and their charge. The work features Tanika I. Williams, choreographer Nehemoyia Young, and Svaha Williams.
The installation and video parallel the movement of people and plants to demonstrate that, like plants, people cross borders and settle in new areas in search of safety and community. In addition, the works reimagine the notion of hierarchy in plant ecosystems and human family structures to create new points of reflection on immigration.
Tanika I. Williams (b. St. Andrew, Jamaica; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) is an award-winning filmmaker and performance artist. She investigates women’s use of movement, mothering, and medicine to produce and pass on ancestral wisdom of ecology, spirituality, and liberation.
Williams holds a BA from Eugene Lang College, New School, and an MDiv from Union Theological Seminary. Her films have been screened in national and international festivals and broadcast on American television.
Williams has been awarded residencies at New York Foundation for the Arts, Hi-ARTS, Cow House Studios, MORE Art, and BRIC. Her additional awards and appearances include En Foco Media Arts Fund, 99.5 WBAI, Art in Odd Places, Creative Time, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Civic Art Lab, GreenspaceNYC, Let Us Eat Local, Just Food, and Performa.