Rapid Eye Movement
Guerrillas in the Midst
When you dream lucidly, you move through the world as if you’re the main character in a film. Dreamscapes enliven your senses. Forgotten scenes resurface in the mind’s eye, layering themselves over your reality. These poignant moments may startle you at first, as these reappearing memories may have been submerged for some time. Anything that surfaces or emerges is a testament to your complexity and aids in your experimentation and self expression.
About Guerrillas in the Midst
Emboldened by the power of community and bonded by the pursuit of equal access and representation in artistic spaces, GUERRILLAS IN THE MIDST aims to dismantle the elitist constructs erected by the art establishment. By engaging with members of diverse communities, convening artists shunned by conventional institutions, and occupying makeshift spaces, GUERRILLAS IN THE MIDST makes room for artistic “outsiders” to be seen through art exhibitions, community outreach and art education. GUERRILLAS IN THE MIDST endeavors to preserve the cultural heritage of artistic expression in Brooklyn and beyond.
About the Artists
Mary Chang was born in Lower Manhattan, New York. She was raised in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, where she continues to live and work. “My background in theater and dance push through my creative process, through abstract movements of color and texture, emotion and motion, these art forms intertwine and visually develop.” Chang has exhibited her work in galleries, museums, cultural centers throughout Tri-State Area, Massachusetts, California, Brazil and Holland. Her theater experience includes: La Mama Experimental Theater in New York, touring Italy as part of the technical crew on Fragments of a Greek Trilogy directed by Andrei Serban; she was part of an ensemble group of four American actors and four Swiss actors who developed and co-wrote a play titled In-Ter-View which toured throughout New York area and Switzerland, directed by Walter Riedweg of the Werktheater, Basel, Switzerland; she was part of an Immigrants’ Theater Project directed by Marcy Arlin, where she co-wrote the play Immigration Office, performed throughout New York area. Chang also worked with director Amir Naderi on his first American film, Manhattan by Numbers, shown at New Directors/New Films Festival (MoMA/Lincoln Center). Chang continues her love for theater working with emerging film directors Jamie Luce and Rane Parish.
Francks F. Décéus was born in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. Décéus received his B.A. in Sociology from Long Island University, NY in 1992 and studied Printmaking at Atlantis Arts Atelier, Gentily, France in 2007. He currently resides and maintains a studio in Brooklyn, NY. His solo exhibitions have included the Pounder-Koné Art Space, Los Angeles; Tilford Art Group, Los Angeles, CA; and the First World Art Gallery, Washington, D.C. Group exhibitions include the Brooklyn Museum, NY; Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), Brooklyn, NY; The National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis TN; Gallery M, New York, NY; and Hampton University, Hampton, VA. The works of Décéus have entered numerous public collections, including Xavier University, New Orleans, LA and the Schomburg Center, New York Public Library, NY. His work has been featured in publications such as the International Revue of African-American Art and The Village Voice.
Engels is a self-taught New York artist with Haitian roots. He states, “I did not get into art. Art got into me. For me, art is a natural process. I can create with anything. I build with wood, paper, layers of paint. I question what a painting is. Often the way I make the work is left explicit. Stretchers lay bare. Canvas is crumpled, torn, or shredded. Staples can be more than simple fasteners and can function as paint. A work does not have to be one thing or another. A painting can have elements of photography or sculpture, blurring the conventions between disciplines. I believe in the spirit. Sometimes I enter the work; we become one. I create as if from nothing, always listening to my senses. The process speaks to the poetry of my childhood, the survival strategies that Haitians use to get from one day to the next. The strict economy of line and texture, the use of everyday objects, and makeshift elegance recalls my grandmother’s home in Port-au-Prince, which against all odds had splendor.”
Jean Patrick Icart-Pierre was born in Haiti and moved to the U.S. in 1974. He holds a BFA from The Cooper Union for The Advancement of Science and Art, and a Master’s degree in Arts Education and an MFA from Brooklyn College. “My work is about oppression,” says Icart-Pierre. “It’s about the battle between the oppressed and the oppressor, it’s about not knowing how to swim and finding yourself in the middle of the ocean, it’s about the struggle to stay afloat and the instinct to fight.” In most of his works, Icart-Pierre is taking “protest” as a central theme to create a convincing story—he sees himself as a storyteller. The images are embellished with objects that imply certain feelings and emotions that are associated with the “black experience.” These implications are obvious in regard to materials such as barbed wires, ropes, chains, and tattered bags. These materials are used as a metaphor for the pain suffered by African people. Icart-Pierre’s work forces the viewer to deal with the subject matter; at the same time have the work function in artistic levels that are free of the political aspect of the work.
Jamal Ince received his B.F.A in Photography from Pratt Institute in 1991 and his MS in Education from Long Island University in 2005. Ince has exhibited his paintings and photographs widely in the New York Tri-State Area, as well as in Miami and Barbados. Selected group exhibitions include The Stamford Center for the Arts; Selena Gallery, Long Island University; Skylight Gallery Restoration Plaza; Five Myles Gallery; The Barbados Consulate and most recently, Prizm Miami. His work is held in private collections and he has created several public works including one for the NYC transit system. Ince’s painting “Angry Young Tenor” was recently featured in the interior design magazine New York Spaces. Ince has participated in artist residencies at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and Museum of African Art. He currently teaches visual art to inner city youth in Brooklyn. In describing his creative process he states, “In my work I have endeavored to create a mosaic that weaves culture and music together on the canvas.”
Navin June Norling received a BFA from the California College of the Arts, and has lived in New York since the early 90s. Norling’s work is influenced by both urban and rural sensibilities. Juxtaposing classic Americana imagery with urban found materials, Norling works off the premise that abandoned objects, whether they are from a farm or a city street, can always be put to an alternative use. Likewise, Norling reuses the symbols, graffiti, and even the walls of a city in his art to communicate what he calls a “collective history” of “power, class, geography, capitalism, and inequality.”
Natalie Alana Sturgis is an African American writer/painter born and raised in New York. In what she describes as her process of delivering her emotions onto her surface, with the use of acrylic paint and found objects on unconventional materials she waits to be connected with her canvas and absorbs its history, its reflection of emotion. Rarely is a piece planned. And with this immediate acceptance, her stories are beautifully told in bold color and expressive figures. Always a Creative, Sturgis has been in search of a form of expression that would allow her insides to spill out without overthinking or fear of abandonment. In writing, she comes close to her core, eloquently weaving together swords that touched on her fascination with love and the relationship between 2 humans, self-acceptance, and the unleashing of the Goddess. Painting allows her to express the rawness in healing. In her first body of work, produced within a year and a half of first picking up a paint brush, Sturgis is on a the path of self-discovery, with a desire to evoke a shared emotion with her audience.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.