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Re-imagining Existence: Migrant Artists in Conversation

Thursday, June 22, 2017 06:30 - 08:30 pm

"Re-imagining Existence" will be an intimate conversation between queer undocumented, formerly undocumented, and migrant artists, filmmakers, poets, performers, DJs, and writers discussing multidimensional, futuristic ways of existing, surviving, and creating during this heightened anti-immigrant political climate. The artists will discuss how they are expanding and recreating possible worlds without borders through poetry, virtual reality, music, and language. Performances will close the event.

Artists include: Frisly Soberanis Jr., Jennifer Tamayo, Alan Pelaez, Thanu Yakupitiyage, and Rommy Torrico. Moderated by Sonia Guiñansaca.

Hemispheric Institute
20 Cooper Square, fifth floor
New York, NY 10003

Frisly Soberanis is a 23-year-old director and video artist, from Queens, New York via Guatemala. He grew up filming quinceañeras and bodas, and with the help of a wonderful community, has grown in the video and cinema arts. He is currently working as the co-lead for the Family Reunions Project, a 360° video/virtual reality project that explores how technology can challenge borders and reshape the way we think of memories and messages. The project has received funding from E4FC’s Fuse fund, the Tribeca Film Institute's New Media (nonfiction) Prototype Fund, and Culturestrike, where he is currently an Artist in Residence. Frisly is interested in migration & borders, sci-fi, space, masculinity and other gender expressions, and wishes to explore how immigrant experiences might look in the next 200 years. He loves thunderstorms and family, loves chilaquiles (but can’t take the heat), is fascinated with light and sound, and loves to play video games, especially ones with a great story.

Jennif(f)er Tamayo is a queer, migrant, latinx poet, Cancer/Leo essayist, and performer. JT is the daughter of Nancy, Flora, Leonor, Sol, and Ana. Her collections include [Red Missed Aches] (Switchback, 2011) selected by Cathy Park Hong for the Gatewood Prize (2010), Poems are the Only Real Bodies (Bloof Books 2013), DORA/ANA/GUATAVIT@ (RSH 2016) and YOU DA ONE (2017 reprint Noemi Books & Letras Latinas's Akrilica Series). Her essays and poetry have been published in Poetry, Best American Experimental Poetry, Mandorla: Writing from the Americas, Bettering American Poetry 2015, MICE, and Angels of the Americlypse; An Anthology of New Latin@ Writing. She has held a CantoMundo fellowship and is an EMERGENYC ('16) alum. Currently, JT lives in California and is thinking about resistant, decolonial practices of voice(ing). You can find their writing and art at www.jennifertamayo.com.

Thanu Yakupitiyage is challenging geopolitical and sonic borders whether she’s coordinating or marching in a rally for immigrants' rights or spinning tracks after hours as a DJ. Formerly the Senior Communications Manager at the NY Immigration Coalition, Thanu is now the U.S Communications Manager at 350.org. Her debut mixtape "Foreign Brown" was released in 2013. DJ Ushka is a Sri Lankan-born, Thailand-raised, Brooklyn-living migrant. She is an activist, cultural organizer, and DJ who brings together diverse interests in electronic and bass music, immigration activism, and cultural organizing. Learn more about them at ushkadj.wordpress.com.

Rommy Torrico is a queer, undocumented artivist born in Iquique, Chile, raised in Naples, Florida, and has recently moved to NY/NJ. Rommy has been involved in the (im)migrant rights struggle for several years and infuses much of their work with personal experience and the stories their community shares. Their work has been exhibited in California, DC, and NYC. You can find more about them on RommyTorrico.com and follow them on IG: @Rommyyy123).

Sonia Guiñansaca: Queer Migrant Poet, Cultural Organizer, and Activist from Harlem by way of Ecuador. Guiñansaca has founded some of the first creative artistic projects and performance spaces by and for migrant undocumented writers/artists. Guiñansaca a VONA/Voices alumni has performed at El Museo Del Barrio, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, NY Poetry Festival, Galleria de La Raza, and featured on NBC, PBS, Latina Magazine, Pen American, and the Poetry Foundation to name a few. She has presented keynotes, workshops, and panels at universities throughout the country. Named as 1 of "10 Up and Coming Latinx Poets You Need to Know" by Remezcla, as well as one of 13 Coolest Queers on the Internet by Teen Vogue, and a 2017 Artist in Residence at the Hemispheric Institute. She is now the Managing Director at CultureStrike, a national arts and culture organization rooted on cultural and narrative shift. Follow their work on Twitter/IG: @thesoniag or SoniaGuinansaca.com.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. A photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings and 20 Cooper Square is a wheelchair accessible venue.