Written by Vanessa Gualdron for Queens Public Television.
Although it’s home to some of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in the country, Queens is an often overlooked borough when it comes to the New York art scene. However, every year Queens Art Express, a project by Queens Council on the Arts, sets out to change that by gathering a variety of artists and providing them the platform to exhibit their art in art spaces all throughout Queens. Running mainly along the 7-train line and other major Queens train stations, Queens Art Express 2012 is a festival of “exhibitions, events, performances, and great places to eat in the vibrant cultural communities of Queens, NY.”
This year, the festival’s recurring theme was a challenging topic which often times renders debates from every which angle; public policy. Examining the question “What If We Made A New World?”, 12 commissioned artists investigated ways to tackle the public policies on Healthcare, Housing and the Economy through any art form. As a result, the public was given alternative ways to think about such a contentious matter.
Artists Ran Hwang, Carlos Martinez, Queen Godis and Anna Lise Jensen collaborated on and interpreted the question, “What If We Re-Made U.S. Housing Policy?” for the first night of Queens Art Express 2012; taking place on Thursday, June 14th, at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.
As you make your way around the space, another eye catcher is the row of three distressed doors with portraits of people arranged on the windowpanes. “Doors” as explained by artist Carlos Martinez is, “a reflection of the conditions of hundreds of people literally surviving on the streets. The images of New York City residents are windows to the many urban realities of historically marginalized groups.”. Martinez’s sensibility resonates in this piece; he is able to accurately recreate the feelings of “social invisibility and exclusion and urban displacement” that many people face on a daily basis through his portraiture while metaphorically recreating the undeniable sense of “ unsustainable development and urban displacement” that is generally disregarded by your average citizen.
Read the complete article here.