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Issue 48 | www.fokus.org


Atiba T. Edwards

Founder & Chief Curator Atiba is an engineer focused on making and connecting creative people, nodes, networks and moments.

Shani Cohen Curator

Shani is a Brooklyn based writer who believes in uniting our diverse communities through art and the power of words.

Jozi Zwerdling Curator

Jozi is an artist enabler, educator and organizer who loves the INSIGHT project as a means of re-imagining, linking and documenting selves, stories and worlds.

INSIGHT Magazine showcases and archives emerging contemporary artists from all art disciplines. FOKUS produces this magazine to provide insight into people who are creating art, traditional and non-traditional, in their own way.

SOLSTICE Contributors

Cover by Chani Nicholas and Sonya Passi Howard Barry • Suhaly Bautista-Carolina • Derick “D Cross” Cross • Kevin Coval • Atiba T. Edwards • Abdul-Fattah Ismail • Kristine “KIMIKAA” Keller • Chani Nicholas • Vans The Omega • Sonya Passi • Mikal “SPAZ” Perez • Yogi Taji • Farah Yazid • Jozi Zwerdling

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Questions, comments and contributions can be sent to insightsubmit@gmail.com. To view older issues of INSIGHT, visit www.fokus.org/insight. Copyright © 2016. INSIGHT (ISSN 2164-7771) is a publication of FOKUS, Inc. All rights reserved on entire contents. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.


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Suhaly Bautista-Carolina Honey Suhaly Bautista-Carolina SUN 1 Atiba T. Edwards It’s Electric Kevin Coval Erasing The Green Howard Barry We The People Abdul-Fattah Ismail Open The Container Now! Jozi Zwerdling Solstice as an Unveiling Vans The Omega The Initiate Farah Yazid Rising Self Yogi Taji Divine Mikal “SPAZ” Perez Depections Kristine “KIMIKAA” Keller Women of the Lords Derick “D Cross” Cross Solstice

Photography

Visual Art

Creative Writing

Articles


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Honey

Suhaly Bautista-Carolina

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New Yorker by birth + Dominican by bloodline, “The Earth Warrior,” is a photographer, world traveler + social justice educator. She is currently in her “portraiture phase” while living, loving + working in New York City. www.theearthwarrior.com www.fokus.org |

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SUN 1

Suhaly Bautista-Carolina

What do you remember about the earth? I know I know you, beautiful, bountiful one. Let me look at you. Let my eyes recognize you, the same way my heart has. My heart has, bountiful one. Let my beautiful eyes recognize you Recognize the one You know I know, I know you One look It’s the same you I know you the same way My heart My beautiful eyes My bountiful heart The same heart you recognize Look at you The way my eyes look at you I know you know me the same way My heart has you I know you, beautiful Let me, beautiful The same beautiful One. I know you. One. My heart has you. One. Let my eyes look at you, Bountiful one. My heart has let me recognize you, has let me know you the same you I know I know you, my heart. I know my heart has one. you. my one.

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It’s Electric

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Atiba T. Edwards Images: Electric Objects

I first was introduced to Electric Objects by a buddy of mine, Patrick Ainsle, and was impressed. They took the “old” digital frames format and turned it into something you really wanted to use and display as it featured artwork. You now have the ability to bring a range of artwork into your home in a presentable format that blends the art and surroundings. I had a chance to connect with Jake shortly after the release of the second version of their product - dubbed EO2.

