Zeina Baltagi is a Lebanese-American artist and educator. Born in Stockton and raised in California and Lebanon, Zeina’s work explores and exposes the tensions within identity and social politics. It reveals intimate transformations in relation to lived experiences with physical, emotional, economic and cultural mobility.
Zeina holds a B.A. from California State University, Northridge, and an M.F.A. from University California, Davis. She has exhibited work with Basement Gallery, LADOT, Union Station, Los Angeles Road Concerts, PØST, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, bG gallery and Klowden Mann, as well as with numerous University galleries including; University of Southern California, Claremont Graduate University, California Lutheran University and California State University, Northridge.
Over the last decade, Contemporary Artist Zeina Baltagi's conceptual and performance-based work has centered around investigating the relationship of minority groups within the construct of the American Dream. Using everyday objects that represent mobility, wealth and stereotypes applied to immigrants in America, Zeina’s work is an intimate survey of the relationship between physical, emotional, economic and cultural mobility.
From November 8th to December 20, 2020, Zeina will join 11:11 A Creative Collective as an Artist in Residence, further immersing herself in the examination of surveillance through a series of discussions, performances and art creation. Beginning with a series of conversations with artists and philosophers, Zeina will discuss the watching and policing within common spaces, such as marketplaces; the commodification of public trauma and shame as seen in reality TV; medical surveillance and government surveillance, censorship, and racial profiling.
Zeina will put herself under surveillance within Embed Gallery, toying with the power dynamic and blurred lines between the observer and the observed, allowing for the public to see her art labor in real-time.
"I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU SEE ME"
Zeina's residency will include her ongoing project MARKETPLACE, which uses mirrored liquor signs as a literal and metaphorical reflection of her experience working within a 24/7 surveyed and recorded gas station. Through this lens, we will witness what happens when people of all classes, genders, races and abilities intersect within a common space.
What Zeina creates within Embed Gallery will be a response to her experience in a space under constant watch, allowing viewers to become part of her journey. Ultimately, the gas station is the common ground where everyone goes, but our experiences are certainly not the same.
Private made Public: The Artist's Relationship with Media
with Arshia Fatima Haq and Ron Athey
Surveillance and Censorship Within the SWANA Community
with Yasmine Nasser Diaz and Loujain Bager
Inverse Surveillance and the Male Gaze
with Casey Kauffmann and Gretchen Andrew
with Ted Meyer and Lechedevirgin Trimegisto
Government Surveillance: Layers of Watching, Profiling, and Race
with Amitis Motevalli, Marton Robinson, and Thinh Nguyen
ARSHIA FATIMA HAQ
Arshia Fatima Haq (born in Hyderabad, India, based in Los Angeles,
CA) works across film, visual art, performance and sound. She is interested in counter-archives, speculative documentaries, and the area between fact and fiction, and is currently exploring themes of embodiment and mysticism, particularly within the Islamic Sufi context. Her work emerges from the complexities of inhabiting multiple personas — woman, Muslim, immigrant, citizen— and is conceptualized in feminist modes outside of the Western feminist model. She is the founder of Discostan, a collaborative decolonial project and record label working with cultural production from the SWANA region.
Ron Athey is an American performance artist associated with body art and with extreme performance art. He has performed in the U.S. and internationally (especially in the UK and Europe). Athey's work explores challenging subjects like the relationships between desire, sexuality and traumatic experience. Many of his works include aspects of S&M in order to confront preconceived ideas about the body in relation to masculinity and religious iconography. Ron Athey forces the body to transcend its confines. His brilliance manifests as exorcism not only of, and for, the cauterizing of his own pain, but by pushing the boundaries of endurance through artistic expression, he shares his compassionate epiphany: We all need to break free from the shackles placed upon the individual by society, family, religion and gender. And possibly through the catharsis of performance, and ritual, we might finally be able to lay to rest the demons who’ve sent us in search of the respite only a knife or needle could at one time provided.
