ARCAthens Virtual Residency #1

ARCAthens Virtual Residency #1

We are delighted to introduce our Inaugural ARCAthens Virtual Residency Fellows,

Blanka Amezkua and Eirene Efstathiou

Blanka‌ ‌Amezkua‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌n artist, ‌cultural‌ ‌promoter,‌ ‌educator,‌ ‌and‌ ‌project‌ ‌creator ‌based‌ ‌in the‌ ‌South‌ ‌Bronx with exhibitions at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Queens Museum, El Museo del Barrio, Art Base; Brussels, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, San Diego Art Institute, and the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, among others. Amezkua’s ‌practice‌ ‌is‌ ‌greatly‌ ‌influenced‌ ‌and‌ ‌informed‌ ‌by‌ ‌folk‌ ‌art‌ ‌and‌ ‌popular‌ ‌culture, and in‌ ‌2008‌ ‌she‌ ‌began‌ ‌an‌ ‌artist-run‌ ‌project‌ ‌in‌ ‌her‌ ‌bedroom‌ ‌called‌ ‌the‌ ‌Bronx‌ ‌Blue‌ ‌Bedroom‌ ‌Project‌ ‌(BBBP).‌ ‌BBBP‌ ‌ran‌ ‌from‌ ‌2008-2010.‌ Between 2010-2016, s‌he lived in Athens, Greece where she initiated FoKiaNou 24/7, now FokiaNou Art Space, in the center of the Hellenic capital. Blanka currently‌ ‌operates‌ ‌‌AAA3A‌‌‌(Alexander‌ ‌Avenue‌ ‌Apartment‌ ‌3A)‌ ‌an‌ ‌alternative‌ ‌artist-run‌ ‌project‌ ‌which‌ ‌offers‌ ‌food,‌ ‌dialogue,‌ ‌workshops,‌ ‌and‌ ‌art‌ ‌in‌ ‌her‌ ‌living‌ ‌room.‌ Mentions of ‌her‌ ‌work‌ ‌and‌ ‌projects‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌found‌ ‌in‌ ‌various‌ ‌notable‌ ‌publications including HYPERALLERGIC, The New York Times, ART NEWS, HuffPost Arts, The International Review of African American Art, and  Time Out New York. ‌www.blankaamezkua.com‌

Blanka Amezkua
Eirene Efstathiou with the Kiafa series

Eirene Efstathiou is a visual artist living in Athens, Greece who works in a variety of different media from painting and printmaking to performance to small scale installations. Her practice investigates collective and archival memory, sentiment, affect and how these function in the public sphere. Efstathiou is a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Tufts University, (Studio Art Diploma and BFA, 2003) where she studied painting and printmaking, and the Athens School of Fine Arts, (MFA 2010). She received a residency fellowship at Zea Mays Printmaking in Northampton, MA in 2017, and she is currently a PhD candidate at the Athens School of Fine Art.  Efstathiou has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Europe and the United States. Her most recent solo exhibitions include: A Jagged Line Through Space, Eleni Koroneou Gallery Athens (2020); Regarding the Continuity of Disrupted Images, Irene Laub Gallery, Brussels Belgium, (2017); I Draw, I Learn Greece, Eleni Koroneou Gallery, Athens, Greece (2016). Her most recent group exhibitions include: When the Present is History, DEPO, Istanbul, Turkey (2020); Anatomy of Political Melancholy, Athens Conservatory, Shwartz Foundation, Athens Greece (2019); Truth Is Always Something Else: A dialogue between two Collections, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome, Italy (2018); ANTIDORON. Works from the EMST Collection, documenta 14, Kassel, Germany (2017). Efstathiou’s work is represented in public and private collections in Europe and the United States. In 2009 she was the recipient of the DESTE Prize, DESTE Foundation, Athens, Greece. She lives and works in Athens, Greece. www.eireneefstathiou.com

Instagram Visual Conversation

ARCAthens Virtual Residency #1 is the work of our first two AVR Fellows, Blanka Amezkua, the Bronx, New York, and Eirene Efstathiou, Athens, Greece. The Instagram conversation below is taking place from June 1-June 30, 2020, and is posted in chronological order, with the most recent date first.

Week 4: #MagicOrTheTimeIsNow

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Curatorial Reflections for Week 4 #MagicOrTheTimeIsNow #BlankaAmezkua (#TheBronx) and #EireneEfstathiou (#Athens) complete their Virtual Residency with ARCAthens #AVR during a moment of unprecedented uncertainty. This moment, the #SummerOf2020, is a moment of “seeming” oppositions, and the Fellows explore these distressing contradictions through contextualizing the images of their artwork with their own text as well as excerpts from thinkers they are inspired by. The Fellows have been asking us questions throughout the AVR, just as we are desperate for answers. We all have questions, now more than ever, about the pandemic, about the state of our communities, our nation, our world, our planet, our humanity. I’ve often found myself asking, “Can someone please tell us the truth?” Alas, answers, and truth are always elusive, and, as we search now, we seem to be in a moment of haze, confusion, and lack of clarity. Or, are we? Is tomorrow really “unknown” now any more than ever, or is our perceptive facility under a necessary reconstruction? Blanka reminds us the words of #AlokVaid-Menon: “permanence is unambitious. things don’t die, they go somewhere else,” and “’natural’ & ‘reality’ are political aesthetics. birth new worlds. every pattern can be unwoven.” Maybe it’s not haze or confusion we are experiencing, but the pain of truth, unmasked, forced on us to contend with?
 Eirene asks, “What can happen as if by magic, between two tomorrows?” I was pleasantly surprised to see the Fellows choose this final week’s theme, #MagicOrTheTimeIsNow because, as we battle viruses –physiological or perceptual- artists (and all of us, really) need to continue asserting and embracing the unknown: that which we may not yet be ready to visualize, or even comprehend, through our corrupted rational or political tropes, and allow for a courage, or audacity, to overtake us for that which comes, however new, together, with light. Yours, Aristides Logothetis #InstagramTakeover #AAVirtualResidency 
#blankaamezkua
#eireneefstathiou

