Thursday, September 24, 2009

2009 MacArthur Fellows Announced

Congratulations Edwidge Danticat!

View 2009 MacArthur fellows.

from Books and Books in Coral Gables:

We at Books & Books – and, we can safely say, readers everywhere – send the heartiest congratulations to our dear friend Edwidge Danticat for winning one of this year’s MacArthur “Genius Awards.”

The MacArthur Fellows Program describes itself as intending “to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations” – and it comes with a no-strings-attached $500,000 grant.

And as we in Miami know, it could be in no more deserving hands. As the MacArthur Foundation so accurately describes, Edwidge uses “graceful, deceptively simple prose” to provide “a nuanced portrait of the intersection between nation and diaspora, home and exile, and reminds us of the power of human resistance, renewal, and endurance against great obstacles.”

The MacArthur Fellows Program has more than 100 nominators chosen “on the basis of their expertise, accomplishments and breadth of experience.” These people nominate the most creative people they know. The three criteria: “exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.”

From those Fellow profiles: “ Edwidge Danticat is a novelist whose moving and insightful depictions of Haiti ’s complex history are enriching our understanding of the Haitian immigrant experience. In works that chronicle the lives of ordinary Haitians, she evokes themes of family, isolation, and community that, while grounded in a specific cultural milieu, resonate with a wide range of audiences.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This Saturday, September 26: Seize the Pen: A Writing Workshop for Women with Dr. Marva McClean

Seize the Pen & Explore the Artist Within
A Workshop of Empowerment for Women
Diaspora Vibe Gallery
When: Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, 12-3pm
Presenter: Dr. Marva McClean

A participative workshop where we come together, engaging in diverse writing stages, exploring the impact of history and family life on the unique development of ourselves. Participants will produce empowering products such as journals, essays, memory books, poetry, and photo journals.

Session One – Telling Our Stories in Our Own Words

• Write to discover themselves & investigate their capacity, expressing
their inner selves in diverse ways, sharing anguish and joy that are indelible parts of life’s journey

• Explore creative/artistic ways to share and harvest the gifts we carry

• Explore crossing borders, challenging colonial and post colonial conceptions of who we are, re-writing notions of friendship, power and success

Session Two - My Other Selves
Use photos and personal objects as cues, exploring multiple positions women assume and occupy as citizens in a community - mother, daughter, partner, parent, friend, grandmother, godmother, aunt. We will seek answers to the questions: What are the selves we nurture, or ignore? How do we sustain and energize our multiple selves, staying true to ourselves?

• Investigate photos as voice
• Interrogate creative ways of disrupting censorship and taboos relating
to our gender and religious, political, ethnic and sexual selves
• Investigate the spiritual dimensions of self expression and identity

REGISTER by contacting Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator
3938 North Miami Avenue,
Miami, FL 33127
ph 305-573-4046

Suggested contribution: $50 per participant as a fundraiser for Diaspora Vibe Gallery, which has, and continues playing an integral role in the development of our arts community, providing a place of artistic expression and empowerment for all.

Please share the workshop with other friends and colleagues. If you are unable to attend, please offer support by contributing and/or sponsoring a friend, especially a young [er] lady.

(credit cards, pay pal, checks and cash accepted)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Save the date: Miami's Accelerating Caribbean Connections moderated by Elisa Turner

'Miami's Accelerating Caribbean Connections'
panel moderated by Elisa Turner
featuring Rosie Gordon-Wallace among others
Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 6pm
at Books & Books in the Gables
sponsored by Art Table

follow Elisa Turner’s blog

Performance Collaboration with Ayanna Jolivet-Mccloud and Wura-Natasha Ogunji: one hundred black women, one hundred actions

materialize breath by blowing onto mirror, Ayanna Jolivet-Mccloud

one hundred black women, one hundred actions is a performance of critical actions, gestures and movements by one hundred black women from around the world to be documented then performed by one hundred black women in various public and private sites.

Through physical actions which are recorded here: in various forms as photographs, drawings, video and written descriptions, the public can respond to the following question: “What is a gesture of personal power, an extreme action that is necessary in your daily life?” From these actions, Jolivet-Mccloud and Ogunji will choreograph 100 movements to be taught to and then performed live by 100 black women at the first site, TBA. It is their desire to invoke collective strength through a work which specifically aims to locate the presence of black female bodies as central, political, powerful forces in the world.

To participate in one hundred black women, one hundred actions send documentation of a critical action, gesture or movement, which answers the following question: “What is a gesture of personal power, an extreme action that is necessary in your daily life?”

Your physical action can be recorded as a photograph, drawing, video or written description. Send to: Be sure to send the name of your action, your location, and website if you have one.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Cortando, Cociendo y Recordando by Ermán

Casas Estables
Cortando, Cociendo y Recordando

September 26 – December 17, 2009

West Dade Regional Library

9445 Coral Way, Miami, FL


Reception with performance and artist’s talk:

Wednesday September 30, 6-8:30pm

Cortando, Cociendo y Recordando is a site-specific installation, curated by Rosie Gordon-Wallace, that is also a survey of Erman’s work from 2000 to the present. Erman creates evocative environments and artists’ books using a lyrical vocabulary of images and metaphors: sewing objects, handwritten text and handmade garments, shoes, and houses empty of their wearers or inhabitants. The work alludes to familiar narratives of migration, exile, up-rootedness, transculturalism, and displacement.

