As part of “World Making and Social Emergency at the Hemispheric Institute,” an initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Institute invites distinguished researchers, artists, journalists, and activists to develop their work and participate in our programs as Mellon Fellows–Artists in Residence, Visiting Scholars, and Journalists in Residence. These accomplished thinkers and makers create art, conduct research, strengthen activism, and chronicle the hemisphere. Their work engages hemispheric communities, scholars, and learners, and we are honored to support them.
2023 Mellon Fellows
Nadia Huggins was born in Trinidad and Tobago and grew up in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where she is currently based. A self-taught artist, she works in photography and, since 2010, has built a body of images that are characterized by her observation of the everyday. Her work merges documentary and conceptual practices, which explore belonging, identity, and memory through a contemporary approach focused on re-presenting Caribbean landscapes and the sea. Nadia’s photographs have been exhibited in group shows in Canada, USA, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Ethiopia, Guadeloupe, France, and the Dominican Republic. In 2019, her solo show Human stories: Circa no future took place at Now Gallery (London UK). Her work forms part of the collection of The Wedge Collection (Toronto, Canada), The National Gallery of Jamaica (Kingston), and The Art Museum of the Americas (Washington DC, USA). Nadia was selected for the New York Times Portfolio Review (2018) and her work has been included in several publications, including A to Z of Caribbean Art (2019). She is the co-founder of ARC Magazine and One Drop in the Ocean, an initiative that aims to raise awareness about marine debris.
As part of her Artist Residency at the Institute, Huggins will participate in the curation of an exhibition of her photography and video work that will open at the King Juan Carlos I Center in April 2023.
Dantaé Elliott is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University. Dantaé has a particular interest in contemporary Caribbean Art and its relation to migration within the Caribbean diaspora and region. Her work examines the phenomenon “barrelchildren syndrome” to highlight migratory remittance and the relationship between a material object which not only carries personal and emotional significance, but facilitates interpersonal interactions. She holds a B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature with a concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) from Roanoke College and an M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature with a focus on Golden Age Literature in Spain from the University of Delaware. She is also the program assistant for the Caribbean Initiative workshop series at the Center for Caribbean and Latin American Studies at NYU. This summer she served as Co-Director for the CCCADI (Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute) Summer Seminar for their Curatorial Fellowship class of 2022/2023. She is currently working as an Editorial Assistant for Small Axe, A Caribbean Journal of Criticism. She is a featured artist in Volume 4 of Forgotten Lands, titled Currents of Africa, released in June 2022.
As part of her residency as a Hemi Mellon Predoctoral Fellow, Elliott will curate the upcoming exhibition of Hemi Artist in Residence Nadia Huggins, which will open at the King Juan Carlos I Center in April 2023.
Fabiana Lopes is a New York and São Paulo–based independent curator, writer and Ph.D. candidate in Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. In 2020, she served as Adjunct Curator for Mercosul Biennial 12 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Her research centers on the contemporary production of artists of the African diaspora in Brazil and in the Americas, with special attention paid to Black performance. Her writings have appeared in Cadernos Pagu, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Harper’s Bazaar Art, O Menelick 2o Ato, ARTE!Brasileiros, Contemporary And (C&), and in exhibition catalogs such as Feminine(s): visualities, actions and affections, (Mercosul Biennial 12, Porto Alegre, 2020), PIPA Prize (2020), Rosana Paulino: The Sewing of Memory (Pinacoteca, São Paulo, 2018), Lucia Laguna: Neighborhood, (MASP, São Paulo, 2018), Of Darkness and Of Light (Minnette Vári, Johannesburg, 2016), Territories: Artists of African Descent at Pinacoteca’s Collection, (Pinacoteca, São Paulo, 2015).
As part of her residency as a Hemi Mellon Predoctoral Fellow, she will draw upon her long-term research on Black performance in Brazil, to build archival collections around the work of Brazilian artists Ricardo Aleixo and Ayrson Heráclito in the Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (HIDVL).
2022-23 Mellon Fellows
Camille Lawrence (she/her) is an archivist, artist, curator, and the founder of Black Beauty Archives. Lawrence’s work focuses on the art history, innovations, and diversity of artistic expression across the African Diaspora. She is primarily interested in exploring and archiving identity formation throughout the African diaspora and culture through three foundational principles: oral, physical, and ritual. Lawrence’s background as an art historian, artist, and beauty practitioner informs her approach to archival work. Her projects include Black Beauty Archives and contributions to Urban Bush Women, BAM DanceAfrica, and Black Dance Stories.
