Home Studio with
Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine

Founders of Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine, Mildred Beltre and Oasa Du Verney: When it finally got warm we started working on the fence weaving. It felt really good to be outside, to see people even though we can only see half of each other's faces. We spent a lot of time with books researching what we would weave into the fence on our block, part of our now 10 year tradition as BHAM. The pressure was on, both because it is our 10 year anniversary but also because after so much time in isolation, we felt the message had to be REALLY good. What would people want to see, think about once we could be together again… We feel good about what we finally settled on. We found it looking through Black Skin White Masks by Frantz Fanon, in the book he includes a poem by Leopold Senghor called “For Koras and Balafong”. In the poem he is reflecting on the African Sky at night. We did not quote directly from the poem but rather used some of the language and rearranged it for this year’s weaving for our neighbors. We have some other public projects, not on our block coming up, so stay tuned. 

 

www.brooklynhiartmachine.blogspot.com

Instagram: @brooklynhiartmachine

 

Interview conducted by Klaudia Ofwona Draber.

Oasa DuVerney (left) and Mildred Beltre (right) working on a new fence weaving in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Oasa DuVerney (left) and Mildred Beltre (right) working on a new fence weaving in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Oasa DuVerney (left) and Mildred Beltre (right) working on a new fence weaving in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

 

Black, Mystical, and Shining, fence weaving, 2020.

 

About the Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine

“The Brooklyn Hi Art Machine is a project that began when we two artists, Mildred Beltré and Oasa DuVerney, began making art together in each others apartments and found that the  activity made us better friends. As we shared stories and experiences through our work, we wondered if they could bring a similar experience to our other neighbors.

 

In the summer 2010 we co-founded a collaborative public art project that explores the possibility of art making as a community-building tool. The Brooklyn Hi Art Machine is a community based social practice art project in Crown Heights Brooklyn. Our intention was to create a stronger community by giving people an opportunity to get to know each other through art activities.

 

Our goals are to create a greater connection between neighbors in our community and make art friendly and accessible to all. We believe that by becoming active, collective participants in art making, members of the community can find new ways to relate to each other and new uses of space.

Group projects are a way of combating the social isolation that leads to suspicion amongst neighbors as opposed to cooperation. By engaging our neighbors on the street, we facilitate conversation and trust which is often lost when a community is undergoing big transitions and upheaval. As with the community of Crown Heights which is now undergoing rapid change and gentrification.”

 

From www.brooklynhiartmachine.blogspot.com

info@kodalab.org

Brooklyn, NY 11216

KODA Arts, Inc. is fiscally sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).

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