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2020 NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS: 1. return to the basics: the lungs, they are for breathing. the heart, it is for forgiving. 2. remain porous through the pain. a broken heart is an invitation: there is space here, inside. 3. your life is your greatest romance. so, speak roses. make every conversation a ceremony. 4. amidst diffused despair, harvest hope. cultivate idealism. wear them like heirlooms. 5. become indelible. linger in everything you touch. 6. permanence is unambitious. things don’t die, they go somewhere else. 7. “natural” & “reality” are political aesthetics. birth new worlds. every pattern can be unwoven. 8. language is bewitching, but do not mistake talking about the thing as doing the thing. 9. comparison is creativity’s curse. genius is the ability to orbit elsewhere, imagine otherwise. 10. even trash is teeming with life. surrender to your insignificance & find your magic there. 11. empathy is a daily baptism, but do not confuse bartering your dignity as compromise. ——-******** / Alok Vaid-Menon ALOK is an internationally acclaimed gender fluid writer, performance artist, and public speaker based in New York City. /photo of the floral installation, “Neither seek nor avoid, take what comes”; Mixed media; silk flowers, thumb tacks; Variable dimensions (72 x 72 in roughly); 2020. Part of EXODUS III: : MEXICO IN NEW YORK – FROM OROZCO TO OROZCO at WhiteBox, NYC May 5 – June 12, 2020. Post by Blanka Amezkua #blankaamezkua #InstagramTakeover #AAVirtualResidency #MagicOrTheTimeIsNow #flowers #magic #whiteboxny #orozco #mexico #alokvaidmenon

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Week 3: “Movement”

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《Movement Song》 By Audre Lorde ♡☆♡☆♡☆♡☆♡ I have studied the tight curls on the back of your neck moving away from me beyond anger or failure your face in the evening schools of longing through mornings of wish and ripen we were always saying goodbye in the blood in the bone over coffee before dashing for elevators going in opposite directions without goodbyes. Do not remember me as a bridge nor a roof as the maker of legends nor as a trap door to that world where black and white clericals hang on the edge of beauty in five o’clock elevators twitching their shoulders to avoid other flesh and now there is someone to speak for them moving away from me into tomorrows morning of wish and ripen your goodbye is a promise of lightning in the last angels hand unwelcome and warning the sands have run out against us we were rewarded by journeys away from each other into desire into mornings alone where excuse and endurance mingle conceiving decision. Do not remember me as disaster nor as the keeper of secrets I am a fellow rider in the cattle cars watching you move slowly out of my bed saying we cannot waste time only ourselves. ♡☆♡☆♡☆♡☆ Peekaboo; Black and white photocopy, glitter, and glue; 8.5 x 11 in; 2014. Post by Blanka Amezkua #blankaamezkua #InstagramTakeover #AAVirtualResidency #movement #AudreLorde #Poems #Blackpoet #phenomenalwoman #SouthBronx #MottHaven #glitter #magic

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Week 2: “Proximity”

Week 1: “Location”

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Curatorial Reflections: As the first week of the first-ever ARCAthens Virtual Residency (AVR) closes, and we prepare for Week 2, the theme changes from Location to #Proximity. ARCAthens has invited #BlankaAmezkua (#TheBronx) and #EireneEfstathiou (#Athens) to an #InstagramTakeover, where these two wonderful artists engage in a visual conversation. Although ARCAthens had aspirations of a more robust digital platform from its inception, the timing of the AVR’s birth was directly inspired as a response to the #Covid19 #Pandemic. Little did we, nor our #Fellows, ever imagine our first week would close on the 10th day of historic demonstrations inspired and captivated by tragedy and the nation’s disgust, exasperation, and readiness to push the country further away from the death-grip of institutional racism. Predictably, many of the AVR Fellows’ posts have been journalistic. With the theme of “Location” -Blanka’s base is in The Bronx, Eirene’s in Athens- both Fellows are in locations experiencing public demonstrations. This time, both in Covid and protests, The Bronx is #epicentric. Mixing original, sometimes older works with current photos is revealing a poetry in this project that transcends documentation and begins a peak at deeper, long-identified issues of research and concern for both these artists. The dots are connecting in an interesting, multi-layered visual poem, and I excitedly anticipate Week 2. I’ll chime in again at the end of Week 2. Meanwhile, please share your thoughts with us here, and stay healthy, stay focused, and support the arts, for a vision with clarity and hope. Yours, Aristides Logothetis #AAVirtualResidency #blankaamezkua #eireneefstathiou

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