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Sanctuary City

Three Artists Explore the Refugee Experience in New York City
Group exhibition at Hunter East Harlem Gallery

Titled, ‘Mia’ (‘Mine’ in Spanish), is an interactive sound installation consisting of sculpture, video, and sound at Hunter East Harlem Gallery, NYC. This project originated through an ongoing collaboration with Alexa, an asylum seeker who resided at the RDJ Refugee Shelter in West Harlem, New York City. Alexa is transgender, originally from Nicaragua where she had to flee her country due to political reasons after the 2018 protests in her country. She is currently waiting for her immigration status trial in New York City.

For the past year Hacmon has been working with Alexa, through a workshop initiative at the RDJ Refugee Shelter a non-profit organization, currently the only shelter in New York City serving exclusively asylum seekers and refugees. The workshop created a meaningful and ongoing space for healing, dialogue, and participation. The workshop has also allowed Alexa to become a collaborator of this project, and together they created an installation that is based on her individual story.

This installation titled 'Mia ( Mine in Spanish) is named after Alexa's daughter who is back in Nicaragua. The installation includes two main audios, the first is a recording of Alexa voice reciting four poems she wrote during the workshop dedicated to her kids back home. The second audio is part of a video where Alexa is wearing a Nicaraguan traditional dress and dancing to Nicaraguan folk music from her hometown Chinandega, titled: La Cumbia Chinandegana by autor Jorge Paladino.

The sculptures for the ‘Mia’ sound installation are in the form of institutional architecture, inspired by writings of ‘Non-Places' -architecture that has no history or identity by Marc Augé. Two sculptures are in the form of air ventilation shafts equipped with speakers emanating sound out of the large air vents placed at each opening. Third sculpture, titled: Capsule 6, is an interactive architectural structure, where viewers are invited to go in, the Capsule is part of Hacmon's ongoing series of structures which is best described as a one person living unit=Home, shelter or cell.

This project was supported by LMCC Creative Engagement

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