“Works of art are nothing if not an opportunity to connect to other humans.” Jake Levin, Founder & CEO of Electric Objects. Jake Levine: In a very literal sense, artists, poets, authors, musicians make art because they have something to say. Art is human expression. Making art is an act of communication. We as viewers, listeners, and readers, are engaged in that act of communication — we receive and interpret a work of art, we engage both with it and around it. Works of art, all media, are social objects. They are conversation and are most successful when they encourage more conversation. Atiba T. Edwards: Why the passion to change the art immersive format and bring museums to home walls? JL: Today there are a few ways to engage with art: visit a gallery where you might learn about a new artist, but will be ignored if you can’t spend over $3,000; visit a museum where you will have a wonderful experience but that experience ends when you walk out the door; or browse the web and enjoy near infinite access but in an experience devoid of the kind of presence, permanence and quiet contemplation that we expect from a work of art. Electric Objects is about using technology to bring the access of the Internet together with the presence you feel at a great museum, and the discovery that comes from the gallery system. www.fokus.org |

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AE: How does art work get selected for displaying on Electric Objects products? JL: Our curators scour the world’s greatest museums and produce collections that we think our customers will love. Today there are hundreds of artworks from museums all over the world, and each month that number grows, so there’s always something new to discover. AE: How does Electric Objects rethink the structure of how art is viewed? JL: If I asked you to name your favorite musician or band, tell me your last favorite book you read, or share a favorite film, you wouldn’t hesitate. When I ask people to name their favorite visual artists, they struggle. Why is that? Today’s art industry is built on top of a distribution model that rewards scarcity of access and distribution. Art gets more valuable the fewer people that have it. This is completely backwards. No artist kicks off their career with an ambition to get as few people as possible to pay as much as possible. Imagine a world in which music, books, or movies were only accessible to the wealthy few. That’s not a world I want to live in and it’s not the way we should relate to art. Electric Objects is designed to flip that model on its head, to use technology to incentivize artists to reach as many people as possible. We make more money, the artist makes more money, when more people experience the work of art. That’s how it should be. AE: What is one of your favorite pieces of art? JL: I love the art in Electric Objects that takes advantage of the connectivity of the platform. One of our artists, Zach Gage, uses data from google search queries to change the appearance of his artwork. A collection we’re about to release appears to be an image of a tree. Look closer and see that that tree is completely unique to you, and generated on the fly. The artwork is literally alive, and powered by software. The juxtaposition of these works with, say, Van Gogh’s self portrait, is striking, and the fact that I can enjoy both is a wonderful expression of the distributive and equalizing power of the Internet.

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AE: How do you think we benefit from art in our daily lives? JL: We need art for the same reason we need movies, books, music. It can inspire us, distract us, entertain us, challenge us, provoke conversation, open our minds and calm us. It makes us human. We need it like we need water or air.

You can check out the EO2 and read more about the Electric Objects team by visiting www.electricobjects.com www.fokus.org |

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Erasing the Green Kevin Coval

September 27, 1995

tearin down the ‘jects creatin plush homesCommon, Resurrection

towers torn before 9-11. gaping wounds. living rooms gut bare. painted walls for the city to see brick tumble into graves, rubble like barney. the stone age. headstones for Keisha & Dantrell Davis. Girl X marks the spot Candyman minstreled celluloid screams in the throats of white america. an abacus of broken promises. an aberration too close to the gold coast. wires wild like snakes. snakes like banks with redevelopment monies. HOPE grants. good times filmed here.

& no good times filmed here. fear of a nation & feedings frenzies on the carcass. the bare skeletal dreams of public housing returning to earth. dust. ghost. memory. maybe. ash. already three-bedroom townhomes. the old grocery store where milk & lottery tickets sold/bought sandwiched between young professionals like wonderbread. cost an arm & leg leg arm head. no g-d here, unless the church worship the dollar. the irony. the green

Kevin Coval is the author of seven books including The BreakBeat Poets & This is Modern Art, co-written with Idris Goodwin. A People’s History of Chicago is forthcoming in the Spring of 2017 on Haymarket Books. www.kevincoval.com 10 | www.fokus.org


We The People

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Howard Barry

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Howard Barry has been a creative since birth, but his style and approached chagned after a traumatic brain Injury. He works with both digital and traditional mediums & is obsessed with merging the two. www.facebook.com/hbarryCreative

