The Portrait is Political is a trio of exhibitions united by Jaishri Abichandani, Liz Collins, and Texas Isaiah's varied use of portraiture to explore and validate the idea of the individual. These artists, and the artists brought together by curator and artist Liz Collins, each use their work to focus on subjects who represent marginalized, under-recognized communities in Brooklyn. Working in different mediums - painting, curatorial, and photography - they seek to celebrate the individual lives of their sitters through the recognition of their unqiue personhood, eliciting justice in their own, empathetic manner.
Born in Mumbai, India; based in Brooklyn, NY
Jaishri Abichandani works in varied media to address issues of gender, religion, culture, and politics in South Asian communities in the United States. In the series of portraits Jasmine Blooms at Night, Abichandani merges elements of painting and sculpture, highlighting the accomplishments of South Asian American women in New York such as Bhairavi Desai, founder of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, and Urooj Arshad, director of International LGBTQ Youth Health and Rights Programs at Advocates for Youth. Emphasizing her belief that “the personal is political,” Abichandani collaborates with each sitter in their portrayal. Every portrait includes embellishments drawn from South Asian culture and fashioned to reflect the individuality of the sitter.
Jaishri Abichandani has had solo exhibitions at the Queens Museum and the New York University Asian Pacific American Studies Institute Gallery, both NY; Gallery Sumukha, Nature Morte Gallery and Gallery Chemould Mumbai, India; Kran Film Collective Space, Brussels, Belgium; and Castle of Good Hope, Capetown, South Africa. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at BRIC; Ronald Feldman Gallery, Wave Hill, and the Queens Museum, all NY; and Gallery Exhibit 320 and Gallery Veda, both India. She has been awarded the LMCC Process Space Residency, Urban Artist’s Initiative Award, and the En Foco New Works Photography Award. Abichandani has also curated major exhibitions including the Perilous Bodies at the Ford Foundation Gallery and Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions, 2017, at the Asia Society, both NY. Abichandani has a BFA from Queens College, City University of New York as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts and MFA, both from Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Born in Bethesda MD; based in Sunset Park
The group exhibition The Other is You: Brooklyn Queer Portraiture is curated by artist and designer Liz Collins. In her artwork, Collins draws on traditional textile processes to create fiber-based objects and installations. Marked by the unexpected, her practice is defined by an exploration of materiality and by the desire to decontextualize mediums identified with functional or decorative uses. In large-scale installations, she challenges the perceived limits of what can be created with woven fabrics as well as with such functional materials as climbing ropes. Collins also explores the built environment through site-specific installations, such as the seating area that she has designed in the center of BRIC’s gallery. In 2018, Collins curated Cast of Characters, a salon-style exhibition of works by 100 LGBTQ artists, held at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Community Center in the West Village.
Liz Collins has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Arts and Design, Heller Gallery, LMAK Gallery, Collective Design, and Felissimo Design House, all NY; the Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY; AMP Gallery, Provincetown, MA; and the Knoxville Museum of Art, TN. Her work has also been included in group exhibitions at the New Museum, Chashama Gallery, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, Fashion Institute of Technology Museum, and David Zwirner Gallery, all NY; the American Textile History Museum, Lowell, MA; the Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR; the Milwaukee Art Museum, WI; and the SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA. In 2018, Collins curated Cast of Characters, a salon-style exhibition of works by 100 LGBTQ artists held at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Community Center in the West Village. The Other is You was inspired by that project. Collins has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Pratt Institute, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds a BFA and MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and is represented by LMAK Gallery, NY.
Brooklyn, NY; based in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland CA
Texas Isaiah is a visual narrator working with photography whose work explores gender, race, and sexuality by inviting the sitter to participate in the photographic process. This invitation constructs a space to begin and continue collaborative visual dialogues about legacy, self-empowerment, emotional justice, protection, and topophilia (the affective bond between people and place). Texas Isaiah also enacts a form of social justice through his relationship with photographic subjects. In an interview with Broadly, he further explains; “I find it strange that a photograph of a trans person can possibly sell for thousands of dollars and yet a percentage is split between only the gallery and artist, yet the sitter may be going through devastating circumstances. As a Black trans person who wishes to invest in the inclusion of Black trans narratives in photography, it would be a dishonor to continue this method.”
Texas Isaiah has had a solo exhibition at New York University’s Kimmel Gallery, NY. His work has been included in group shows at Aperture Gallery, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Dixon Place, The Kitchen, and Charlie James Gallery, all NY; Slought Foundation, Philadelphia, PA; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; New Space Center for Photography, Portland, OR; and the Residency Art Gallery, Inglewood, CA. He received the Art Matters Foundation Fellowship and has recently been featured in such publications as Artforum, FADER, Killens Review of Art & Letters, Papersafe, The Photographic Journal, Spook Mag, and Broadly. Texas Isaiah received his BFA from Queensborough Community College, Queens, NY.