2018 Create Change Fellow
East Harlem | Community organizing, Drawing, Installation, Painting, Photography, Visual Arts
Cievel Xicohtencatl is a multidisciplinary artist and cultural organizer whp lives and works in New York and Mexico. As a second generation migrant, her work often explores themes identity-based politics and culture.
What artist, curator, activist or project has influenced or inspired you?
Currently, I’m still obsessed with Kehinde Wiley and the portrait series he showed at the Brooklyn Museum. I love the way his paintings are monumental, celebrate black identity and reclaim traditional European narratives. Aside from the figures he portrays, his painting’s backgrounds are equally visually complex and colorful.
What is your favorite book, film or song about NYC?
Martha Cooper’s documentary work on the underground hip-hop movement of the early to late 80’s here in New York. There are several books she published featuring the stories and portraits of many graffiti artists and break dancers of the time, including highlights of some of the first female street artists like Lady Pink. All this body of work is my favorite because it brings the vibrancy of this movement to life and documents what NYC street life was like back then. Despite the fact that this era was especially hard for POC youth, her body of work captures and celebrates this world that they carved out for themselves in a way that respects their stories and struggles.