2022 Create Change Fellow
Bed-Stuy |Community and Collaborative Art
Mon is an Indian abolitionist propagandist, writer, and artist living on Canarsee and Black land in Brooklyn. Her work focuses on national and local jail moratoriums, anti-surveillance obfuscation practices, and building organizing capacity for abolitionist collaboration in the US and beyond. She is known for her co-authorship of 8 to Abolition, a response to reformist tactics to end policing, incarceration, and completely delegitimize the carceral state. She is currently a Building Community Power Fellow at Community Justice Exchange and a Brooklyn Poets fellow.
Mon’s art practice seeks to merge abolitionist, liberatory worldbuilding with creative play — to see tools like drawing, murder mysteries, quilts, crafting, paper art, poetry, and more as capable of teaching us about the world we hope to create together and the one we’re leaving behind. As a student of the public, she engages collaborative and community practices to activate people around the issues she works on, and in turn learn from others about how to free both people and the land.
What role can art and culture play in shaping the future of your neighborhood or the city at large?
People already have so much culture, I’m interested in how it can be celebrated and brought out, to be remembered rather than always created or found. The fight against prisons, policing, and all systems of capture, slavery and captivity of life is a spiritual one. That fight needs us to remember, archive, witness, and embody our culture through intergenerational and inherited practices in order to pass them onto future communities.
One way you see this is through guerrilla engagements with the land — seedkeeping, community gardening, growing and learning plant medicine — as a way of resisting gentrification. Another way is through art that reminds people of who they might show gratitude for their space in this community, and who their neighbors are — including incarcerated folks. I think mapping, collective murals and collage building, participatory design, are all ways that this happens.