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Open The Container Now! Abdul-Fattah Ismail

The sparks flickered at first Without a tremor Then an earthquake exploded Shook up the landscape Boulders tumble to tears Rivers forced with deceit Plateaus stood tall Not frying, unwielding To host the fireworks First row of seats Opening Night The stratosphere hushed Black didn’t fade itself Then‌The Red Fireball Turned into The Orange Moon The Yellow Flares tried to kiss The Blue Comet, trailed by the Grey Trail Zigging through The Great White Constellations Resting on a brown Asteroid Giving breaths for Green Fields Punching Gamma Rays to the Galaxy The horizon sizzles Some purple clouds Good show!

Abdul Fattah Ismail is an advertising and marketing veteran who has been writing creatively since 1996. Extended Syllables is his published debut. www.extendedsyllables.com 16 | www.fokus.org


Solstice as an Unveiling

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by Jozi Zwerdling Artwork by Chani Nicholas and Sonya Passi

Chani Nicholas is an astrologer who I also see as an artist and counselor. She publishes weekly astrological interpretations and horoscopes online, along with providing readings for individuals and classes for guidance in rituals and tools that make use of personal, interpersonal and universal astrological knowledge. When we decided to use the theme “Solstice� for INSIGHT, I wanted to make sure we highlighted the collaborative collage art from her horoscopes and to record her comments for posterity, especially in light of recent political tragedies that will certainly affect humanity and the wellbeing of our planet. Truly, I wanted her guidance. I received that, and more, in the form of a call to action, self-reflection and truth-seeing. Enjoy, and heed. Jozi Zwerdling: What has your journey looked like in terms of your practice of astrology? Chani Nicholas: I started learning about it when I was 12. I started giving readings about 20 years ago. And I started writing about it about 5 years ago. JZ: How is your practice of astrology an art? www.fokus.org |

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CN: I think astrology itself is an art. It is an art form. Then there’s the fact that I write, so I merge the two arts. I don’t think of [astrology] as a science, although there are scientific elements to it because we are looking at astronomical patterns. But every form of divination or reading signs is an art form. There are patterns that are evident. Picking up on those patterns, like any artistic medium, is something you’re inclined to do or not. I think astrologers are people that are fairly obsessed with patterns. Every astrologer is looking for signatures, and what those might signify. I think as artists also, in whatever medium we’re using, we’re looking for ways of understanding something. We might look for a pattern in something. We’re trying to unveil the intelligence or truth of something. Every astrologer is trying to peel back the layers, we are always asking “what does it mean, what does it mean, what does it mean?” for each person. There’s an academic layer. Understanding where our knowledge is from historically. Then there’s seeing patterns in our own unique ways; an essential nature we’re trying to see, how the astrology will manifest in this particular time frame. Sometimes to our own chagrin. JZ: Why chagrin? CN: To be an astrologer, to be alive in this moment, has a particular weight to it. As astrologers we hope that we’ll be able to see patterns coming up, like weather patterns, and be like, “hey y’all, prepare for this thing!” A lot of us looked at 2016 and we were like, “That looks not fun. That looks a little dicey.” Looking at the charts of the candidates was certainly disheartening to me. I feel a personal responsibility, like every other writer, therapist, every person in America right now - There’s a special hope that one can maybe try to tackle part of unpacking the meaning of it, which might be too tall an order. We try to retrospectively look at whatever happened, and use whatever tool with whatever job we’re doing to work with it. We collectively have that feeling: how will we get through it, how will we survive it? What resources are available to help us and how can we promote the use of them? JZ: How do you incorporate other forms of art into your practice of astrology? CN: I think all art influences me. I try to fill myself up with art that has a point of view that helps to stretch my way of seeing the world, or helps me question it in a different way. Everything that comes in is something I use. JZ: What does the term “Solstice” signify to you? CN: It’s an important moment in the year in terms of our relationship to sunlight. Whether we’re talking about Winter Solstice or Summer Solstice, it’s a mark of our relationship to the sun. Being earth creatures that didn’t have electricity for most of our existence so far, the sun played a really huge role in our lives. The winter solstice is related to the planet Saturn and Saturnalia, which is a festival in the ancient world. It’s a time of throwing off the bonds; whatever binds us. Saturn is super regulatory and very much about rules and boundaries and structure. Winter solstice is a time to throw that off, like Purim for Jews, a time to subvert that. There’s a relationship to deep turning in, darkness all consuming and immense. In some Pagan cultures, this is the moment that the goddess turns. It’s the ending and the beginning. It’s the new-moon-type part of the year; when we make resolutions. This is the darkest point of the year and from that point on it gets lighter. This is a moment where the sun appears to stay still in the sky. It’s a time in the northern hemisphere for festivals of light.

