“We the News”: Studio Visit with Lizania Cruz
June 21, 2017
On Saturday on June 17, the weekend before Juneteenth, The LP’s 2017 Create Change Cohort visited current Bed-Stuy Artists-in-Residence Lizania Cruz, who welcomed us into her studio. She shared about her project “We the News,” which will start next month in partnership with Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) and Bed-Stuy’s Hancock Community Backyard Garden Park. With a glimpse into other projects she has worked on, we also learned more about Lizania’s commitment to working around themes of immigration, migration, and justice.
Lizania shared that BAJI IS A NATIONAL ORGANIZATION THAT INTERSECTS ISSUES OF STRUCTURAL AND SYSTEMATIC RACISM, SUCH AS INCARCERATION AND DISCRIMINATION, WITH ADVOCATING FOR JUST IMMIGRATION POLICIES. With her project’s intent to CENTER THE STORIES OF IMMIGRANTS, she and BAJI were drawn to working together on “We the News” through a series of story circles they would organize at Hancock Community Garden. The stories shared from participating immigrants will ultimately be published through printed zines distributed through newsstands in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood.
lizania showed us dried up bouquets and photographs in her studio from one of her previous immigration-focused projects, “Flowers for Immigration.” she connected with immigrants who ran florists stands throughout New York City and asked each person to design their own floral bouquet to send a message to the Donald Trump. Many, if not almost all of the flowers incorporated into these bouquets originated from outside the United States.
LizaniA explained that She has also been working to cast a “friendship”-style necklace that consists of interlocking pieces of the countries Haiti and Dominican Republic for her project ”JUS SANGUINIS,” which ADDRESSES IMMIGRATION AND IDENTITY symbolic of the relationship between the people who cross borders between the two countries. Lizania was born and raised in the Dominican Republic.
Our visit ended with a zinemaking session in which our 2017 Create Change cohort and LP staff participated. We each designed a zine spread inspired by our ideas of the meaning of “Sanctuary”:
Stay tuned on our social media channels for the release of a digital version of our collective zine, and for more updates on Lizania’s Create Change Artist residency events. Click here for more information on Lizania’s project We the News.