The Immigrant Artist Biennial Names 48 Artists and Art Spiel as Media Partner for their 2nd Edition

Sanié Bokhari. It’s 11.49 pm here, 2022. 3 x 4 ft. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and The Immigrant Artist Biennial.

The second edition of The Immigrant Artist Biennial, titled “Contact Zone”, will showcase the work of 48 artists at seven locations across New York and New Jersey from September to December 2023. The curatorial trio adopted the biennial’s theme from a term coined in 1991 by linguist and critical theorist Mary Louise Pratt, which she used to describe “social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations.” Katherine Adams, co-curator and an affiliate of EMPAC, explains in a statement how this concept guided their curatorial research: “It allowed us to work with a productively fractured relationship to place. It also encapsulates our attempt to find an organizational concept for artistic infrastructures that are diasporic in form and not only content—that can deal with effects of situations such as exile, alienation, or simply the elusive concept of home.”

The biennial will be held at the EFA Project Space, Artist Alliance, NARS Foundation, Accent Sisters, Alchemy Gallery, Brooklyn Museum, and Wendy’s Subway. Though most artists are U.S.-based, the term ‘immigrant’ transcends geographic borders, and at times “disappears completely,” according to co-curator Anna Mikaela Ekstrand. She adds: “What remains are artists visualizing the need to survive and thrive; broadcasting political issues, armed conflict, and human rights violations or feelings of uncertainty while also creating new cross-sectional communities to meet these needs.” Ekstrand, Adams, and Bianca Abdi-Boragi have selected the biennial’s artists from over 35 countries.

As the biennial’s official media partner, for a second time, Artspiel will, together with Cultbytes, publish interviews with all artists, who are as follows:

Slinko, Emilio Rojas, Erika DeFreitas, Pritika Chowdhry, Maria Kulikovska, Rafael Yaluff, Golnar Adili, Keli Safia Maksud, Mila Panic, Jovencio de la Paz, Marcelo Brodsky, Nida Sinnokrot, Young Joo Lee, Kathie Halfin, Carlos Franco, Masha Vlasova, Umber Majeed, Keren Anavy, Sanié Bokharie, Sa’dia Rehman, Magdalena Dukiewicz, Jonathan Ojekunle, Bonam Kim, Mia Enell, Coralina Rodriguez-Meyer, Ala Dehghan, Felipe Baeza, Leila Seyedzadeh, Francesco Simeti, Nicholas Oh & Ayoung Justine Yu, Jamie Martinez, Raul de Lara, Joiri Minaya, Selva Aparicio, Lilian Shtereva, Nyugen Smith, Anina Major, Tariku Shiferaw, Dominique Duroseau, Anna Ting Möller, Linnéa Gad, Alexander Si, Maya Hayuk, Juna Skënderi, Ana Armengod, and Christopher Unpezverde Núñez, Neema Githere.

Speaking on the relevance of the biennial, its founder and artistic director Katya Grokhovsky, a Ukrainian immigrant, comments, “The relevance and urgency of this year’s TIAB are greater than ever. This is why I broadened the notion of an immigrant to include exiled and nomadic artists who have been displaced by ongoing wars and global conflicts.” In addition to the art exhibitions, the biennial will present a panel on Ukrainian artists and the war at EFA Project Space, as well as a panel on DACA-recipient and undocumented artists, which will be moderated by Danilo Machado at Brooklyn Museum on October 7th, 2023.

Mia Enell. Human Mess, 2023. Acrylic on canvas, 58×71 in. Courtesy of the artist and Bienvenue Steinberg & Partners.

As the biennial approaches, stay updated by reading Art Spiel and following @theimmigrantartistbiennial on social media.