On Juneteenth 2020, Lawrence founded Black Beauty Archives to document, preserve, and archive the history of Black Beauty culture. Lawrence’s professional makeup artist experience includes publications in VOGUE, Sophisticate’s Black Hair Styles, The New York Times, and TV/Film with Apple, CNBC, Disney, ESPN, Hallmark, and Nike. In 2022, Black Beauty Archives was featured in Oprah Daily and mentioned on CNN and The Hollywood Reporter. Lawrence completed her BA in Art History and a minor in Global Black Studies from SUNY Purchase. She is completing her MLIS from CUNY Queens College and Beauty Essentials Certification from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
As part of her residency, Lawrence is curating and hosting “Agency + Process: #000000,” a series of virtual conversations celebrating individuals who are shaping the future of memory work, creating outside of traditional archival models.
Juan Carlos Alom
Juan Carlos Alom, born in Cuba in 1964, is a filmmaker and photographer who has exhibited throughout Cuba, the Americas, Europe, and South Africa. Starting his career as a photojournalist in 1990s Cuba, Alom developed an artistic vision informed by the need for spontaneity demanded by that period of crisis. Among the films that Alom has directed are Una Harley recorre la Habana (1998, “A Harley Travels Around Havana”), Habana Solo (2000), Evidencia (2001), Iroko (2004), Diario (2009). A retrospective of his 16mm films was screened at the 2018 Los Angeles festival “Ism, Ism, Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America.” Recent group exhibitions include “Without Masks: Contemporary Afro-Cuban Art,” Audain Gallery, Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver (2014), and “On the Horizon,” Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2017), among many others. Solo exhibitions have taken place at San Francisco Art Institute, Buzz Art Gallery, Miami; University of Connecticut Jorgensen Gallery; and El Apartamento Gallery, Havana. His work is held in permanent collections at Cuba’s Museum of Fine Arts; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Ludwig Forum for International Art, Germany; Fototeca de Pachuca, Mexico; the Pérez Art Museum; the University of Texas’s Blanton Museum of Art; Museo Reina Sofia and Tate Modern. In 2000, Time Magazine selected Alom as one of the photographers of the millennium in Latin America.
During his 2022-2023 academic year residency, Alom will present Finotype: Photographs by Juan Carlos Alom, as well as workshops and a lecture.
Carlos Martiel (born 1989, Havana) lives and works in New York and Havana. He graduated in 2009 from the National Academy of Fine Arts, “San Alejandro,” in Havana. From 2008 to 2010, he studied in the Cátedra Arte de Conducta, directed by the artist Tania Bruguera. Martiel’s works have been included in the Biennial of the Americas; 4th Vancouver Biennale; 14th Sharjah Biennial, UAE; 14th Cuenca Biennial; 57th Venice Biennale; Casablanca Biennale; Biennial “La Otra,” Colombia; Liverpool Biennial; Pontevedra Biennial; and Havana Biennial. He has had performances at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York; El Museo del Barrio, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; La Tertulia Museum, Cali; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan, among others. He has received several awards, including the Franklin Furnace Fund (New York, 2016); “CIFOS Grants & Commissions Program Award” (Miami, 2014); and “Arte Laguna” (Venice, 2013). His work has been exhibited at the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP); Zisa Zona Arti Contemporanee (ZAC), Palermo; Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami; Benaki Museum, Athens; and National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, among others. His works are in public and private collections such as the Guggenheim Museum; the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM); and Museu de Arte do Rio.
As part of his residency, Martiel will finalize the curation of his upcoming collection in HIDVL.
Dr. Brenda Dixon Gottschild
Brenda Dixon-Gottschild is the author of Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance: Dance and Other Contexts; Waltzing in the Dark: African American Vaudeville and Race Politics in the Swing Era (winner of the 2001 Congress on Research in Dance Award for Outstanding Scholarly Dance Publication); The Black Dancing Body–A Geography from Coon to Cool (winner of the 2004 de la Torre Bueno prize for scholarly excellence in dance publication); and Joan Myers Brown and The Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina: A Biohistory of American Performance.
Additional honors include the Congress on Research in Dance Award for Outstanding Leadership in Dance Research (2008); a Leeway Foundation Transformation Grant (2009); the International Association for Blacks in Dance Outstanding Scholar Award (2013); the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Civil Rights Award (2016); a Pew Fellowship in the Arts (2017); and a Dance Magazine Award (2022).
A self-described anti-racist cultural worker utilizing dance as her medium, Dixon-Gottschild is a freelance writer, consultant, performer, and lecturer; a former consultant and writer for Dance Magazine; and Professor Emerita of dance studies, Temple University. As an artist-scholar, she coined the phrase “choreography for the page” to describe her embodied, subjunctive approach to research writing.