About the artist: Juan A. Gonzalez, better known as Erman, was born in Cuba in 1956 and has lived in exile in the United States since 1969. His first career was as a designer in the fashion industry; his transition to visual artist began in 1989, when he began to meld fashion, sculpture and fiber art. Erman is concerned with blurring the traditionally Western divide between art and craft, and his work addresses the personal and universal effects of migration, up-rootedness, religion, matriarchy and transculturalism. He is the recipient of residencies and fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center; Instituto Sacatar in Itaparica, Brazil; and Art Center South Florida. Erman has been an invited guest artist, instructor, and lecturer at the National Art Gallery in Nassau, the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, and Colorado State University's Art and Consumer Sciences Departments. He was recently a guest lecturer and workshop instructor at Broward College in Davie, FL in conjunction with Cortando, Cociendo y Recordando, a traveling survey exhibition of his work from 2000 to the present, curated by Rosie Gordon-Wallace. In 2008, the show traveled to Lincoln Center in Ft. Collins, CO. Erman has taught fiber art to children from underserved local schools as well as adults and children living with special needs. He is represented by Diaspora Vibe Gallery and his work is in many private and institutional collections.

For more information about upcoming exhibitions and programs at the Miami-Dade Public Library System, check out:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Jean Chiang featured in 'Tea, Glorious Tea'

Jean Chiang featured in Tea, Glorious Tea
at Revolution Gallery in Kingston
Aug 27-Sept 26, 2009

maps, tea leaves

Read more about the exhibition here in the Jamaica Observer. Below, Jean Chiang offers her eloquent statement about the show.


It is believed that the art of tasseography or reading tea leaves began with Buddhist monks. The monks would drink tea to stay awake during long hours of meditation. While meditating and looking into the bottom of an empty tea cup, the monks noticed patterns or symbols and began to “read” tea leaves.

The practice continued through the years and after tea was introduced to Europe, in the 1700’s, high tea in the afternoon, followed by tea parties and reading tea leaves became very popular.

In April, 2008, Rosie Gordon Wallace, Diaspora Vibe Gallery artists including Danny Ramiriez, Rodney Jackson, Erman Gonzalez, Alejandro Contreras, Gordon Myers and I, to name a few, were hosted by Deborah Jack and local artists, Lucinda Audain, Norma Trimborn and others in St. Maarten for the Second International Artists Biennial. Several artists and scholars were also invited, including Irene Peterson of Aruba, Jennifer Schmidt of Curacao, Christopher Cozier of Trinidad and last but not least, Carol Campbell of Jamaica. Imagine my delightful surprise when I was informed that Carol and I would be roommates for a few days !!!

Our artwork was installed at The Cultural Center with assistance by its artist/director Youmay Dormay with artwork by local artists. The opening and workshops on the following days were well attended and enjoyed by all.

Every evening, we would end the day with a group dinner with conversations reviewing the daily events, anticipating the next day, catching up with friends that we hadn’t seen or connecting with new friends we had just met. These evenings were as important as the artwork, the exhibits and workshops during the Biennial.

One evening, we decided to dine in the Chinese resaurant across the street from the hotel, The Prasangrahm or the former Govenor’s Palace. We sat at a large round table, about 12 of us, ordered many different dishes and had a delicious dinner. Of course, Chinese tea was served with the meal. Carol and I were seated next to each other. After dinner and finishing our tea, we noticed the loose tea leaves at the bottom of our cups and indulged in an attempt at tasseography !!! Carol looked at my tea leaves and if I remember correctly, she saw a flying figure. Alright, I thought, I always wanted to fly ! I looked at Carol’s tea leaves and saw a floral pattern, something more decorative than figurative. Carol thought that was agreeable. The evening continued and we enjoyed a few more readings around the table.

The art of tasseography is still practiced widely and taken quite seriously by its followers, using special teas, cups and study of its philosophy. For me, it is another form of meditation, a moment of reflection and insight inspired by a visual form. It is similar to looking at clouds in the sky, at trees and rock formations in nature or even ink blots. A form inspires a thought.

READING TEA LEAVES is a series of 6 canvases, 5” in diameter, painted, beaded and stitched. Three of them suggest green tea with symbols of a spiral or creativity, a horse shoe or good luck and a wavy line or water or purification. Three of them suggest black tea with symbols of a circle with a dot in the center or the sun or energy, diagonal lines or travel and a crescent moon or receptivity.

Many thanks to Carol Campbell, Diane Wright and Revolution Gallery for continuing the tradition of Tea, Glorious Tea. This is the third time that I have participated in this exhibit with special thanks to Rosie Gordon Wallace and Diaspora Vibe Gallery in Miami, Florida.

--Jean Chiang, c.2009