ARTivism: Confronting Mass Incarceration Through Art [Video]

Tony Lewis, Jr. is a dedicated community leader, philanthropist, mentor and avid advocate for the under served citizens of Washington, DC.  For several years he has been organizing community initiatives dedicated to supporting those in need. He has used  his and resources to be the voice of the people by creating organizations like Sons of Life that uplift, build and advocate for young black males. He has tirelessly working in the streets using his platform and network (DC or Nothing) to propel the concerns of DC constituent to the forefront.

He is dedicated to sharing his struggles and acting as a conduit for success for so many people living in the District of Columbia, especially young black males and ex-convicts. We shine a light on him because as a true Street Intellectual he is dedicated to uplifting his community through action and empowerment. Along with Mark Thomas, Mr. Lewis has created a new campaign using the visual medium of photography to help share the stories of individuals connected to loved ones that have been affected by mass incarceration.

Check the videos out, leave a comment and as always share the Street Intell.

 

 

 

 

08.02.14 | Sanaa Fest


Sanaa

The Sanaa Project is a movement created for artists by artists to promote creative expression by highlighting the struggles and triumphs of artists. Monthly parties served as the social aspect of the movement which provided an organic and sincere atmosphere that fostered a creative culture and fellowship among like minded individuals.

Sanaa is dedicated to ensuring that artists have access and exposure to the work and efforts of other artists within their communities. The Sanaa community strives to uphold a non-elitist standard where artists of all backgrounds may feel welcomed and celebrated. They believe in the power of networking, and encouraging artists to build and share—creating a self-reliant artist community. 

Check out our feature to get a more in depth look at this DC Based underground collective.

Sanaa has expanded into an annual festival and oAugust 2nd from 12-8pm a variety of musicians, artist, painters, poets and bands will come together to host the first ever SANAA FEST 2014.

New York based poet Falu will be this years special event host.The festival’s theme this is “Identity”, specifically touching on the under representation and misrepresentation of “The Artist”.

Hosed in and around the Mt Rainier artist loft of3311 Rhode Island Ave, Mt. Rainier Maryland the Sanaa tribe will be use the outdoor space to create an electrifying atmosphere of great music and elevation.

The festival will include live musical performances and DJ sets, 3 indoor curated art exhibits, Poetry, live painting, vendors, food trucks as well as information booths for several local non-profit organizations who do good work in the community.

Because Sanaa firmly believes in economically accessible art therefore this festival will be free 100% free however they will be accepting donations that will go directly towards advancing the aims of the Mousai House  (an organization created as an underground haven for artist; they provide free art programs, discounted music lesson and other educational resources for the community). For more information visit Mousai.org

We’ll meet you at the 2014 Sanaa Festival!

 

 

07.06.14 | Tony Lewis, Jr Presents “Collateral Damage” A Photo Exhibition

cd

On Sunday, July 6th from 4-8 PM at Blind Whino (700 Delaware Ave SW, Washington, DC) noted DC philanthropist, youth advocate, and community leader Tony Lewis, Jr. will curate an exhibit entitled “Collateral Damage.” The exhibit will feature photos of the “other” faces of incarceration. It will highlight the individuals often forgotten and left to bare the pain of having a loved one jailed. An artistic demonstration, in which both Lewis and Photographer, Mark Thomas of Capture the Capital will shed further light on the impact of mass incarceration on families living within the DC metro area and attempt to tell their stories through the visual medium of photography.

When asked about the reason behind curating such an event, Tony states

“The motivation behind this exhibit was to illustrate the hardship of having an incarcerated family member and advocate for resources aimed to support those people; in particular the children. It is about exploring the mental and emotional anguish that these people experience during the incarceration of their family member who could be their parent, spouse, aunt, uncle, or sibling. These people are in need of resources centered around mental health, education and mentoring services. Incarceration is a family experience; we all do the time just some of us remain in freedom.”

RSVP for the event now at collateraldamagedc@gmail.com

Creative Expression, Symbolism and Culture: Exploring the Art of Kamanchi

KM10Born in 1974 into a multicultural heritage of Japanese, German, Irish and American Indian; Kamanchi was crafted for creativity. As a child growing up his beloved grandmother Yoko, who was full Japanese, became his conduit into the world of understanding. She attached him —in a unique way— to the cultural sensibilities of Japan; through American eyes. His grandfather, (who died before he was born) was a Naval Airplane Mechanic who met his grandmother right after the end of World War II. During that time, his grandfather had asked his grandmother out and been denied, for four months straight (without missing a day); until finally, she said “Yes”. These two people have greatly inspired him, not only as an artist but as a person of pride; character and strength. They have shaped him to this day and motivate him to work hard.

We delved into the “Art of Kamanchi” and explored the depths and meanings behind this L.A. based artist’s creative expressions, check it out below:

Tell us how you were first introduced to Art; is there a moment that stands out in your mind? 

K: When I was three years old, I was in New York for a year and its memory, sounds and visuals imprinted me.

