Celebrating New Works #15

© Priya Kambli, Dada Aajooba and Dadi Aaji (Yellow Petals), Color Falls Down series.

On June 4th, our annual New Works Photography Fellowship Awards Exhibition opened at Calumet Photographic in Manhattan, featuring the work of fellowship winners Alejandro Durán and Priya Kambli and honorable mention winners Adam Amengual, Christine Nguyen, and Brenda Perry.

We hope you will take a trip to Calumet to see the work, which is on view until June 23rd – and of course join us for the opening reception and meet the artists on Thursday, June 14th from 6-8pm. 

We are delighted to partner with juror and Mazzeo Projects director Michael Mazzeo to share the work of the New Works #15 artists with our online community through a five-part series of blog posts. This first post, shares Michael’s words about what inspired him about these five talented artists:

It is a honor to have been asked to jury the New Works Photography Fellowship Awards and I’d like to thank En Foco’s Executive Director, Miriam Romais as well as the Staff and Board of Directors for granting me the opportunity to participate in this important program.

As with any photography competition, a successful outcome is determined  by the quality of the work submitted, and by all standards, this year’s entrants provided a formidable selection of portfolios from which to choose.  Still, it is not a simple task to select one artist among many or to anoint one body of work as more important than another, especially when the pool of talent is deep and the ideas expansive.

© Alejandro Durán’s Washed Up series

The submissions to the 15th New Works Photography Fellowship Awards were all I hoped they would be and everything I’ve come to expect from En Foco. The artists contributed projects of social and cultural significance while deftly addressing global issues from personal and prescient points of view. At a time when financial crises threaten the world and our political system has devolved into a dysfunctional game of ruthless, bipartisan vitriol, the En Foco community has responded with socially conscious statements far removed from common rhetorical chatter. Their work delivers us to a meditative state in which we are asked to open our minds and seek not answers, but possibilities. Their art is our refuge, built on a foundation of common cause.

The artists selected for the En Foco Awards––Priya Kambli, Alejandro Durán, Brenda Perry, Adam Amengual, and Christine Nguyen––each employ contemporary strategies to further their ideas and concerns. Their methodologies include repurposed imagery, commercially inspired studio techniques, and site-specific installations constructed solely for the camera. Alluring and thought-provoking, their images beckon us with pure visual appeal, then seductively engage us in sober conversation concerning issues of identity, rehabilitation, environmental awareness, and ruthless assassination. Their projects come from introspection and empathy, from practices steeped in life experience and a keen appreciation of the human condition. In them, we recognize universal themes and familiar stories, invigorated and informed with new faces, new vocabularies and new histories.

© Adam Amengual‘s Homies series
© Christine Nguyen
© Brenda Perry‘s Postmortem Juarez series
Can’t make the exhibit? The New Works #15 Exhibition Catalogue features all the work in the show, and is available via Blurb.com, so you can purchase your very own catalogue and help celebrate the many talents this program helps support.

En Foco’s New Works Photography Fellowship Awards is an annual program selecting three or more U.S. based photographers of Latino, African or Asian heritage, and Native Peoples of the Americas and Pacific, through a free national call for entries. It helps artists to create or complete an in-depth photographic series exploring themes of their choice, and provides the infrastructure needed for national visibility and a professional exhibition of their new work in the New York area.

Submissions for New Works #16 with juror Natasha Egan of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, will be accepted until July 31, 2012. Online submissions will be made via CallforEntry.org, and details are posted on En Foco’s website.

We owe a very special thanks to those that make this program possible. The 15th New Works program is supported in part by the NY State Council on the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Bronx Council on the Arts, Canson Infinity, Manfrotto, PhotoServe, Lowepro, PDN and En Foco’s patrons.

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