The challenges of the pandemic inspired St. Ann’s staff to literally think outside the box. If we couldn’t program our space and invite audiences inside, how could we as an arts organization respond to the urgency of Black Lives Matter and an historic moment of mourning and protest? It was simple — if you can’t come to us, we’ll come to you. Thus the idea was born — to deploy our beloved building as an amplified, interactive urban canvas of huge images and raw passions to meet the moment.
ST. ANN’S WAREHOUSE presents
PROTEST STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
CURATED BY KOBIE PROCTER
Photographers: Kobie Procter | Janette Beckman | J Boogie | Khary Mason
St. Ann’s Warehouse New Dock Street Facade
MAY – SEPT
For two months, Brooklyn-based street photographer/visual artist Kobie Procter transformed St. Ann’s New Dock Street façade into a projection canvas the size of a movie screen — occupying the walls with large-scale images he shot from the New York Justice and Equality Riots and Protests of 2020. He then curated a series with iconic, downtown New York photographer Janette Beckman’s 10 Years of Protest, featuring her photos from various history-making demonstrations for racial and social justice of the last decade; an exhibition by J Boogie of the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations in New York City; and Detroit-based police officer turned photographer/poet, Khary Mason, whose work recognizes, for Black Americans, the interconnectedness of family, neighborhood, and the criminal justice system.
Projections by Janette Beckman, Kobie Procter
Photography by Monique Carboni, John Mosele, Teddy Wolff
ST. ANN’S WAREHOUSE presents
LOVE IN THE TIME OF CORONA
St. Ann’s Warehouse Old Dock Street & Water Street Facade
STARTS OCT 2020 | FREE
The UK-based, Colombian artist Miguel Amortegui will enliven St. Ann’s archways and light boxes with his wildly colorful paintings in an exhibit called Love in the Time of Corona. Using vibrant colors and intense brush strokes, Miguel paints the humanity and hope of the marginalized and misunderstood, and, in his own words, “…the complexity of us humans and our lives — our feelings, passions, sadness, hopes, and traumas — filling each stroke with all the colors these feelings have to offer.”
Amortegui’s work has previously appeared at St. Ann’s Warehouse indoors — and in a different medium: the theater presented photographs from his book Voices of The Jungle in a group exhibition that accompanied the Good Chance/Young Vic/National Theatre/St. Ann’s Warehouse production of The Jungle.
Love in the Time of Corona
I love my work and what I do. I love meeting new people all the time and being able to tell or help them to tell their stories. To click the shutter at the right time, immortalizing a moment of injustice while drawing myself in adrenaline and fear. Trying to keep true to what these people go through every day and trying to light a tiny candle in the middle of their darkness. It is a hard job and sometimes it is inevitable to pick up some ghosts along the way; images and sounds that penetrate your heart, setting camp in your memories, indefinitely, so that they become part of who you are.
Some of these memories can really affect your life and the way you see the world around you. Sometimes I feel more comfortable being in those places than living in the so-called “First World”.
There is some kind of invisible magic that seduces you when you are there, it is the happiness, the dignity, and hope that these people have after losing everything in their life. The humanity of wanting to share with you a piece of bread without knowing when the next meal is going to come their way. It is watching armies of skeleton children laughing and dancing to the beats of a broken plastic bucket, stomping the ground so hard that it feels as if they are squashing the horrible memories of their past.
Sometimes it is hard to come back from these places, listening carefully to people struggling with first world problems and trying to understand their reality too, without holding any judgment. When you do this type of work for a long time you learn to live between the two realities, as if you were setting up camp in the middle of a bridge trying to find a way to shelter yourself from each side.
This is where paintings take place. I vividly remember accompanying my mother as a child to deliver her art classes at the University of Bogota, Colombia. There I used to entertain myself with oils and pastels, spending hours trying to copy the work of famous artists that at the time were unknown to me. Painting has helped me to overcome the skeletons that my work has left on me. I intend to trap them in plain canvases and fill them in with vibrant colours to try to resemble the dignity of the people I portray.
In my paintings, I show the complexity of us humans and our lives. Our feelings, passions, sadness, hopes, and traumas, filling each stroke with all the colours these feelings have to offer. My paintings narrate stories where the characters are experiencing feelings of happiness, nostalgia, loss, hope for a better life but especially love and passion. All my characters are filled with bright and dark strokes, dozens of strong colours that represent all their happiness as well as their wounds. They are beautiful in their own way; complex, passionate, and free. They are portrayed as if they were X-rays, to show the many layers of complexity that made us who we are. Most of them have useless hands without joints to make us feel incapacitated and impotent towards certain situations in life.
Having found art again has helped me hugely. As a therapy, it helps me to express the other side that is impossible to capture in photographs due to its invisibility, the side that is sometimes more real than the world we are accustomed to.
The paintings selected in this exhibition express a series of feelings and emotions that lingers after every one of my jobs as a photojournalist. As with all my projects, my painting focuses on humanity and the hope of the people that have been isolated or ignored; creating advocacy and giving wider exposure to the issues that surround us. My work overall tries to filter the dignity that immerses my subjects instead of concentrating on the horror and the drama that surrounds them amplifying humanity to honour them. –Miguel Amortegui
Love in the Time of Corona is free to view outdoors at St. Ann’s Warehouse, no registration required.
The paintings will be displayed beginning in September on the Old Dock Street and Water Street facade of St. Ann’s Warehouse, 45 Water St, Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO.
For questions, contact the [email protected]
You can’t come to us right now so we are coming to you. Keep the performing arts alive! Make a tax-deductible contribution to St. Ann’s Warehouse. Your support means everything to us. Contact [email protected].