June 24, 2014
Meet our 2014 Fellows!
Please tell us of an artist, curator, activist, or project that has influenced you or inspired you?
Ramiro Gomez’s work is inspiring to me. Gomez is an artist, nanny, and child of Mexican immigrant parents. His work includes 3D cardboard cutouts of Latino laborers displayed publicly in wealthy neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area—they can be images of gardeners, fruit pickers, nannies—anyone who is responsible for making the life of privilege and luxury, luxurious. As he has noted, his work is about “[making] visible the invisible,” as public art “interruptions” as he has called them, his work touches on race and class with skill and humor, while still being humanizing and thought provoking.
Please tell us about a place in your neighborhood that is personally meaningful to you, and why?
My apartment building is personally meaningful to me. It’s the building I was born into, and my parents’ first long term investment in the United States. They immigrated to the US in the late 1970s—both came from poor families in the global south, arriving at a time when immigrant communities, if not fully welcomed, were at least not criminalized and terrorized to the same extent they are today. The timing of their arrival coupled with a strong network of support, 18-hour workdays, seven days a week and smart investing made it so that their vision of the “American Dream” became a reality. This is the setting of all my earliest memories, from the piñatas over the balcony, to my first cartwheels in the kitchen, to my first apartment on my own in my early twenties.
Five generations of our family have lived here for years at a time—my grandmother, my parents and siblings, and currently my sister, her husband and their five year old child and me and my partner. As the surrounding neighborhood gentrifies, keeping this building and neighborhood one that is racially and socioeconomically diverse, where its long-term residents of color can enjoy the incoming infrastructure, is important to me. Our families sustain this city—it’s time the city sustain us.
What is your favorite book, film or song about NYC?
One of my favorite films about New York is Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. It was one of the first films I had seen that dealt centrally with race and racism.
If you have an idea of a blog post or topic you’d like to contribute to our blog, please share below!
Interview long-term residents of color in an anchor neighborhood with an under utilized space to see how they would like to see in that under utilized area developed to meet their community’s needs and interests. There would ideally be a co-produced media created demonstrating their vision for that space and its impact on their community.