Nationwide and abroad, she curates post-performance reflexive dialogues, writes critical performance essays, performs self-created solos, and collaborates with her husband, choreographer/dancer Hellmut Gottschild, in a genre they developed and titled “movement theater discourse.”
During her residency, Dr. Dixon-Gottschild will participate in events about her work and distinguished career and curate events about the erasure of Blackness from dance forms such as ballet and flamenco.
2022 Mellon Fellows
Gertrudis Rivalta Oliva
Born in 1971 in Santa Clara, Cuba, Gertrudis Rivalta Oliva is a multi-disciplinary artist whose trajectory includes drawing, sculpture, painting, photography, video, and performance. A graduate of the Instituto Superior de Arte de la Habana (Havana) in 1996, Rivalta has exhibited her work in some of the most important Cuban galleries and museums, such as the Centro Wilfredo Lam, the Fototeca of Cuba, the 23rd and 12th Gallery, the Cuban National Museum of Fine Arts, the Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, as well as in international spaces such as the Art Museum of Ponce (Ponce, Puerto Rico), the Cultural Center (Manila, The Philippines), the Iber-American Museum of Contemporary Art (Badajoz, Spain), Track 16 Gallery (LA, California), Gallery Adhoc (Vigo, Spain), and Espace Croix-Baragnon (Toulouse, France). Many of these were curated in collaboration with British art critic, Kevin Power, who pioneered Rivalta’s work. Among her most acclaimed solo shows is Evans or not Evans (1998, University of Alicante) that revisited the work of the North American photographer Walker Evans in Cuba. Her work formed part of the 1997 group show Queloides, the first-ever exhibition in Cuba focusing on race and the place that black people occupy in Cuban society. Her work is held in collections in Cuba, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, and the United States. As part of her residency, Rivalta will present her solo exhibition Selected Pages at the Thomas Nickles Project in New York City and take part in a number of public programs.
Rosa Marquetti Torres
Born in Alquízar, La Habana, Cuba, Rosa Marquetti Torres received a degree in philology from the University of Havana. Her professional connection with Cuban music began in 1993 as an executive at the Pablo Milanés Foundation. The Pablo Milanés Foundation was the first private Afro-descendant institutional initiative in Cuban culture, and since then it has grown, with projects in diverse domains such as the record industry, intellectual property; archival, production, consulting and musical supervision in films and documentaries; curatorship, and historiographic and musicographic research. Marquetti is the author of Chano Pozo: A Life (1915-1948),“ El Niño con su tres. Andrés Echevarría Callava, Niño Rivera, Desmemoriados. Histories of Cuban Music, as well as “Celia in Cuba (1925-1960)” (forthcoming). She also created and is the editor of the blog Desmemoriados– Histories of Cuban music (www.desmemoriados.com), which was founded in 2014. Marquetti has also worked at Magic Music Records, the General Society of Authors and Editors of Spain, and the Gladys Palmera Collection. Her texts and research on major events, characteristics, and figures of Cuban music have been published in specialized and general journals and magazines in Cuba, Colombia, Spain, France, and the United States. During her residency, Marquetti will be sharing work from her forthcoming book Celia en Cuba (1925-1960), focusing on the importance of NYC-based record labels in Celia Cruz’s early career.
Karen Jaime is Assistant Professor of Performing and Media Arts and Latina/o Studies at Cornell University. Karen is a former Career Enhancement Junior Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Citizens & Scholars (formerly the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation), Visiting Scholar at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, Rockefeller Foundation Research Fellow, and Chancellor’s Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Karen’s monograph, The Queer Nuyorican: Racialized Sexualities and Aesthetics in Loisaida (NYU Press, 2021) argues for a reexamination of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe as a historically queer space, both in terms of sexualities and performance practices. Her critical writing has been published, or is forthcoming, in Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, e-misférica, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, ASAP/J, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, and Performance Matters. Jaime is also an accomplished spoken word/performance artist who served as the host/curator of the Friday Night Poetry Slam at the world-renowned Nuyorican Poets Cafe (2003-2005). As a published poet, her writing is included in The Best of Panic! En Vivo From the East Village, Flicker and Spark: A Queer Anthology of Spoken Word and Poetry, a special issue of Sinister Wisdom: A Multicultural Lesbian Literary and Art Journal, “Out Latina Lesbians,” and in the anthology Latinas: Struggles and Protest in 21st Century USA. During her residency, she will lead Institute programming on the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Founders Collection in HIDVL and present new research on the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Café community.
