Queens Botanical Art in the Garden outdoor exhibit displays works of six local artists

2020.07.21 Ankhlave_Christine Sloan Stoddard_CREDIT Anne Tan-Detchkov_2
Photo by Anne Tan-Detchkov/QBG

AnkhLave Arts Alliance Inc., a nonprofit that works to provide inclusive representation of people of diverse ethnicities within the contemporary art conversation, is partnering with Queens Botanical Garden for a new outdoor art exhibition displaying the works of six Queens-based artists. 

The Second Annual AnkhLave Garden Project 2020 is currently on display in the garden until Tuesday, Sept. 8, featuring female artists of color — five immigrant artists and one first generation U.S. citizen. 

By presenting artists and art-making in a nontraditional setting like the QBG, AnkhLave aims to promote artists of color who represent and reflect the garden’s visiting audience.

“We choose these spaces because they’re public spaces where people feel comfortable and the nature of the place where people can see themselves unwinding, versus presenting our artwork in galleries where it may not be seen by many different communities, because not everyone is privy in going to an art gallery for one reason or another,” said Dario Mohr, founder of AnkhLave Arts Alliance. 

With a grant from the Queens Art Fund, AnkhLave had its artist fellows create social distanced installations in Queens Botanical Garden, which recently reopened its gates to the public. 

“I’d like to thank the Queens Botanical Garden for having us, and our Artist Garden Project Fellows,” Dario said. “We are grateful to receive the grant and to be able to pay our artists for their time in creating the installations.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization reframed their entire project to be able to film the artists — from a social distance — in the garden interviewing them about their experience during quarantine while they set up their art installations. 

A series of blogs will be available on the Queens Botanical Garden website for the public to view the interviews and work created by the artists. 

Additionally, the organization is working on creating a documentary film to submit to film festivals, according to Dario. 

The AnkhLave Garden Project 2020 artists include the following: 

Asano Agarie Gomez, “Rosie”

Photo by Anne Tan-Detchkov

Location: Across from the Annual Garden

Gomez is a Japanese born artist creating large-sized media sculptural paintings using fabric, pigment, sewing, painting and drawing. Gomez’s project is a rose garden which mimics nature while using artificial materials and bright colors in order to investigate the concept of “otherness” in relation to the garden environment. The juxtaposition between her use of the artificial and the garden environment highlights both the differences and commonality between the natural environment and the human creative experience.

Cecilia André, “Blossom” and “Rainbow Squared”

Photo courtesy of AnkhLave Arts Alliance Inc.

Locations: Crabapple Grove and Entrance to the Green Roof

André is a Brazilian artist residing in NYC for 28 years, coming from a family of Lebanese immigrants to Brazil.

In André’s work, incidental sun light traverses color transparencies projecting shadows on to the ground. Patches of color intensify or fade depending on the sun’s intensity. Participants can bathe in colored light and transform themselves under it. André is inspired by the transcendence of stained glass and the versatility of assemblage. Hand stitching brings these traditions together and evokes the realm of feminine expressions of the past.

Natali Bravo-Barbee, “Flores de Femicidio (Femicide Florals)”

Photo courtesy of AnkhLave Arts Alliance Inc.

Location: Perennial Garden

Bravo-Barbee was born in Córdoba, Argentina, and creates works at the boundary of photography and sculpture.

Bravo-Barbee’s project Flores de Femicidio (Femicide Florals) examines gender-based violence against women in Argentina. In 2019, the rate of women murdered based on their gender was one murder every 27 hours. Flores de Femicidio investigates and documents the rising numbers of femicides occurring in Argentina during the entire year of 2019. Each cyanotype flower represents a specific victim of femicide, who is memorialized with a label that honors each woman by her name. At QBG, Bravo-Barbee creates a large cyanotype paper flower surrounded by smaller cyanotype ferns, and tags with information honoring the many women that have met violent endings at the hands of a loved one.

Kayo Shido, “Dry Garden”

Photo by Anne Tan-Detchkov

Location: Green Roof

Shigo was born in Hyogo, Japan, and upon graduating from Saga Art College in Kyoto, she came to New York to study painting at Art Student League, New York Studio School and School of Visual Arts.

Inspired by a Japanese Dry Garden, the space is installed with sculptural rocks made of abstract paintings on Mylar and a large painting along the skylight railing creating a backdrop for the Green Roof plantings. Mylar, a drafting film, is durable enough to shape into three dimensional form to be exhibited outdoors.

Christine Sloan Stoddard, “Rabbit’s Storytelling Throne”

Photo courtesy of AnkhLave Arts Alliance Inc.

Location: Arboretum

Stoddard is a Salvadoran-American author, artist and film/theater-maker.

Rabbit’s Storytelling Throne is a fanciful installation that celebrates storytelling and the place rabbits hold in folk traditions around the world. Made largely from recycled and salvaged materials, the piece pays homage to QBG’s landfill history.

Mariana T. Vilas Boas, “Marielle Franco Presente!”

Photo by Anne Tan Detchkov

Location: Crabapple Grove

Tonini Vilas Boas is a digital and traditional artist from Curitiba, Brazil, working and residing in Queens.

This portrait of Marielle Franco is an homage to her life and work. Marielle was murdered on March 14, 2018, while returning from a speech. She was a politician, a feminist and human rights activist fighting against police brutality in Brazil. Her murderers were never found. Mixing her portrait with that of the crabapple trees it is a way to say, “Marielle presente!”