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It [highlights] the way in which we are in relationship with nature and the ways in which we remind ourselves that life and light will come back. But deep dormancy, is important: looking inward for light more than anything right now is important. Reminding our selves of light and all different cultural traditions that bring the light in, share the light; the blessings that light represents in the different festivals at the time can be helpful in these uncertain times.

JZ: As we move towards the winter solstice this year, what are a few things you think we should collectively keep in mind? CN: I am not the first person to say this nor will I be the last. But what is really important is to learn how to operate in the dark, and in the kind of secret and covert ways that we might need to. Our relationship to each other and our ability to build alliances and to build trust will be of immense importance. We will have to become very creative in our strategizing. We will need to be people of our word. We will have to know what that means for us. Our personal truth will be tested at every juncture. We will have to learn about and reminded ourselves and each other of all the generations that came before us that have successfully resisted tyranny and all the cultures and people that exist now that do so and have been doing so for centuries. It’s now time to face what America is. Every so often the world has to confront its own great evil on an epic scale. It seems cyclical, the takeover of evil. It rears its head in obvious ways globally, and it seems to be something still in our human nature that we have to confront. www.fokus.org |

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We have to confront that in ourselves and in each other, and in bigger systemic ways that don’t care about fairness and don’t care about kindness and don’t care about human rights. But we will all be faced with what we have the courage to do and what we don’t. We’ve all watched the movies. We’ve been inundated with Holocaust movies for the past 50 years, and people are always wondering, “How did that happen?” Now it’s our turn to find out. I can’t imagine this time won’t test our human kindness and decency, and our ability to find the ways to keep our souls intact and keep each other from harm. We will have to work with our fear in a way that I don’t know if many have had to. But many communities, many folks, on this piece of land that we call America, have had to deal with genocide and violence for a long time, so it’s nothing new, but it is a wake up call on a big level. We will have to resist normalizing any of it. We will have to be creative. Humble. Fierce. OK with being uncomfortable. OK with being wrong. Teachable. Willing to let those who have been pushed to the margins to lead. We are each others’ greatest resource, so whomever we can keep with us, whomever we can stay connected to, becomes ever more important and valuable.

Chani​Nicholas has a degree in Feminist Counseling from George Brown College and a BA in Integral Studies from California Institute of Integral Studies. She studied psychological astrology for over 20 years and is currently studying traditional astrology with Demetra George. Chani devotes her spare time to studying, practicing and supporting restorative justice practices. You can see more of her work at www.chaninicholas.com. Sonya Passi is founder and CEO of FreeFrom, which aims to build financial stability for survivors of abuse so they are able to build safe lives for themselves and their children. You can read more about her work at www.freefrom.org

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The Initiate

by Vans The Omega

As the Title of this piece suggests the figure is representative of feminine energy is breaching a line of water and rising in the energy of the full moon beneath the stars. The Solstice represents a new beginning and new start of a cycle of conditions brought on by a myriad of phenomena in the universe and its effect on Gaia the Mother earth. Energy is vibration, colour, sound and matter through movement which is the very reason I use the colour and shaping within my artwork in an effort to borrow from nature and its sacred geometry.

