Katya Grokhovsky is a NYC based artist, independent curator, and educator, born in Ukraine and raised in Australia. Katya is a Founding Artistic Director of The Immigrant Artist Biennial (TIAB) and Feminist Urgent (FU). In this article, Katya shares with us what motivated her to start TIAB, the work involved behind creating this type of production, and how we can foster platforms for dialogue.
The Immigrant Artist Biennial (TIAB) 2020: Here, Together! is kicking off this Saturday, March 7th, at the Brooklyn Museum!
Levan Mindiashvili, I Should Have Kissed You Longer, 2019
The Immigrant Artist Biennial (TIAB) 2020: Here, Together!
The Immigrant Artist Biennial grew out of an idea I had one day to create my own long-term cultural platform, which can facilitate and support numerous public programs and give exposure to marginalized artists. I was mainly inspired by my work as a mentor in NYFA’s Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program, where I saw a need to maintain a community and visibility, which that program fostered, as well as my own experience in pursuing an artistic career as an immigrant artist.
Yali Romagoza, The Mistress of Loneliness (Chapter 1, The Departure ), 2019, video still
TIAB will premiere in March 2020 across New York City under the title Here, Together! and will take place over 8 + venues, exhibiting 45+ artists over the course of six months. It is essentially an artist run project. I am the Founding Director and Chief Curator, with the support of six volunteer female team members, who are curators, artists and culture makers. The project is fiscally sponsored by NYFA – New York Foundation for the Arts and was initially soft launched in April 2019, with eight fundraising events and auctions staged across numerous collaborating venues, including Radiator Arts, Assembly Room, East Village Art View, Art & Social Activism, Kickstarter and Chashama. In the Fall 2019, I was a Creator in Residence at Kickstarter, where we created a crowdfunding campaign for the project with a successful outcome. In 2020, our presenting venues include: Brooklyn Museum, EFA Project Space, Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, a program of Artists Alliance Inc., NARS Foundation gallery, Green-Wood Cemetery, C24 gallery, ¡CORÓNATE! Festival by Queens Museum and more!
Pei Ling Ho, performance for TIAB Fundraiser at Radiator Gallery, 2019, photo Alex Sullivan
It was important to me to launch the project in 2020, at the time of extreme anti-immigrant sentiment, family separation, unrest, discrimination and exclusion. I aim to continue presenting TIAB every two years with different themes, curatorial teams and venues, with a vision to extend the project nationally and internationally. TIAB sets out to form a dialogue through exhibition of ambitious projects with an aim to facilitate a diverse and experimental discourse as well as build a globally connected and united community. My hope is to bring forth the conversation about creative work as an immigrant in the U.S. and the issues that artists face in order to maintain their practices. I want to have these discussions because we’re experiencing a time of being associated with so much negativity. With The Immigrant Artist Biennial, I want to celebrate exactly what the world is trying to stereotype. The word immigrant is loaded with prejudice and assumptions and I’d like to dispel those. The multiplicities of migrant experiences are endless and complex. Many unfair judgements are made because of accents, appearances, customs, gestures, body language. I am interested in how artists explore all of the above within their own context, their journeys, stories, family histories, cultures, communities, memories. It is a positive message. We need to learn from each other in order to be a better world, and TIAB aims to provide an opportunity to do just that.
Bahareh Khoshooee, #EverChangingFacade, photo Christopher Garcia Valle, 2018