YASMINE NASSER DIAZ
Yasmine Nasser Diaz is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice navigates overlapping tensions around religion, gender, and third-culture identity. Her recent work includes immersive installation, fiber etching, and mixed media collage using personal archives and found imagery. Diaz is a recipient of the California Community Foundation Visual Artist Fellowship (2019) with works included in the collections of LACMA, UCLA, and the Arab American National Museum. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
Loujain Bager is an art historian, artist, and curator based in Los Angeles, California. She recently graduated with her masters Curatorial Practices and the Public Sphere from the University of Southern California, where she is completing her graduate thesis on contemporary artists in Saudi Arabia. Bager currently works as an artist assistant at Sherin Guirguis Studio and has worked as a curatorial assistant at Leiminspace, a curatorial intern at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, and an intern in education at the California African American Museum (CAAM). In her free time, she is a member of SWANA-LA, a collective dedicated to advocating for the Southwest Asian & North Afrikan community on a local and global scale. She received her BA in Art History with a minor in art from Florida International University.
Casey Kauffmann is an interdisciplinary artist whose digital and drawing practices address the contemporary performance of self as it relates to her experience of femme representation, social media, and reality television. She received her MFA from The University of Southern California and her Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College in Washington. Kauffmann’s collage Instagram project @uncannysfvalley has been featured in LAWeekly, The New Yorker, I-D Vice, Hyperallergic, and has been exhibited in galleries such as Transfer Gallery, the Brand Library in Glendale, Leimin Space, and more. The project, which she started in 2014, features digital collage works and GIFs created using only her iPhone. The pieces Kauffmann posts to this account are an ever-accumulating collection of material from all corners of the internet, sourced from Tumblr, Instagram, and Google. Her drawing practice functions as an inquiry into representation of femme emotion and hysteria in both art history and popular culture.
Gretchen Andrew (born in Los Angeles, 1988) is a search engine and internet imperialist artist. Her practice is described by critic Jonathan Griffin in LALA Magazine as alluding to “the Wild West possibilities of the Internet and to the scale of her artistic ambition.” She trained in London with the artist Billy Childish from 2012-2017. In 2018 the V&A Museum released her book Search Engine Art. Starting in 2019 she became known for her vision boards and associated performative internet manipulations of art world institutions of Frieze Los Angeles, The Whitney Biennial, The Turner Prize, and The Cover of Artforum. Gretchen’s work has recently been featured in The Washington Post, Fortune Magazine, Monopol, Wirtschaftswoche, The Los Angeles Times, and The Financial Times. Her exhibition Future News is on display at The Monterey Museum of Art through Jan 3, 2021. You can find her work with Gazelli Art House and Annka Kultys Gallery, who will be hosting her next exhibition in February 2021.
Lechedevirgen Trimegisto is the pseudonym of the Mexican artist, curator and producer Felipe Osornio, known for developing an expanded artistic practice that encompasses a wide range of hybrid proposals, combining sexual dissidence, popular culture, witchcraft knowledge and science with the art of performance, image creation, video and writing. He/she/they takes his/her/theirs stage name from the alchemical tradition, and also lives with three kidneys due to the transplant surgery that brought him/she/they back to life after 10 years of kidney failure, which is why his/her/theirs latest projects are focused on organ donation, disease and medicine. Lechedevirgen is a non-binary artist, positioned from the logic of generic multiplicities that exceed the human form, towards the holobiont, the plant world, the machines and the demonic legion, and responds to the pronouns he, she and they.
