I was recently awarded a residency at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum as part of their Habitat For Artists (HFA) program – a chance for artists to work with the public and experiment with a new idea or further develop a project.
My goal was to flip the narrative of exhibition curation, placing the power of choice in the hands of the viewers that might feel inimidated or even alienated by art. Heck, many museums and galleries often show work that is so ‘out there,’ one feels that a PhD is needed in order to understand it. The fact is, artists need viewers to engage on a deeper level, but sometimes the institutional systems muddle things along the way. My experiment was to see if I could help bridge that gap.
To keep the process as approachable as possible, I randomly selected 60 prints from my instagram feed and printed them (actually, CPW did – thank you Michael!!! Also, thank you Ben for helping me with set up – you guys rock!). Granted, I am working from my own images so there is some unavoidable input by nature of how I see the world. Willing participants perused said bin of prints and made a selection of what moved them, to “exhibit” on the #HFA shed. Conversations ranged from what they find meaningful in art, to composition of images, art in general, landscapes, politics, you name it. At the end of our interaction, I made a portrait of them along with their selection.
This was a fun concept to explore. Most of my weekend’s participants happened to be artists that loved the process and sequencing. Others seemed to have a connection to art and I’m not sure if that’s just because Woodstock is a very artsy town to begin with, or if we just needed different signage (“Don’t Get Art? This is for you!”); perhaps this is what makes me want to try this again. Being able to understand what moves someone and makes them tick is an always-present curiosity for me.
And bonus – I have new work that might just end up in an upcoming exhibition!
Upcoming HFA projects:
July 21-22: Get on the Bus with Roger Lazoff
July 25-27: Mileage Allowance with Barbara Loisch
July 28: Yoga & Photography, with Juan Giraldo
Photo of Miriam Romais by © Levi Shagalow
Summer is here and what better way to enjoy the outdoors, than with art, music and great food. Come on down to Beekman Street Art Fair in #Saratoga, we’re here till 5pm (June 10, 2018). You can find me around the corner from The Local, and across from Kraverie!
photo: a few new pieces on steel, each 10×10” (the cat mural already sold, but is available at CPW’s Woodstock Squared exhibition!)
About a year ago, a friend told me that I am a seeker. There is some truth to that, as visual storytelling is a combination of looking for something to share, and the other part is adventure. Two things I love deeply.
This exhibition involves a seeking of sorts, as I meandered my way through Southern Brazil reconnecting with family, lost memories, new friends and sights I knew as a child.
If you happen to be upstate New York, take a trip to Saratoga Springs Station and check out Memory Travels: a Journey Through Southern Brazil, on view through March 26.
This exhibition is through Saratoga Arts Art in Public Places program, and prints are available through them for the duration of the exhibition.
HERsteading is on view, this time at Brookside Museum, part of the Saratoga County Historical Society through August 1st.
OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, July 7, 5-8pm
Brookside Museum, 6 Charlton Street, Ballston Spa, NY
Brookside is a little gem of a museum upstate NY and it feels really right to have this show there. The more I mull over this series, the more I want to dive in deeper. For now, I added more captions, excerpts from Jenna’s writing that I feel reflect her life and message: find a way to live the life you desire most. Then, shine bright and strong. Don’t surrender or settle.
…We need to help each other shine. We do it through memory and kindness, second chances, love and forgiveness. You don’t have to believe in anything to be part of those things. All of us can take a moment to think about what inside us needs to change, and who we love that we don’t want to let down, and to be grateful we’re still alive to do those things.
–Jenna Woginrich, excerpt from Luceo non Uro, Cold Antler Farm blog)
I am so pleased to exhibit at Brookside Museum, thanks to the Saratoga Arts Art in Public Places program.
The museum will be carrying the exhibition catalogue and the large gift cards from the series which are signed on the back by Jenna (Cold Antler Farm) and I! They are also available here if you can’t make the show in person.
More about HERsteading here:
Sunday, June 11, is the Beekman Street Arts Fair in Saratoga (NY) and I’m really excited to be there again, sharing some brand new artwork.
Here are a few finished photo transfers of my work at Cold Antler Farm (on wood)
I’ve been experimenting with photo transfers on wood thanks to an upcoming public art project for LARAC (nothing like the incentive of a deadline to get you moving), and am having so much fun with it, i decided to just keep going.