Ralph Thomassaint is an award-winning Haitian multimedia journalist and digital content producer based in New York. He launched the news section of the Haitian digital news media site Ayibopost, the most competitive digital platform in Haiti currently, where he worked as Editor in chief for four years. Ralph has a Master’s degree in Digital Journalism from New York University. During his residency at Hemi, he will be active in Rights Without Borders, the Institute’s collaboration with NYU Law School’s Global Justice Clinic, and coverage of current events in Haiti and the diaspora.
Aurelio Martínez is a renowned singer/songwriter, guitarist and percussionist, and one of the great musical artists of Central America. He is a master composer and global ambassador of Garífuna music and cultural patrimony. Born in La Ceiba, Honduras to a family with a formidable musical legacy, Martínez is known for his potent and evocative voice and original compositions, which are a modern expression of Garífuna tradition. He is an international musical force who has received numerous prizes and performed across the world sharing and teaching Garífuna culture. In addition to his career as a performing and recording artist, Martínez became the first Garífuna and the first Black representative in the Honduran Congress, where he advocated for the rights and cultural sovereignty of his community. During his residency, which will Inaugurate the collaboration between Hemi and NYU’s Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music, Aurelio will give master classes, community workshops and participate in other public programs.
2021-22 Mellon Fellows
Arthur Avilés is an internationally renowned gay New York-Rican dancer/choreographer, born in 1963 in Jamaica, Queens, raised in Long Island and the Bronx. In December 1998, he co-founded The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!) with Charles Rice-González. BAAD is a performance space that blazed a path for professional art and dance in the Bronx; it has garnered local and national attention for its work. Avilés has received numerous awards and honors, including an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from his alma mater, Bard College, as well as a Bronx Recognizes Its Own (BRIO) award, and multiple New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards.
Nakai Flotte (She/Hers or They/Them) is an anthropologist, ethnographer, and community organizer of Mexican descent, born and raised in the Texas-Mexico border. She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology at Harvard University and works on issues related to border-making, trans queer migration, and practices of refugee carcerality in the United States, Mexico, and beyond. Dr. Flotte is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Gender, Race, Indigeneity, Disability and Sexuality (GRIDS) Program at UT Austin where she will be writing and teaching about topics related to international migration, practices of care, and abolitionist practice and thought. She is an active volunteer and member ofUn Mundo Sin Fronteras, a collective founded by Black trans women from Central America based in Austin, Texas. Dr. Flotte also writes and conducts research for various tribal nations and indigenous communities in Texas, Chihuahua, Mexico and beyond.
Saudi Garcia is an Afro-Caribbean, queer, first-generation immigrant Ph.D. candidate at New York University. She is a graduate of NYU’s Culture and Media program, a public scholar and a facilitator for the Dominican-Haitian peace and reconciliation organization In Cultured Company. Deeply concerned with Black subjects’ relationships to land, ecology and environmental health, Saudi researches the history and contemporary forms of resistance to gold mining in the Dominican Republic as an entry point to examine how Black Caribbean communities construct alternative visions of human relations to the region’s climate-vulnerable and toxic ecologies. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “Unearthing Blackness: Race, Mining Toxicity and Bio-Geo-Social Health in the Dominican Republic,” analyzes how the forms of activism and everyday survival of rural Black Dominicans impacted by gold mining reveal the gap between the project of Hispanic Caribbean racialization and the anti-colonial and maroon imaginations, philosophies and cultural practices of the rural people of Ayiti (Hispaniola). She teaches bio-social anthropology, anthropology of Afro-Latin America and Dominican Studies.
Born in the Brazilian city of Natal, Rodrigo Severo is a multidisciplinary artist and professor of Theater, Performance, and Urban Intervention. He is currently completing his PhD in Performing Arts at the University of Saõ Paulo (ECA-USP). Rodrigo is a founding member of Preta Performance, a collective of multidisciplinary Black artists that investigates ethno-racial relations in Brazil with the aim of creating decolonized and anti-racist aesthetic actions using audiovisual and performance-based vocabularies. With the Collective, he has directed and participated in numerous works, among them Negrotério (2016), created for the 32nd São Paulo Biennial. His scholarly work appears in Sankofa (São Paulo), Ephemera (U FOP), interFACES (UFRJ) and, most recently, in Entre Atlânticos: protagonismo, política e epistemologia (Dialética, 2021). From 2011-2017, he was a member of the Collective Deviation Creators Network, and has performed and directed works throughout Brazil. He has also taught courses on performance and urban intervention, in numerous institutions.