Brooklyn-based visual artists Aya Brown and Oasa DuVerney share their perspectives on their work and working in the arts--how they navigate cultural institutions during this time of reckoning with a greater need for change, equity and inclusion. Brown and DuVerney’s drawings were recently projected on the façade of Central Library as part of the Cinema Ephemera series. The conversation is moderated by independent curator and critic Fawz Kabra.
About the Speakers:
Aya Brown (b. 1995, Brooklyn, NY) documents her lived experience as a Black woman and centers the history of Black lesbian women in an active celebration of all their unyielding magnificence, all of their strength, all of their softness. Her drawings and paintings on brown surfaces refuse whiteness as a standard and starting point. These works challenge what is seen and unseen and empower blackness and queerness in its labor, representation, visibility by expanding the form and forum they are presented within. Aya’s intimate collaboration with the subjects of her work radically holds space for the sovereign reclamation of each subject’s image and selfhood and positions Black women as the primary ‘essential workers‘ that, with all they do, carry, love, and create, make the world work. Aya’s work has been shown this year by the Brooklyn Public Library and featured in Artsy, Cultured, The New York Times, and Vogue.
Oasa DuVerney, a New York native; is an artist and mother. Selected exhibitions, residencies and media include: 2020 Women To Watch, NMWA (2020); BLACK POWER WAVE, BRIC, Brooklyn, NY (2019); Something To Say, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn NY (2018); The Window and the Breaking of the Window, Studio Museum in Harlem, NYC (2016); The Brooklyn Biennial II, BRIC, Brooklyn, NY (2016); Through A Glass Darkly, Postmasters Gallery, NYC (2012); Rush Philanthropic Foundation Artist Residency (2016), Smack Mellon Studio Artist Residency (2014-2015); LMCC Workspace Residency (2012-2013); The Guardian UK, UK (2019), The Independent, UK (2016), Hyperallergic (2015, 2016), The Guardian UK,UK (2015), Palestine News Network (2013), and The New York Times (2012, 2011). She received her B.F.A. from SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology, and her M.F.A. from CUNY Hunter College
Fawz Kabra is a curator and writer living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She is co-founder of the curatorial project Brief Histories and co-editor of the zine Tame the Wilderness? Fawz organized exhibitions at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York; The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit; and Bric Arts and Media House, Brooklyn. Her collaborative work includes the album A Live Declaration with artist Annabel Daou and musician Gabriel Cyr. She was Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Abu Dhabi Project, New York; and symposia organizer, including School is a Factory? at Global Art Forum13, Dubai. Fawz edited the publication No to the Invasion: Breakdowns and Side Effects (CCS / Barjeel / RAM 2017). Her writing and interviews appear in Art Papers, Canvas, Ibraaz, and Ocula. She has participated in panels and presented talks at ISCP, New York; CCS; Asia Contemporary Art Week, New York; and Power Talks, Toronto.
Aya Brown Photo Credit: Naima Green