…and a few photos from the Women’s March in Washington DC (fittingly, transferred onto boards broken at our Tae Kwon Do tests)
If you happen to be Upstate NY on Sunday, come one by (10am-5pm)! I could hug the organizers for putting me in between my two favorite food/libation places in town: Kraverie and The Local – I’m a lucky gal!
There are over 50 artists with vendor booths (be sure to check out Grace Gunning‘s boxes and fellow photographer Greg Cuda); awesome food, music and great camaraderie. See you there!
I love the title of this article by Christopher McDougall. I also love that images from my series Hersteading: Cold Antler Farm were chosen to accompany his words in the New York Times. It is a short and insightful article with depth–not easy to do because Jenna Woginrich, the girl that hunts with hawks, is such a complex renaissance woman.
Yet he managed to capture her humor too. For as serious as she is with caring for her animals, there is always laughter and a bit of the absurd. For example, her last two hawks were named after actresses she admires, Anna Kendrick and Aya Cash:
“I have got to stop naming hawks after people,” Jenna says. “It’s really going to mess up their Google results. Someone out there is going to find my stuff online and think the star of ‘Pitch Perfect’ killed a mouse in my living room.”
So grateful to Jenna for letting me photograph her world; there’s never a dull moment.
To read Christopher’s full article in the NYT (you should), click here.
If you would like to own the book from the Hersteading exhibition (you know you do!), click HERE or the button below. It’s 38 pages of strength, struggle, sass and dedication.
If you prefer smaller and sharable images, Jenna and I partnered on this set of giftcards, here. But by all means, if you love to read be sure to check out Jenna’s blog, as she is also the girl that tells stories.
One of the most common comments I hear about my Hersteading: Cold Antler Farm series is:
Is that a REAL HAWK?
I need that photo!
Well folks, here’s your chance. Jenna (Cold Antler Farm) and I have joined forces again this Solstice to create a new set of 5×7″ gift cards. It’s a limited edition, and last year’s sold out fairly quickly, so go ahead and peruse your options in my new STORE.
If you are looking for framed prints or want to see your options in person, head on over to LARAC, where I’m part of the Holiday Shop through Dec 24th (love how they take us procrastinators into account! Evening hours on Dec 22 too). I have work there ranging from $5 (cards) to $200 for larger framed photos.
For matted prints, check out the Gift Shop at Saratoga Arts, also carrying my work – AND, the framed prints on view at Saratoga Springs Public Library are also available for purchase through them until December 31st. Oh, and I’m not done yet! The exhibition Sul do Brasil at Berimbau in NYC was extended until the end of January (and yes, you can have one of those too).
Happy holidays to all!
PS – and speaking of Holidays, Jenna is also featured in the Holiday issue of Simply Saratoga, along with some of my photos (p68-71)
In October I received a call. Would I be willing to create a two-minute speech to introduce a Lucie Award recipient? Having collaborated with them before, I didn’t hesitate. And then I learned who the awardee was. The incredible Tsuneko Sasamoto. I am so humbled.
Lucie Awards 2016: Miriam Romais introducing awardee Tsuneko Sasamoto (photo by Lucie Awards)
How on EARTH do you compress an entire life of photography (102 years to be exact) into a two-minute speech??!
Panic ensues. Nail biting. I admire her moxie and persistence, but more than anything want to share a tribute that will honor her and everything she has worked hard for. Holed up in my mom’s office for two days researching and writing, I’d like to share my speech:
… and full of hope.
It takes all sorts of moxie to believe you can accomplish something when the world around you tells you, what you want is not a choice. Tsuneko Sasamoto is such a person. Born in 1914, she knew from a young age that she wanted something different for herself – and for all women. As a child, she wanted to be a painter. As a teen she wanted to have a professional career – perhaps a writer or journalist – while her classmates wanted to be brides. I can imagine her teachers frowning, her determination so unheard of in an era where marriage and motherhood are synonymous, and expected. Her chosen path, one against her family’s wishes.
She was often told, “you’re just a woman, how could you even think of becoming a photographer?” And yet she created a career in photography that spans most people’s lifetimes.
