• Staten Island to go "Viral" with a Massive Gallery Show

    "Viral" A gallery show featuring the work of visual and musical artists from coast to coast exposing real-time censorship through free expression. Curated by Nati Conrazon. 
    We reached out to Nati so she could break it down. 





    Tell us about your upcoming event. 


    What inspired it?


    As the curator this being the first time ISLA (Staten Island Arts collective I founded in 2013) is presenting an arts show, I wanted to ask if love could go VIRAL.


    It seems that this era is full of domination and violence - a time where are aren't looking at each other through the most basic humanity. Not only locally from our community on Staten Island still reeling from the Eric Garner situation - by the way I said good morning to Eric that morning, he was a local character when I lived in that neighborhood - but also globally where there continues to be more Eric Garner's!
    What if Daniel Pantaleo - the NYPD officer we all saw in Ramsey Orta's video of his friend Eric's chokehold death - had love go viral within himself. Would he have applied a chokehold on another human being like that? What if those controlling drones felt the lives of the innocent they kill with remote machines. What if we understood collectively the love it's going to take to reverse the effects of climate change which will be affecting future generations. Can we think of love as going viral? Can we see the sickness of hate that's gone viral inside and among us? Could we change things?



    Who will be performing?


    Besides the art of 40+ visual artists and photographers from across the country, NYC and Staten Island, we have an exciting program of poets and performers performing from all across New York City!


    Our short program will be hosted by Gia Dupree aka Giadelohia - an emcee and educator from Philadelphia now based on Staten Island.
    ►Poetry from members of NYSAI Press - Staten Island's literary magazine - like Thomas Fucaloro & Eric Alter  plus The Peace Poets are joining us from the Bronx!
    ►Acoustic performances by Nenjah Nycist - an emcee based in Brooklyn who works a lot on Staten Island with the group The Rising Sun Allstars (who were friends with Eric Garner and made the song "I Can't Breathe" in tribute: http://www.vulture.com/2015/01/rap-group-that-witnessed-eric-garners-death.html) , Nani Castle -a ferocious Staten Island based rapper and educator born of Chilean/Irish radical roots, Ty Black an emcee from Brooklyn, Jam No Peanut - an educator based in Harlem who uses hip-hop to build revolution and teenage artist J Skills from Staten Island!


    Sample Soundclods:
    DJ Dizzle - of new Staten Island party, U4IC Floor - will be on the 1s & 2s
    ►Pop-up shop by local apparel brand Stereotype Co: 
    ►Chair Reiki and crystal pop-up shop by local healer Lune Innate


    What sort of Experience do you want event goers to have?


    This isn't a grim show. I want to cultivate a certain strength, possibility and imagination in the face of some very real things we are going through in this moment of history. Can we love each other through our differences? What would that look and sound like? How would that get supported? I want the art show to spark in the mind of a young teenager who may attend and is up against odds both racially and economically - that we can live in a world that doesn't continue to produce as many Eric Garner situations. 
    What's happened in the Staten Island community since the Eric Garner tragedy is telling. One of our partners - Staten Islanders against Racism and Police Brutality - formed recently with local students and college professors to take a stand against the mainline view that doesn't hold NYC cops accountable for their abuses. Same goes with another partner who has been making noise around justice  - The Legacy That Eric Garner Left Behind - started by The mother of Eric Garner's youngest child, Legacy, who is a baby. Important seeds are being planted even if this is a story most Staten Islanders would rather forget and sweep under the rug.
    I want people who attend the show to know that for this to go viral: It's going to require work, organizing and moving beyond our perceived and constructed differences.


    You are one of the classic back stage people that make a lot happen can you tell us about other projects you have worked on?


    Thank you! I create for creators - as a cultural advocate and social entrepreneur - so my work ranges from managing artists to handling promotions to working in licensing. We as hybrid #DIASPORADICAL are building hybrid careers - if we dare to. I'm still figuring out the balance as a bicoastal "bohemia" (as my partner calls me haha!) but I like to say I'm investing in new paradigms while playing the game para dime$. What does that mean? It means I believe that this current manifestation of Capitalism is not working - which I witnessed as someone who worked in the proper music business for a decade working with acts from Manu Chao to Bomba Estereo to Los Rakas - and we ought to invest more collectively with each other to build ownership of our cultures. A lot of that work I'm doing on Staten Island, yes (this art show is an example) but it's work that's super inspired by work I'm doing in California like in Sacramento at Sol Collective (10 year old organization) as well as in San Francisco with Acción Latina (40 year old organization) - both huge examples of cultural spaces which are holding spaces in their respective communities in sustainable ways. I'm also super interested in the world of legal Cannabis - which I also see as advocacy against a real war on black and brown people and a war on consciousness. This idea of truly cultivating is something that excites me both online and on the Iand - it takes work. I love that this journey is taking me on new paths too - I have never curated an art show but it's really beautiful how my community has rallied together around this. Super proud about that and the potential of this feeling.
    I list all my current and past projects here: www.conrazon.me/projects/current-projects


    What wakes you up in the morning?


    The possibility that we don't have to be trapped by the boxes we were born into. Freedom wakes me up in the morning -- and a strong cafe cubano! 
    Like many others, the Latino community wrestles with its presence here in the united states, as a community whose roots are global and disperse.


    Where do you see the latino community now?


    We are #DIASPORADICAL. We come from so many different histories yet we share a language in theory. But now, we're building new language - ehem I speak mutant digital Spanglish - emojis y todo, LOL! I think we need to move beyond holding on too tight to the Latino box - I'm proud to have roots in Cuba and Colombia - but I'm a mutant New Yorker to the core who is the future Latina. Meaning? I'm a global citizen like anyone else - except as "Latinos" our histories come from all over. This Diaspora is rooted in Africa - as are all peoples - and that is what happened in history. Now we must look to the future. We must look in each and every human being we encounter daily. The #DIASPORADICAL understand movement and what it meant to have families who struggled to migrate (as many other groups did) - and what it MEANS now. Growing up on Staten Island was a great introduction to understanding that - I grew up with Ukranians, Nigerians, Italians, Puerto Ricana... Perhaps I was born too soon but, I am much more than just Latina, you know? We can be anything, belong everywhere and I believe the more urgent question may be now how will we build across these boxes many have convinced themselves they are confined to - to work towards the root of what we need to be building together, which, is going to take multi-racial and ethnic collective cooperation - against domination, greed, fear and hate of a world which is rebalancing.



    And rightfully so.





    Twitter: conrazon 
    Instagram: naticonrazon
    Website: www.conrazon.me





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