Poetry Under Fata Morgana
On Thursday, September 17, 2015 from 6:00PM to 7:30PM, Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Mad. Sq. Art hosted Poetry Under Fata Morgana, a free, public poetry event showcasing leading voices in spoken word poetry and performance, organized by artist Teresita Fernández and poet Emanuel Xavier. Poetry Under Fata Morgana took place under the golden canopies of Fernández’s Fata Morgana, the artist’s shimmering outdoor exhibition currently on view in Madison Square Park. Invited poets included Emanuel Xavier, Sandra María Esteves, Bonafide Rojas, Machete Movement, and True. The program coincided with National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15, 2015) and situated a broad range of Latino experience and literary production within the context of contemporary American poetry.
With both Fata Morgana and Poetry Under Fata Morgana, Fernández wishes to increase visibility of Latino communities in New York City by amplifying the rich diversity and complexity of what it means to be “Latino” as an important aspect of American culture. Fernández emphasizes Fata Morgana’s unique platform as a democratic public space used for communal gathering, contemplation, and free expression. With these collaborative programs, Fernández hopes to expand our assumptions about who exactly constitutes “the public,” the makeup of which is as mutable and fluid as the reflections captured by her sculpture.
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An Equality Forum LGBT History Month Icon and former homeless youth, Emanuel Xavier is author of four poetry collections, Nefarious, Americano: Growing up Gay and Latino in the USA, Pier Queen, If Jesus Were Gay & other poems, and a novel, Christ Like. He has been featured in The New York Times and on Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry and CNN. Emanuel was a speaker at the United Nations as part of the International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in the USA and has performed across the United States and internationally in Buenos Aires, Ghent, London, and Paris. He is recipient of a NYC Council Citation and has been a finalist for Lambda Literary Awards and International Latino Book Awards. In 2015, he was a featured TEDx Bushwick speaker and was filmed for a Galicia, Spain-based documentary project on international poets that includes writers from Iceland, Montreal, Jordan, and Palestine. His work has been translated into Spanish, Romanian, Serbian, and Japanese.
Sandra María Esteves
Poet, visual artist, and Bronx native Sandra María Esteves, known as the Godmother of Nuyorican Poetry, has published several poetry collections, including Bluestown Mockingbird Mambo and Yerba Buena, her first book, which was selected as Best Small Press by the Library Journal. One of the first Dominican Boricua Nuyorican women to publish a recognized volume of poetry in the United States, Esteves’s many awards include a Pregones Theater/NEA Master Artist Award, the Con Tinta Award from Acentos/AWP, Poet Honoree from Universes Poetic Theater Ensemble Company, Arts Review Honoree from the Bronx Council on the Arts, The Edgar Allan Poe Literary Award from the Bronx Historical Society, and a Poetry Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. A teaching artist for over thirty-five years, she has taught creative writing workshops for the New York City Board of Education, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, the Bronx Council on the Arts, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Caribbean Cultural Center, and El Museo del Barrio. Esteves has presented her work at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Kennedy Center, the Public Theater, and at major universities and educational institutions across the country.
Bonafide Rojas is the author of Renovatio, When The City Sleeps, and Pelo Bueno. He was born and raised in the Bronx and is the founder of Grand Concourse Press. He has appeared on Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry and in the poetry documentary Spitting Ink, and has been published in numerous anthologies and journals. He has performed nationally and internationally at colleges and a variety of performance venues. Rojas is a co-bandleader of experimental rock band The Mona Passage.
Machete Movement, founded in 2009 by El David and Katalina Rodriguez, is a collection of artists, poets, writers, and musicians that combines Afro-Latino roots drumming with Yoruba chants, along with spoken word. Machete Movement’s mission is to create, record, perform, and preserve music that fuses roots music from Africa, the Caribbean, and other Latino cultures with contemporary sounds, spoken word, and hip hop. Following this mission, Machete Movement preserves the cultural arts of their ancestors through music, words, and art, and acts as the voice of the immigrants, their sons and daughters, and all those struggling for their place in equality.
Educator, performer, author, and consummate artist, True was born and raised in Queens, New York. A founding member of award-winning New York poetry collective El Grito de Poetas, True’s mission is to tell the world the stories of the desolate and unwanted, no matter how vivid and full of pain, so that they will never be forgotten. As founder/director of The Climbing Ivy Project, True is creating a worldwide network of young women leaders that will bring awareness to the plight of women across the globe. True has published two books: Where Do I Begin? and Climbing Ivy, a collection of poems and short stories dedicated to the women who have inspired her. Her newest endeavor, a play titled In Defense of Glitter and Rainbows, is currently in production.
About Teresita Fernández:
Teresita Fernández (American, b. 1968) is a 2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and the recipient of many prestigious awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Grant, an American Academy in Rome Affiliated Fellowship, and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award. Appointed by President Obama, Fernández served from 2011-2014 on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, a federal panel that advises the President, Congress, and governmental agencies on national matters of design and aesthetics.
Fernández’s large-scale commissions include recent site-specific works at Louis Vuitton locations in Shanghai and Paris. Additional site-specific installations include Amethyst Cinema at the Galerie Pfriem at SCAD, France, and Blind Blue Landscape at the renowned Bennesee Art site in Naoshima, Japan. Fernández is the youngest artist commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum for Olympic Sculpture Park where her permanently installed work, Seattle Cloud Cover, allows visitors to walk under a covered skyway while viewing the city’s skyline through optically shifting multicolored glass. The artist recently closed an immersive, large-scale exhibition, As Above So Below, which was on view at MASS MoCA through April 5, 2015.
Fernández’s works are included in many prominent collections and have been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; The Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth, TX; The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Spain; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. Fernández is currently on the board of Artpace, a non-profit, international artist’s residency program. She received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and her BFA from Florida International University. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
About Fata Morgana:
Fata Morgana by New York-based artist Teresita Fernández is Madison Square Park Conservancy’s largest and most ambitious outdoor sculpture to date. The outdoor sculpture consists of 500 running feet of golden, mirror-polished discs that create canopies above the pathways around the Park’s central Oval Lawn.
In nature, a Fata Morgana is a horizontal mirage that forms across the horizon line. Alluding to this phenomenon, Fernández’s project introduces a shimmering horizontal element to the Park that will engage visitors in a dynamic experience. The installation is a mirror-polished, golden metal sculpture that will hover above the Park’s winding walkways to define a luminous experiential passage for Park visitors. The metal forms, perforated with intricate patterns reminiscent of foliage, will create abstract flickering effects as sunlight filters through the canopy, casting a golden glow across the expanse of the work, paths, and passersby. The project is Mad. Sq. Art’s first to fully utilize the upper register of a visitor’s space.
Fata Morgana was designed by Teresita Fernández in collaboration with SITU Fabrication. Fata Morgana was fabricated by Adirondack Studios. Structural engineering by Thornton Tomasetti.
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Major exhibition support for Fata Morgana is provided by Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco.
Substantial exhibition support for Fata Morgana is provided by the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation. Major support for Mad. Sq. Art is provided by The Charina Endowment Fund, Toby Devan Lewis, Pentagram Design, Sorgente Group of America, Thornton Tomasetti, Tiffany & Co., The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Anonymous. Substantial support is provided by The Buhl Foundation, Irving Harris Foundation, The Sol LeWitt Fund for Artist Work, The Henry Luce Foundation, Danny and Audrey Meyer, Ronald A. Pizzuti, and The Rudin Family. Ace Hotel New York is the Official Hotel Partner of Madison Square Park Conservancy.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Mad. Sq. Art is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Mad. Sq. Art is supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Madison Square Park Conservancy is a public/private partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.