Lower East Side Young Artists of Color Fellowship
The Lower East Side (LES) Young Artists of Color Fellowship is a program of Downtown Art and FABnyc.
We define the Lower East Side as including the area from 14th Street to Canal, Bowery to the East River, as well as Chinatown. This includes Loisaida, the East Village, and all of Community District 3. _________________________________________________________________
Anoushka Bhalla is a visual artist and art writer based in New York City, currently finishing up her MFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts. Her practice explores the human condition through visual research into the spectacle of colonial genocide, the materialization of collective trauma and the forgetting of intergenerational memory. Working mainly in 2D and 3D mediums, her works are derived from historical archives of colonized people and sites of ethnic cleansing in her homeland of South Asia and within the wider global landscape.
Christian Amaya Garcia
Christian Amaya Garcia (b.2000, New York) is a Guatemalan-Dominican, American-born visual artist. Using a multidisciplinary approach, my process begins with a playful intention to create a space of construction, transition, and transformation within the studio. I’m appreciative of the gentleness of the hand towards a material. Materials change value over the course of their use; texture, connotation, and application become precious in one space and can change when the material is repurposed or transported. I address sites of transition by using drawing and photography to view installations as a focus on the beauty of the incompleteness with material and space.
David Ma (B. 2000 New York City NY) is an interdisciplinary artist, interested in how the charged potential of images can reveal heterotopias, these are cultural/institutional/and discursive spaces that are somehow ‘other’. They’re worlds within worlds, mirroring and yet upsetting what is outside. Through his Paintings/Ceramics, he uses traditional East Asian decorative motifs in tension with Western self-concepts of individualism to collage various paradigms into a Dao of who I am and how I relate to society. Ma has notably received the Martin Wong Scholarship from the Martin Wong Foundation and the Richard Hirsch Memorial for Students in the Arts from New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
Portfolio: David Ma
Francisco Morandi Zerpa
Judette Elliston (she/her) is a Haitian-Canadian vocalist, composer, and improviser based in Brooklyn, New York. While her artistic voice is rooted in jazz, singer-songwriter, and Haitian folk influences can also be heard in her music. For Elliston, capturing how we move through grief, trauma, and joy is at the forefront of her singing and storytelling. As a music educator, Elliston teaches voice and piano, offers gender-affirming voice coaching, and collaborates with Afterwork Theatre to create singing-centered courses. Currently, Elliston is recording “Tiny” a debut EP of original music for voice, harp, cello, and guitar set for release in Fall 2023.
Nishina Shapwaykeesic-Loft is Kanien’kehá:ka from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. She is a 2S queer, multi-disciplinary artist in a wide spectrum of mediums. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours from York University in Theatre Production and Design. She works in the theatre industry with a specialization in costuming, upcoming she will be the Costume Designer for Niizh at Native Earth Performing Arts. She is a mural artist working with StART as a project coordinator and an indigenous advisor. She is the Associate Programmer for the Toronto Queer Film Festival and has worked in programming for imagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival and JAYU. She continues to grow within her field and explore new opportunities.
Rhesa Paul (pronounced ree-sa) is an artist from Brooklyn, New York. Born to West Indian parents, Rhesa’s work is influenced by materializing her appreciation for everyday cultural objects of necessity, focusing specifically on the woven basket. Commonly used as decor, the basket holds a history of generational craft and function. She connects her inclination to collect preloved baskets and ceramics and seeks to extend their aesthetic function through painting, printmaking, and assemblage. She relies on sourcing found objects and crafting as guides and tools to create. She’s been creating from a young age; it runs in her family and is one of her undeniable passions.
Clipber is a Vietnamese interdisciplinary artist whose works revolve around humans’ dependence on the physical embodiment, which simultaneously serves as a means to fulfill the unknown life after death via the medium of religions or culturally inherited beliefs. Her praxis questions those orthodox but paradoxical systems and attempts to restructure them in the digital era.
XY Zhou grew up in California, living in a predominantly Asian/South East Asian enclave before moving to New York City where they are currently based. They are graduating from NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study (BA ‘23) with a concentration in “Translations Between Mediums,” participating in both formal and self-led research on art, philosophy, and the law. XY’s current preoccupation with culture and heritage leads them to use art to understand and process themselves, their family, and the cultural tradition that precedes them.
My name is Yasmeen, I’m a Dominican from The Lower and The Bronx who is most experienced in acting, writing and painting, but has a goal of eventually learning all art mediums. I show my love for our creator in my paintings, and any art form I dive into.
As the Lower East Side continues to fight displacement, marginalization, and racial inequities, FABnyc and Downtown Art recognize that sustaining a sense of community requires many efforts and arts-based placemaking efforts, like the LES Young Artists of Color fellowship, can strengthen a sense of belonging across generations.
Besides their importance as creative voices in the LES, young artists of color are underrepresented in the arts sector as a whole. Peer circles of support combined with opportunities to share work and learn from others can be a critical factor in moving their professional development forward.
This project is supported in part through funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and City Council Member Carlina Rivera.