West Harlem Art Fund, NY Artist Equity Association and NYU Wetlab are presenting dancer Salma Kiuhan for a one-day performance in Nolan Park on Governors Island, May 13, 2023.

The work will be inspired by the public art sculpture XOXO by Miguel Otero Fuentes. XOXO is an open heart made of two crossed circles. The sculpture is made of hollow curved aluminum members with strategically located internal steel weights.

“XOXO” emerges from the artist’s 8 year sculpture practice informed by extensive circular forms experimentation and study of their boundless capacity to exist in space and impart universal narratives.

Salma Kiuhan is a South Florida native, graduating from A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts. She is now based in New York, working towards her BFA in dance performance and philosophy as a Tisch Dean’s Scholar at NYU. Salma is grateful to have performed repertory by George Balanchine, Trisha Brown, Bob Fosse, Darrell Moultrie, Crystal Pite, Peter Stark, Paul Taylor, Gallim (Andrea Miller), among others.

Although very early in her formal philosophical studies, her main interests lie in the philosophy of mind and aesthetics. Salma is particularly interested in mind-body dualism, and hopes to delve deeper into her understanding of the relationship between the body & mind using improvisational dance practices, philosophical concepts, and meditation.

The nature of Salma’s site-specific dancing for XOXO is improvisational and spontaneous. As Salma’s movement is created in real time, she will use an improvisational score to guide her. She is inspired by the question – what does it mean to take the form of love? Through this process, Salma will navigate through Xs and Os formed by her body. The sculpture will reflect her multitudinous wishes, and hopefully love’s whims will be reflected in the same caprice.

Sculptor Background  

Miguel Otero Fuentes is a Puerto Rico-born USA migrant, university trained architect, and self-taught sculptor specializing in façade system design, 3D modeling and facilitating collaboration between design and engineering teams. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was awarded the T. Gordon Little Fellowship, participated in design-build studios, worked as a teaching assistant abroad and was involved in research in the areas of digital design and fabrication. During his academic career he won three first place prizes including the distinguished Portman Prize. He also holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree (with honors) from the University of Puerto Rico. 

From 2015 until the start of 2022, Otero Fuentes worked as a facade designer in a New York based engineering firm. He was involved in a range of high profile projects ranging from skyscrapers to cultural institutions such as museums and academic facilities. In these projects, he worked implementing groundbreaking facade design technologies using a range of materials such as concrete, terracotta, stone, glass, aluminum and other metals. 

At present, Otero Fuentes works full time in his Brooklyn studio taking on architectural design commissions and sculpture projects experimenting with material, dimension, number, light, space, form, and meaning.   

About NY Artist Equity Association (https://nyartistsequity.org

More than160 leading American artists of the 1940s founded the organization, including Will Barnet, Thomas Hart Benton, George Biddle, Paul Cadmus, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, Leon Kroll, Jacob Lawrence, John Marin, Louise Nevelson, John Sloan and the first President Yasuo Kuniyoshi. These diverse artists were all clear on one point — they had to band together to establish and protect artists’ economic well-being. 

Originally a chapter of Artists Equity Association, the New York chapter split from the national organization in 1965 and opened its Broome Street Gallery in SoHo later that year. 

Today NYAE continues to support the professional aspirations of unrecognized and emerging artists, particularly those from underrepresented groups, by providing them with exhibition opportunities, educational programing, and a vibrant community of artists, collectors, curators, and art educators. 

About the West Harlem Art Fund (https://westharlem.art

The West Harlem Art Fund (WHAF) is a twenty-five year old, public art and new media organization. Like explorers from the past, who searched for new lands and people, WHAF seek opportunities for artists and creative professionals throughout NYC and beyond wishing to showcase and share their talent. The West Harlem Art Fund presents art and culture in open and public spaces to add aesthetic interest; promote historical and cultural heritage; and support community involvement in local development. Our heritage symbol Afuntummireku-denkyemmtreku: is the double crocodile from West Africa Ghana which means unity in diversity. 

Funding for XOXO was made possible from a NYSCA grant.