Joel Van Moore aka Vans the Omega is a modern day Mystic consumed with pulling essence from life and formatting it into works of beauty to enact restoration to the soul through visionary art projects. www.vanstheomega.com.au 22 | www.fokus.org


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Rising Self

by Farah Yazid

My piece is based on the phases and transitions of my life. My spin on a self portrait.

Farah is a creative based in Los Angeles, CA. Her art manifest itself in many forms such as jewelry design, nail art, and illustration. Her primary goal is to elevate those around her. www.farahyazid.com 24 | www.fokus.org


Divine

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by Yogi Taji

Born Yaemi, the artists her name to Yogi Taji in 2015. Yogi Taji carries the meanings of meditation and the dreamer. She was born in the Bronx, New York City and moved to Florida at the age of 8. Since growing spiritually deeper, she has been pursuing her soul’s dreams and helping others accomplish their soul’s dream with the medium of photography and film, thus creating Soul Dreamin. www.SoulDreamin.com www.fokus.org |

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Depections by Mikal Perez

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Born in Miami-Dade County, of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent, Mikal Joel Perez has been painting for two years and hs artwork is a direct reflection of his reality. Through symbolism, Mikal creates his own hieroglyphics with the hope of progressing human consciousness. He decided that his purpose here is to teach and heal with art. He believes in the fact that we are all the protagonist of our story. SPALSPAL.bigcartel.com www.fokus.org |

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WOMEN OF THE LORDS by Kristine “KIMIKAA” Keller

The Young Lords Party was a Puerto Rican Nationalist group in several United States cities, notably New York City and Chicago. The Young Lords created community projects fighting for human rights, such as the free breakfast program for children, free daycare, free health and dental clinic, community testing for tuberculosis, lead-poisoning testing, free clothing drives, mass garbage cleanup events, cultural events and Puerto Rican history classes. The female leadership in New York pushed the Young Lords to fight for women’s rights and educate the male members and the community at large.

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“In the midst of the African American liberation struggle, protests to end the Vietnam War and the women’s movement for equality, Puerto Rican and Latino/a communities fought for economic, racial and social justice. From Chicago streets to the barrios of New York City and other urban centers, the Young Lords emerged to demand decent living conditions and raised a militant voice for the empowerment of Puerto Ricans and other Latino/as in the United States and for the independence of Puerto Rico.” -Iris Morales

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“There were a lot of visions of courage, a lot of visions of hope.” - Lulu, YLP Leader

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“I was in the Young Lords, and one of the points in the original program was ‘Revolutionary Machismo’. Machismo is reactionary, so you can’t have revolutionary machismo. We women weren’t having it. So we made a very different kind of statement. ‘We want equality for women. Down with machismo and male chauvinism.’” -Denise Oliver Velez

Kristine “Kimikaa” Keller is a painter, screenprinter, and educator; born on the East Coast and raised in Michigan. After studying at the University of Michigan with a focus in painting, Kimikaa moved west. From 2008 – 2012 she has worked with San Francisco Lines Ballet and dancers as well as creating murals with Precita Eyes Muralists. Currently she lives in the Bronx, New York and is growing Tree House Studio Collective. www.fokus.org |

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Solstice

by D. Cross

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D.Cross(Derick Cross) is a Brooklyn based multidisciplined visual, vocal and poetic artist. He has exhibited and performed his art nationally and internationally. This SVA graduate creates soul stirring imagery that manifests in the forms of illustrations, sculptures and paintings. He also creates vocal collages using sounds and words. www.fokus.org |

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Thank You for reading INSIGHT: SOLSTICE We hope you enjoyed the work shared with you. The theme for the next issue is: HUNGER Read more issues @ www.fokus.org/insight


INSIGHT: Solstice