My father pushed me into art at a very early age and film was the best value I got out of our relationship. Initially, I didn’t want a career in art due to him. I simply moved onto being an athlete and from 1991 to 2000 that is what I was committed to. The creativity pushed its way out in the form of Industrial Design and I’ve been doing that for the last 14 years. I realized how slow and defeating product design became and a year ago I decided to get stuff out of my system by posting on Instagram, only as a start; just to practice and have fun. But it has been the best thing simply because of who you get to meet, inspire or get inspired by.

Explain the significance of your name (Kamanchi) and the # sign. 

K: Kamanchi is the amalgamation of my heritage. The hashtag (or pound sign) is beautiful and I love that it’s our modern symbol. It is quite the tool these days to connect with but what many people do not know is that it is also a common pattern design in old Japanese textiles.

In your work, we predominantly see the use of skull and bones imagery, what influences this?  

K: They are very beautiful to me and probably the best subjects to practice with but they’ve run their course and I’m ready to move onto everything else. 

You infuse a lot of layers into your work to create captivating optical illusions, do you ever find it challenging when creating these illusions?

K: It’s so much fun to me that the word “challenge” loses its meaning. It is more time based as a “challenge” because of how much work irrationally needs to get out. In examining my art, there isn’t a medium I don’t want to learn and do for the rest of my life. I enjoy the process of connecting with people whom I may never meet, in trade for the blood, sweat and execution of the second best version of what’s in my head.

 

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| Artist Bonus Piece |

These are a few ballpoint drawings the artist did as a teen. They were his first and last drawings he ever did and are mostly unfinished. He had never drawn surrealism before that point and has never drawn since, up until about a year ago.

Kamanchi’s Street Intell:

“These are kind of a message in a bottle now and it has been super fun to create like that again, especially after 20+ years. Two of the drawings were ripped up because of an argument with my pops. He ended up keeping them, putting them back together and taking pictures of them. The two yellow paper drawings are my personal favorites. The fisheye elevator one (with the fly on the light) was my second surreal drawing I ever did and the first time I’d ever used a ballpoint.”

Make sure you support this artist’s creativity and view more of his work on Instagram: @Kamanchi

05.10.14- 07.06.14 | Kara Walker Exhibits at the Dominio Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Kara Walker
Photos Courtesy of Instagram

BROOKLYN—Internationally renowned artist, Kara Walker has unveiled a new exhibit at Brooklyn’s legendary Domino Sugar Factory.

The exhibit entitled “Subtlety” or the Marvelous Sugar Baby is designed to pay “homage to the unpaid and overworked artisans who have refined our sweet tastes from the cane fields to the kitchens of the new world…”

The exhibition features a collection of sculptured sugar figures with the main instillation being that of the ‘Marvelous Sugar Baby’ fashioned in the shape of the Egyptian Sphinx.

Kara Walker has always used her art to open up the dialogue on a range of subject matters but more specifically the subconscious repression of the American-Africans’ contribution to society.

She is best known for her bold silhouettes and tableaus displaying images projecting additional themes centered around sexuality, race and power.

The glorious sugar sculpture stands about 35 feet high and is about 75 feet long.

This exhibit serves as a public arts project that is free and open for the public to explore.

Not only does this instillation provide Walker with another way to express her creativity but it provides an added cultural benefit, attracting more individuals to the Williamsburg community.

This exhibit is apart of the Domino Sugar Factory project, which includes plans to redevelop the area into new residential, commercial and creative spaces.

A proposal was passed earlier this month giving the green light on the demolition and redevelopment of the factory site.

The ‘Marvelous Sugar Baby’ exhibition was unveiled on May 10th and is open to the public on Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m., as well as Saturday and Sundays from 12 to 6 p.m.

Be sure to stop in and check out this wonderful exhibit before it closes on July 6th.

And as always share the Street Intell.

 

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04.17-04.27 | DC Film Fest 2014

The DC International Film Festival is an annual celebration of international films from across the globe. The festival explores the work of prominent filmmakers of newly released, award winning and experimental films; many of which highlight various things such as socio-political topics and varing global lifestyles. The Filmfest kicked off its 28th season last Thursday and will run now until Sunday, April 27th. This year marks the last and final chance for patrons to experience a myriad of great international films. Check out a few of the featured films below:

Wednesday—April, 23rd {6:30PM} Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema

7235 Woodmont Ave. Bethesda, MD
Take Metro Red line to Bethesda Metro station.

Friday—April, 25th {6:30PM} Landmark E Street Cinema

 Saturday—April, 26th {6:30PM} Landmark E Street Cinema

555 11th St. NW
Metro: Red, Orange, or Blue Line to Metro Center. Theatre entrance on E Street between 10th and 11th Streets

This year’s festival is full of movie premieres and special events like ‘discussions with the directors’ and some other free events. Festival tickets are $12.00 and sell out fast so be sure to make your purchase online via MissionTix.com , by phone or at any of the designated theatre box offices. Movie screenings will be held at various locations throughout the city, for further information and full film listings visit filmfestdc.org