Can you think back to your 20s, and what you were doing? In her 20s, she became Japan’s first female photojournalist – which was around the same time WWII started brewing. The things she has seen, and photographed – from daily life to documenting pre-war preparations. The pain, destruction, political and economic turmoil and then rebuilding. Women gaining the right to vote. An evolving shift for her nation and culture. All this through the eyes of hope, dignity and joy for life. She felt compelled to share what she saw in the world.
She had no issues of carrying her camera equipment and all the bulbs necessary for each shoot – but hated having to do it in a skirt and high heels, because it got in the way of climbing ladders and always looking for better vantage points, and different angles. To make a point, she opted for bigger cameras, fearing that if she used a smaller leica, people would think its a toy and then not take her seriously.
Determined. Breaking barriers.
The thing with trailblazers, is they are so busy doing, they don’t realize what a path they have carved for the rest of us. Ms. Sasamoto turned 102 last month and is still just doing her thing. She believes gender and age should have no bearing on a person’s capabilities – she didn’t let the fact she was a woman get in her way, and today she is not letting age get in her way either.
“If I tell people I’m 100,” she says “they’ll ask if i can still press the shutter, or still see ok – but I don’t feel any change in me, even in getting old – probably because I keep photographing. I see the movement of the world, and want to see that all the time.”
Unstoppable. Lets learn more about the Lucie Foundation’s 2016 Lifetime Achievement Awardee, Tsuneko Sasamoto.”
I’ll admit to being a giddy 5 year old holding her prize afterwards. I am half her age, and still working on having at least half of her persistence and grace.
Check out Holly Hughes’s follow up article in PDN here. Take a moment to google Sasamoto and while you’re at it, look up other amazing women around the world making a difference in their communities. We can be humbled, but stay inspired to keep doing good.
SUL DO BRASIL
Photographs by Miriam Romais
EXHIBITION EXTENDED THROUGH FEBRUARY 13, 2017.
Meet the Artist Receptions:
Tuesday September 13 & Friday October 14, 2016
“I am not the same, having seen the moon
shine on the other side of the world.”
– Mary Anne Radmacher
With Brazilian Independence Day around the corner (Sept 7 but in NYC we’re celebrating on Sept 4), it is a great time to share my exhibition at Berimbau again, along with the photos from the first opening reception on July 26 – thanks to the amazing photographer and friend, Fernando Navarro. I’m grinning like a fool in most of them; could not be helped… I was surrounded by family and friends and loving every second of the gathering.
I’d like to have another reception or two before the show closes (happy-hour get togethers), so be sure to follow my photo page on Facebook for the latest announcements (@miriamromaisphotos).
Thanks to everyone that made the opening: Lola Flash, Groana Melendez, Ron Herard, Ray Llanos, Jill Waterman, Phyllis Galembo, Leticia Lunardi, Veronica Commock, Dani Cattan, Fernando Navarro, my parents and Mario de Matos (owner of Berimbau)!
About the series:
Sul do Brasil is a personal journey through southern Brazil, where my family still lives. Even though I lived there as a kid, the series is still a process of discovery for me and a somewhat nostalgic one at that. The images show the southern countryside of Brazil as I criss-crossed my way to visit relatives, bringing up long forgotten memories and making new ones.
Berimbau do Brasil is worth the trip (brazilian food, caipirinhas & art!); it’s located at 43 Carmine Street (bwtween Bedford & Bleeker). Tel: (212) 242-2606
a photo project about Cold Antler Farm by Miriam Romais
On view at Saratoga Arts, June 11 – July 31, 2016
July 9, 6-8pm
Opening Reception for 10×10 and Hersteading exhibitions
July 18, 6-8pm
Artist Talk • Book Signing • Reception
Artist talk and slide presentation with Romais and homesteader and author Jenna Woginrich of Cold Antler Farm. Exhibition catalogues will be available for purchase and signing, as well as Jenna’s books thanks to Northshire Books. The Reception (7-8pm) features a delicious tasting from Bon Bon Brazil, with Druthers providing beer and yummies.
The Theatre Gallery at Saratoga Arts
320 Broadway • Saratoga Springs NY
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9-5pm + Sundays in July, 11-5pm, with extended hours on performance nights (check events calendar for evening hours)
A HUGE thanks to support by Saratoga Arts, Northshire Books, Druthers Brewing Co, Bon Bon Brazil, Canson Infinity and Archival Methods. Saratoga Arts has made part of this program possible with a Community Arts Grant funded by the NY State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NY State Legislature.