Sustinere

July 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Angel Bellaran is pleased to present Sustinēre, a group exhibition featuring work by five vogueish makers responding to the concept of sustainability through the creation of artwork detailing the various complexities of simply existing in the year 2019. Opening July 19 at 199 Lafayette Street in New York City, the show will feature artwork by five incredibly talented interdisciplinary artists including: fashion designer Mia Vesper, production designer Danica Pantic, printmaker and activist Ariana Barat, international humanitarian aid worker Chiara Trincia, and designer Jasmín María García. 

While contemplating the Latin word origins of sustinēre (tenere, to hold; sub, under) each contribution is an individual interpretation of the definition to sustain, withstand and endure in our contemporary times. Vesper’s collection, which is based on vintage tapestries and materials sourced from around the world, is an aesthetic beacon for sustainable fashion that has received accolades from Vogue, W Magazine and Forbes. 

On a more personal note, Pantic’s ornate and transcendent embroidered textiles are as much of an ode to her personal struggle of assimilation into American culture as they are an exclamation of frustration towards the ongoing, and potentially unending pilgrimage of sustaining personal relationships: in a world where one’s motherland is known as “the former Yugoslavia,” how might someone define their origin, never mind ever relate to the American privilege of unfettered existence? 

García’s intricate and ornate craftsmanship is unparalleled in beauty, and her passion for making is self-admittedly inspired by her ancestors. 

In the 21st century, sustainability generally refers to the ability of the biosphere and human civilization to co-exist; Trincia’s personal photo documentation of her experience as an international humanitarian aid worker over the last decade echoes the origins of Pantic’s woven ballad, from one warzone to another. Providing viewers with glimpses of refugee resettlement from Kuala Lumpur, Trincia dedicates her time and emotional energy to documenting her interactions and the stories her subjects share with her during her work travels. Images from Chad and Cameroon included in Sustinēre were taken as recently as last week. Honest, respectful and sublimely celebratory, Trincia’s lens provides a direct window into both the violence and very real climate change that have created a black mirror narrative. It is a contemporary crisis that very few - if any - Americans know of, or choose to acknowledge, in their waking lives. 

During the Thirty Years’ War (for context, the U.S. war with Afghanistan is approaching twenty) a tax accountant and mining administrator named Hans Carl von Carolowitz first applies the term sustainability, or Nachhaltigkeit in German, in reaction to his witnessing of the complete devastation of old growth forests. However, as time passed the definition of the word expanded to the idea of making only natural and renewable resources, so that society could continue to rely on the harvest in the long term; historically, the word sustainability emerges in a time of crisis and scarcity. In adherence with this narrative, Barat will be creating a temporary, site-specific artwork at 199 Lafayette Street for the opening event on July 19. This artwork remains installed for the duration of the exhibition, but the temporal materials by which it is constructed may render it more specter than phenomenon with the passing of time. 

On view July 19 through July 30, by definition, sustainability is the ability to exist constantly. While that lifespan for this exhibition is not possible, Bellaran’s curatorial arch draws her to a variety of makers, and in the wake of the loss of her maternal grandmother she dedicates this celebration of endurance, creativity and beauty in the face of adversity to Mercedes Rita Luisa Díaz Galup y Fernández, whose arrival illuminated the earth on October 10th, 1930 in Havana, Cuba and made the night sky a little brighter on June 2nd, 2019 when she passed away in North Carolina.

An opening reception will be held on Friday, July 19 from 6 p.m. until late, featuring live embroidery by Pantic and embellishments by García. Sustinēre will also debut an exciting collection of artwork titled PANTIC x VESPER, which is the amalgamation of Vesper’s extraordinary rare textiles and Pantic’s elaborate embroidery art. 

Please make note that we will be collecting donations for Blue Tin Production Co-op during the opening event and throughout the duration of the exhibition. Blue Tin Production is an all-women refugee & immigrant run apparel manufacturing co-op that works to act as an alternative to sweatshops & build community in Chicago. Instagram: @bluetinproduction

This project has been made possible by the generosity of Mia Vesper and Pansy

- xxa

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Mia Vesper is a NYC based designer who launched her namesake brand in February of 2017. The garments from Vesper’s permanent collection are one of a kind outerwear constructed from vintage tapestries sourced from all over the world and manufactured in NYC.  In 2019 she launched her ready to wear collection which incorporates womens and unisex styles fabricated from new, vintage and deadstock material. You can find both the couture and ready to wear at her pop up at 199 Lafayette St, Soho. Mia states: “My brand grew from the repurposing of vintage material. Couture by virtue of being couture is sustainable (not necessarily green, but sustainable).  Quantities matter so much to your carbon footprint and couture has a quantity of one. When expanding into my ready to wear line, I continue to use natural fibers or vintage where I can, but I certainly make concessions for aesthetic. I love sequins and specialty fabrics that certainly don’t qualify as green. What I do feel confident in is the ability to create special and  enduring pieces. My sustainability concept relies on a fair trade direct to consumer model that concentrates on small quantities, design integrity, special-ness and longevity.” Website: https://www.miavesper.com

Danica Pantic is a film production designer and art director. Her interest in performing arts developed as she adjusted into American culture as a Serbian teenager. A longtime resident of New York City, Pantic has been immersed in the eclectic world theater and film that the city has to offer. Drawing on her multicultural experience to create a variety of full and rich universes in her work, Danica has had the opportunity to collaborate with Rose Troché, Colin Quinn, Pusha T, Jennifer Keytin Robinson and many more. Most recently, Danica finished designing the third season of TBS' dark comedy Search Party, and is currently taking time to focus on her own personal fine art practice. Website: https://www.danicapantic.com

