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Jamaica siblings curate art show for the borough

Tunisia Morrison(l) is one of three siblings to curate the Queens Gotta Have It pop-up art show. Adhoa Nyarko (r), a friend of Morrison was there to support the show.
By Naeisha Rose

Three Jamaica siblings, inspired by Spike Lee’s display of Brooklyn on his Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It,” curated their own pop-up art show Saturday, “Queens Gotta Have It,” which featured 10 artists who live or went to school in Queens. The show took place at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.

Khaair Morrison and his sisters Tunisia and Tariqua Morrison were all hands on deck as they greeted guests and welcomed the artists at the center, at 161-04 Jamaica Ave.

The art show was put on by the siblings’ youth organization, V.O.Y.C.E. Inc. (The Voice of Youth Changes Everything).

The siblings wanted the art show at the Jamaica Center to help fill the gap in culture in the southeast region that often left artists and art connoisseurs in the area going to northwestern Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan to meet their artistic needs, according to Khaair Morrison.

“Even though we are not artists ourselves, part of us creating the organization was — how can we be a bridge for other people?” he said. “A lot of people say there is no place in Queens to host an art space, unless you are going to Astoria or Long Island City. We decided to put it on ourselves to do something here in Jamaica, Queens, where we are from.”

As hip-hop and R&B music played in the background, with DJ Milhouse setting the mood, Tunisia Morrison, the middle child, reiterated those sentiments.

“ ’Queens Gotta Have It’ was curated and created for Queens,” she said. “Spike Lee’s ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ had a really great traction on Netflix, because of what it stood for in DUMBO, and everything that it incorporated with the ‘New Brooklyn.’ I felt like it was time we had a ‘New Queens.’”

Tunisia Morrison said she wants young artists and young adults to have a place to socialize.

“We felt that Queens needed something like that,” she said. “Millennials here feel like they do not have a place in the new Downtown Jamaica for us to sit, for us to chat. Yes, Starbucks just came, but we also have lives and we want a night life. We don’t have anything that feels like it is for us.”

Among the artists who were featured at the show were Raheem “MellowArt” Richardson, who lives in Rosedale, and Cadeem “Phil V.” St. Aubyn, a Brooklyn resident who attended Cardoza High School in Bayside.

Richardson’s work included painted pop-up art and collages. Aubyn’s work had Polaroid photos of artists from a variety of media, including rap super stars like Drake and Jay-Z, whose music could be heard on DJ Milhouse’s turntables.

Kia Cain-Cacho, who came to see the art show, was happy to find a place where young people could appreciate art.

“I think this is different,” Cain-Cacho said. “We should have more stuff like this where we don’t have to go to Downtown [Manhattan]. This makes it more convenient for the community.”

Cain-Cacho, mentioning a Queens rapper, even had a favorite piece that she was considering to purchase.

“I’m a fan of Nas, so I might buy that painting over there!”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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