Ted Meyer is a nationally recognized artist, curator and patient advocate who helps patients, students and medical professionals see the positive in the worst life can offer. Ted’s 20-year project “Scarred for Life: Mono-prints of Human Scars” chronicles the trauma and courage of people who have lived through accidents and health crises. Ted seeks to improve patient/physician communications and speaks about living as an artist with illness. Ted has been featured on NPR and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, TED and USA Today. His work has been displayed internationally in museums, hospitals, and galleries. As the current Artist in Residence at USC Keck School of Medicine, Ted curates’ exhibitions of artwork by patients whose subject matter coincides with medical school curriculum. Ted has curated shows by artists challenged by MS, cancer, germ phobias, back pain, and other diseases. In addition, he is a Visiting Scholar at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, and was recently invited to take part in the Aspen Seminars at the Aspen Institute. Ted’s rare niche mixes art, medicine, and stories of healing and survival, drawing from his experience as a lifelong patient of Gaucher Disease (an enzyme deficiency that affects bones and joints). Ted spent much of his childhood in severe pain.
Panteha Abareshi, based out of Los Angeles CA, was born with Beta Zero Thalassemia Sickle Cell, a rare condition that causes near-constant pain. Abareshi turned frequent hospital stays into de-facto artist residencies – “The nuances of disability and chronic illness are lost on the average able-bodied individual, and the marginalization, erasure and violence that I have endured from it alone is devastating. In combination with my personal notions of gender, racial and sexual identity, I am fully immersed in otherness. There is so little discussion surrounding this, and little to no exploration of these topics in contemporary work, and I aim to push against that lack of representation. In my practice I am warping concrete, physical forms into highly disembodied abstractions. Through my work I aim to discuss the complexities of living within a body that is highly monitored, constantly examined, and made to feel like a specimen. Taking images that are recognizable as human forms and reducing them to gestural forms is a juxtaposition of my own bodies objectification, and dissection.” – Abareshi
Costa Rican artist Marton Robinson has an interdisciplinary background informed by his studies in both Physical Education and Art and Visual Communication. He completed an MFA at the University of Southern California. Robinson’s art, which is informed mainly by African American traditions, challenges the conventional representations of black identities in art history, mainstream culture, and the official national narratives, especially those of Costa Rica. With an often ironic and rhetorical take on the constructs of racism, this practice endeavors to confront the hierarchies and conceptions inherited from colonialism in order to subvert the mindsets and prejudices ingrained in our social experience. Robinson’s work exposes the nuances present in the Afro-Latino experience, enriching the critical discourse of contemporary works of the African Diaspora. Robinson has participated in exhibitions in internationally including The Getty Center, California; Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, Costa Rica; X Bienal Centroamericana, Costa Rica; Aidekman Arts Center, Boston; Le Palais de Tokyo, France; and Bergen Kjøtt, Bergen, Norway.
Thinh Nguyen (b. 1984, Bảo An, Vietnam.) Thinh Nguyen is an artist, educator, curator, cultural critic, who works investigate the intersections of cultural values. Utilizing various media, they explores and exposes oppressive sociopolitical power structures within those values. Nguyen performed and exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently at The Mistake Room, The Hammer Museum, REDCAT, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and Contemporary Irish Art Center Los Angeles. Their work has been written about in Artforum, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, LA Weekly, Hyperallergic, Artillery Magazine, and numerous online forums.
Amitis Motevalli is an artist who explores the cultural resistance and survival of people living in poverty, conflict and/or war. Her experience as a trans-national migrant, is foundational in her work. Through many mediums including, sculpture, video, performance and collaborative public art, her work juxtaposes iconography with iconoclasm. Her work intends to ask questions about violence and historical documentation and canonization, while invoking the significance of a secular grassroots struggle. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, exhibiting art internationally as well as organizing to create an active and critical cultural discourse through information exchange, either in art, pedagogy or organizing artists and educators.
This program is sponsored in part by a grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles.
Embed Gallery is located at Toolbox LA in Chatsworth CA.
Toolbox LA is tech-incubator, innovation hub, co-working space and center for the creative community. With shared desk space to dedicated offices, artist studios, event space, a wood shop, metal shop and makerspace, Toolbox LA's member perk are endless!