Ariana Barat is an artist and activist who practices making as mediation.  Barat describes her work as a form of alchemy, the transformation from pain to power, a hybrid of freedom and oppression as spoken through the centuries-old tradition of printmaking.  She draws on imagery that connects the work to eastern iconography, specifically to the pantheon of deities from hinduism. Her artistic practice explores how the politics of tradition and craft are preserved, deconstructed, revised, and reimagined to create new stories and new possibilities for hope and healing.  Accessing the past, present and future, the work is the ritual of remembrance depicting the tension, grief and mantric ecstasy experienced when reclaiming the body as a sacred site; the revolutionary act of recognizing ourselves as whole and sovereign. Barat describes her collaging of imagery as a form of “visible mending” which gives a language to the trauma of marginalization and provides a point of stillness to create spiritual reconciliation. Mending is resistance, an act of devotion, which confronts injustice, the abuse of power and its disposability of people and things; the handmade honors the maker. It raises critical questions concerning the continuation of colonialism, the politics of erasure and exclusion, it shows that we have and always will belong to ourselves, to our people, to our communities and to the earth.  

As a printmaker, Barat has worked for the Brodsky Center, the Lower East Side Printshop, the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop and the Glasgow Print Studio editioning work for bluechip artists such as Kara Walker and Chuck Close. She is the Manager of the Printmaking facilities at Parsons School of Design and holds a BA in Fine Arts from Rutgers University and has her MS from the New School in International Affairs with a concentration in Development and Economics. Her research centers on labor compliance regulations in the garment industry and market demand analysis for handicraft in the artisan sector. She has collaborated with the World Bank, UNHCR and USAID researching income generating opportunities for artisan enterprises in emerging economies. In May 2018 Barat served as a panel expert with the UN Global Compact for the Youth Fashion Summit, which is part of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the largest international conference on fashion and sustainability. Website: http://www.arianabarat.com

Chiara Trincia is an international humanitarian aid worker who has worked for the past decade with non-governmental organizations, foundations and UN agencies in dozens of crisis zones worldwide. As an expert in awareness-raising, Chiara has worked alongside global leaders like former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband.  

Chiara has recently focused, through her growing photojournalism practice, on the human beings behind the statistics that dominate global headlines. 70 million people today are displaced from their homes in search of safety. But beneath the surface of states and nations, ideas and language, lies the fate of individual human beings in need.

Despite being numerous enough to constitute a nation of their own, refugees remain excluded from the Sustainable Development Goals - affecting not just outcomes in gender equality, health and education for these populations, but even their visibility and the recognition of the value of their lives on the global stage. This is a fatal omission- especially for children, who make up 50% of all displaced persons. Their future, and that of the societies they inhabit, hang perilously in the balance. Instagram: @thelives_ofothers

Jasmín María García is a fashion designer based in Brooklyn. As a girl she developed a vast knowledge of sculpting with clay and 3D materials. García’s young love for Lisa Frank and her grandmother's vintage garment collection immersed her into an artist that values sequins, Swarovski stones and intense detailed beading. To sustain her talent, García engages in new techniques; stacking sequins, sculpting with vinyl or experimenting with 3D printing are extremely complex and challenging trademarks of her work. This has caught the attention of companies like Diane Von Furstenberg, Discount Universe, Textile Studio, and NY Embroidery, where Jasmin designed for their embellishment team. Michele Obama, Gigi Hadid, and Nicki Minaj are all iconic people who have worn García’s embellishment designs, along with many others. Along with having the ability to create exquisite designs, García has the gift of making women feel graceful and empowered. Instagram: @hasmeen.garcia 

Angel Bellaran is a curator and the former Director of the Gray Gallery and Graduate Faculty at East Carolina University School of Art and Design. An art-historian, socially-engaged artist, activist and educator, Bellaran has spent her life divided between The United States & Ireland, pursuing a passion for contemporary art and the study of international curatorial and artistic practices. Bellaran's multidisciplinary practice combines research, collaboration, curatorial and public engagement to build solidarity amongst artists, communities and organizations.

As a result of a life in art academia on both sides of the Atlantic as well as the Pacific Rim, her expertise now covers a global range of media that connects an amazing group of fellow artists and collaborators. In addition to the management of artists and their studios, Bellaran's practice includes creative consulting, curatorial and project management, exhibition planning and administration, art direction, production design, public speaking and fine art logistics. Bellaran is proud to be one of the lead organizers of the Nasty Women Exhibition global art movement, and is a member of the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA) in New York and Black Mountain College in North Carolina. 

A third-generation mixed-race American, born at the shore in New Jersey and raised between there and North Carolina, Bellaran currently resides between Greenville and Brooklyn with her rescue pup, Luna. 

In loving memory of Mercedes Rita Luisa Díaz Galup y Fernández, October 10, 1930 - June 2, 2019

In loving memory of Mercedes Rita Luisa Díaz Galup y Fernández, October 10, 1930 - June 2, 2019


photo by Christina Lilly Photography

Angel Bellaran (US/IE) completed her Masters in Visual Arts Practices at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dublin, Ireland and gained her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mason Gross, the arts conservatory of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey