2020 Colene Brown Art Prize Recipients. [left to right] Top: Caitlin Cherry, Zachary Fabri, Scherezade Garcia, Nate Lewis, Joiri Minaya. Bottom: Kambui Olujimi, Erwin Redl, Christophe Roberts, Naomi Safran-Hon, Michelle Segre.

The Colene Brown Art Prize awards ten New York-based visual artists with $10,000 unrestricted grants. The Prize is underwritten by artist and former BRIC Board Member Deborah Brown and her sister Ellen Brown in memory of their late mother, Colene Brown, and is funded through the Harold and Colene Brown Family Foundation.

*Artist bios below.

Caitlin Cherry
Zachary Fabri
Scherezade Garcia
Nate Lewis
Joiri Minaya
Kambui Olujimi
Erwin Redl
Christophe Roberts
Naomi Safran-Hon
Michelle Segre

This year’s recipients were selected from a pool of 50 nominations by a multidisciplinary cohort, including Gina Beavers, Artist; Rashida Bumbray, Director of Culture and Art, the Open Society Foundations; Andrianna Campbell-LaFleur, Curator and Art Historian; Chitra Ganesh, Artist; Marcela Guerrero, Assistant Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art; Miguel Luciano, Artist; Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator at Madison Square Park Conservancy; Seph Rodney, Critic; Yvonne Force Villareal, Art Production Fund, Co-Founder and Culture Corps, Founding Partner; and Nicholas Weist, Founding Director, Shandaken Projects. A selection committee within BRIC chose the final ten recipients of the award. Nominations were made based on each artist’s exceptional merit and absence of substantial institutional support.




Caitlin Cherry (born in Chicago, IL; based in New York, NY) is a sculptor and painter who renders her subjects big, bold, embellished, and beautiful. Common thematic concerns of her work orbit around female subjectivity and the Black woman’s experience. “Not everyday women,” Cherry views her subjects  through the lense of technology where they become beautifully superhuman: glossy, misunderstood, and disfigured. The artist was awarded the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship, Robert Rauschenberg Residency, and is a Lotus Foundation grant recipient. Cherry has had solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; The Hole, NY; and University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her group exhibitions include those at the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Luis de Jesus, Los Angeles, CA; and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City; among others. She works between New York, NY, and Richmond, VA, where she teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University. Cherry earned her BFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Columbia University.




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Photo by Argenis Apolinario


A multidisciplinary artist, Zachari Fabri (born Miami, FL; based in Brooklyn, NY) works across the mediums of sculpture, video, and performance. His video and performance work is inspired by both the visceral and material world, and captures his body engaging with a site’s built environment, Black identities, and his Brooklyn neighborhood. Most recently, Fabri was commissioned by the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, to create a work in public space for their major group exhibition, Person of the Crown: The Contemporary Art of Flañerie. Fabri is currently pursuing a project among family and friends under the name Untitled (Audio Tape). Fabri has been awarded The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, the Vermont Center Diversity Initiative Fellowship, and the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art. He has had group exhibitions at BRIC, Brooklyn; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; and solo exhibitions at Aljira, A Center For Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ; and Julius Caesar, Chicago, IL. He also has had residencies at Smack Mellon, Brooklyn; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ME; and Fountainhead, Miami, FL. The artist lives and works in New York, NY, and teaches at Parsons School of Design at The New School.




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Scherezade Garcia (born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; based in Brooklyn, NY) is known for her mixed-media paintings that are informed by her Caribbean heritage. Garcia describes her work as being centered on the politics of inclusion. History, especially the colonial history of her native Dominican Republic, plays a central role in her work while she decodes visual narratives of power to bring forth suppressed voices, visually. Garcia has had solo exhibitions at Long Island University, Brooklyn; Praxis Gallery, and Taller Boricua, both in NY; Colgate University, Hamilton, NY; and the Havana Biennial, Cuba; among others, as well as group exhibitions at BRIC, Brooklyn; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC; and Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA. Garcia has also been awarded grants and commissions from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Joan Mitchell Foundation Center, and Bienal de la Habana, Cuba. Most recently, she created a major altar for Dia de los Muertos at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn. She received her BFA from Parsons School of Design and her MFA in Sculpture at City College of New York. She is an assistant professor at Parsons School of Design at The New School.




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Nate Lewis (born in Beaver Falls, PA; based in New York, NY and Washington, D.C.) is an American artist interested in excising invisible histories. He approaches his art through the diagnostic lenses of his former practice working as a critical care nurse for the last nine years. The artist uses repetition, patterns, and textures to mould his work across the different mediums he works in, which include cut paper as well as video and audio. In his most recent series, Probing the Land, the artist photographed the Robert E. Lee equestrian monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond, VA. Carving into the images and using ink dye, the artist destabilizes the photograph, creating a softer anatomy, rendering the subjects active and vulnerable. Lewis has exhibited at The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; The Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT; and the California African American Museum, Los Angeles. He has had residencies at Dieu Donné and Pioneer Works, both Brooklyn. 




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Working across the mediums of painting, sculpture, performance, and photography, Joiri Minaya (born in New York, NY; based in New York, NY) navigates landscapes between the global north and south to reflect on themes such as the body, domesticity, and gender roles and transform them into a site of unlearning, decolonizing, and exorcising larger institutional systems. Minaya has had solo exhibitions at Baxter Street Camera Club, NY; the Blanton Museum at the University of Texas, Austin; Guttenberg Arts, NJ; Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, Mexico. Minaya has performed at UnionDocs, Brooklyn; Socrates Sculpture Park, and the New Museum, both in NY; the African American Museum of Philadelphia, PA; and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ME. She was a Finalist for a Soros Arts Fellowship, and has won the Nancy Graves Foundation Grant for Visual Artists, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, the Rema Hort Mann Emerging Artist Grant, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant. Minaya received her BFA in fine art from Parsons School of Design at The New School.




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Photo by Anthony Alvarez


Kambui Olujimi (born in Brooklyn, NY; based in Queens, NY) is a multidisciplinary artist who grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn. His work has included large-scale sculpture, painting, installation, photography, video, and performance. Olujimi is equally influenced by, and often combines such abstract scientific realms as cosmology, multiverses, physics, and quantum forces with the intimacy of mundane objects like vernacular photographs and hand-me down furniture. Olujimi has taken part in exhibitions at institutions such as BRIC, and Art in General, both in Brooklyn; the Studio Museum in Harlem, Apexart, and CUE Arts Foundation, all in NY; MIT List Visual Arts Center, MA; and Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, WI. Olujimi has been awarded the Lighthouse Works Public Art Commission, New York City MTA Arts & Design Commission, NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, Urban Glass Merit Scholarship, FSP/Jerome Fellowship, Art in General’s New Works Commission, and The Peekskill Project Public Art Initiative. Olujimi has a BFA from Parsons School of Design at The New School and an MFA from Columbia University.




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Erwin Redl (born in Gföhl, Austria; based in New York, NY and Bowling Green, OH) creates outdoor public installations through the repetition of light, movement, and color. Inspired by his upbringing in the Austrian countryside and pioneering land artists of the American West, Walter De Maria and Nancy Holt, Redl is renewing and updating the tradition of transforming an urban landscape into a work of art. Redl has had solo exhibitions at The Hole Gallery, and Madison Square Park, both in NY; Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston, SC; Toledo Museum of Art, OH; Oklahoma Contemporary, Oklahoma City; Fondation EDF, Paris, France; and KEB Hana Bank, South Korea. The artist has also been commissioned to create permanent public art installations at Martin Luther King Bridge, Toledo, OH; Metro Crenshaw, Los Angeles, CA; and Channel Side Drive Tunnel, Tampa, FL. Redl has been awarded the Architectural Lighting Design Award, DC IES Illumination Merit Award, the Illumination Engineering Society, the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, COD Awards, IESNYC Lumen Award, and many others. He lives and works between New York, NY, and Ohio.






Christophe Roberts (born in Chicago, IL; based in Brooklyn, NY) is a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist working in sculpture, painting, design, and installation work. His practice explores complex masculinities, rebel origin myths, and the commodification of identity through meditations on mass culture iconography. He repurposes everyday objects with an intention to reconfigure their meaning and positioning in the familiar public archive. As a Bahamian artist reared in proximity to a lake that mimics the sea, yearning is the undercurrent of Roberts’ works. Jamaica Kincaid writes of men with “lines drawn through them,” men in search of their fathers, in search of their homelands. Since youth, Roberts has created objects to neutralize a sense of absence, of discord with his environment. He has exhibited at  NBA Allstar Week in Chicago, IL; Designer Con, Anaheim, CA; Facebook Installation: CES, Las Vegas, NV; FNLROM, Toronto, Canada; NBA Art Week in Vancouver, Canada; and a recent solo exhibition, How the Lion Got His Roar, at Wieden Kennedy, Portland, OR. Roberts, who is currently an artist resident with luxury brand Mark Cross, has a BFA from Cornish College of The Arts.




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Naomi Safran-Hon (born in Oxford, UK; based in New York, NY) describes her mixed-media paintings—which often combine print, fabric, canvas and cement—as a depiction of neglected architectural spaces with traces of both their former human inhabitants and the external forces that brought about their desolation. The artist embarks on a process of reconstructing domestic structures in her work to retell the human narratives embedded in the walls left by past dwellers. She has had solo exhibitions at Slag Gallery, NY; Shapiro Campus Centre Gallery, Brandeis, NY; and Marfa Gallery, TX; as well as group exhibitions at Brooklyn Museum; and Hearst Art Gallery, St. Mary’s College, Moraga, CA. She was awarded the Blanksteen Curatorial Fellowship from Yale University, the Robert Schoelkopf Memorial Traveling Fellowship, Paul Caine Memorial Award, Susan Mae Green Award, the Ellen Raskin ’75 Memorial Award, and the Remis Award in Creative Arts. Safran-Hon has been a teaching and visiting artist at Montclair State University, Pratt University, SUNY Purchase, Swarthmore College, Haverford College, and more. Safran-Hon has a BA from Brandeis University and an MFA from Yale University.






With a career that spans over three decades, Michelle Segre (born in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel; based in New York, NY) is known for a largely improvisational form of sculpture. Her works—often created with such materials as yarn, paint, metal and thread—represent a meeting of both accident and intent. Segre has had solo exhibitions at the Derek Eller Gallery, and Lauren Wittels Gallery, both in NY; Rosen-Wald Wolf Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; Reyes Projects, Detroit, MI; Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Segre was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, NYFA Fellowship, Arts and Letters Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award. Segre’s work is part of the permanent collection at The New Museum, NY; the Katonah Museum of Art, NY; The Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga, NY; and the Colorado University Art Museum, Boulder. Segre, who received a BFA from Cooper Union School of Art, lives and works in New York, NY.