(Bronx, NY – March 17, 2021) En Foco is proud to announce the five winners of its 2021 Media Arts Work-In-Progress (WIP) Fund Awardees. This award recognizes works-in-progress in the area of media arts: film, video, interactive/non-interactive installation, multi or mixed media, experimental processes, sound art as well as any works using digital processes that do not rely solely on photography. Each winner will receive a $1,000 award.
En Foco’s 2021 Media Arts Work-In-Progress (WIP) Fund winners are Janah Cox, Najiyah Edun, Jaclyn Reyes, Justine Reyes, and Betty Yu. The Fellowship winners selected are based on the excellence and quality of the work submitted. All work is reviewed by panelists who are distinguished members of the arts community: Arantxa Araujo, Judith Escalona, and Derick Whitson.
The Media Arts Work in Progress Fund was developed out of the En Foco Photography Fellowship, and the need to widen the scope of mediums eligible for the fellowship. The WIP Fund is a response to a need for more opportunities for artists of color who engage with digital media to have their work supported and exhibited.
Meet the awardees
Janah Cox is a Nuyorican documentary director and editor born and raised in the Bronx, NY. Her previous editorial work has premiered at Cannes, Berlinale, Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, and New York film festivals, among others. She was recently the editor of Bad Hombres, a feature documentary premiering on Showtime in October 2020, and has worked on award-winning films including The King, Mr. Soul!, 93Queen, and Get Me Roger Stone! She holds a BA in Globalization Studies with a focus in Latin America from SUNY Albany, was a 2019 Karen Schmeer Diversity in the Edit Room Fellowship recipient, and a 2020 IF/Then North Shorts grant recipient. She is currently editing an untitled feature documentary directed by Yance Ford. Melting Snow is her directorial debut.
Najiyah Edun is an interdisciplinary artist, spatial designer, and creative technologist based in NYC. Raised in the post-colonial African nation of Mauritius, with mixed parents of Asian and South Asian origins, at 20 she moved to the US for college. Trained and licensed as an architect, she has since worked on the design and development of a number of cultural institutions such as Philarmonie de Paris Concert Hall, the US Embassy compound in Nigeria, as well as large-scale infrastructure and transportation projects in NYC and beyond. In her architecture projects, the continued goal is to enhance community by providing and enhancing civic spaces. She first fell in love with the possibilities of spatial interactive design at the MIT Media Lab, exploring the thermal properties of shape memory alloys and their applications in regulating space for daylighting and information display. For the past few years, she has been examining the intersections of the digital and the physical. Her work has been featured at Le Palais de Tokyo in Paris, at the Gray Area SHowcase, at the D3 Gallery in NYC, and at Makerfaire. Najiyah holds a Master’s from MIT and has studied at the Gray Area and the MIT Media Lab.
Jaclyn Reyes is an artist, designer, and cultural organizer with experience in bridging multidisciplinary practices with education, storytelling, and research. Her body of work ranges from social practice projects in Little Manila, Queens, New York to music and dance with performing groups such as Gamelan Dharma Swara. She has worked for Campaign and Creative Services at BerlinRosen, the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, the Resilient Communities program at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Penguin Random House, Condé Nast, and Visionaire. In 2014, she received a Fulbright grant to be an educator in Malaysia. As a teaching artist, she has worked in Brooklyn, Phnom Penh, Xela, and Gamay. She was a 2020 Create Change Artist-in-Residence at The Laundromat Project and a recipient of a 2020 Asian Women Giving Circle grant. She studied studio art at California State University Long Beach before transferring to Syracuse University where she earned her BFA in art photography. In 2019, she earned her master’s degree in Arts in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Justine Reyes lives and works in New York. She received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2004 and a BFA from Syracuse University in 2000. Reyes has exhibited her work nationally and internationally including Proyecto Circo at the 8th Havana Biennial, Cuba; Contemporary Istanbul, Turkey; Queens International 4 at The Queens Museum of Art, the S-Files Biennial at El Museo del Barrio, the Humble Arts Foundation’s 31 Women in Art Photography and the Flash Forward Festival in Toronto. She was an artist in residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2008 and exhibited the series Vanitas there in 2010. Reyes was awarded the Juror’s Choice Award from the Center’s project competition, a workspace residency from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), and Visiting Scholar status at New York University. She was also a recipient of a QCAF grant from the Queens Council on the Arts with public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for her series Home, Away from Home and was named one of PDN’s (Photo District News) Top 30. Her work has been published in Harper’s Magazine, Real Simple, The Wall Street Journal Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.
Betty Yu is a socially engaged multimedia artist, filmmaker, and activist from NYC. Ms. Yu integrates documentary film, new media, and community-infused approaches into her practice. She is a co-founder of Chinatown Art Brigade, an anti-gentrification cultural collective. Ms. Yu has been awarded artist residencies and fellowships from the Laundromat Project, International Studio & Curatorial Program, Santa Fe Art Institute, Asian American Arts Alliance, Intercultural Leadership Institute, and SPACE at Ryder Farm. Her work has been presented at the Directors Guild of America, Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, Margaret Mead Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival’s Interactive Showcase, and the Eastman Kodak Museum. Betty had her first solo exhibition, “(Dis)Placed in Sunset Park” at Open Source Gallery. It was also in 2019 BRIC’s Biennial, receiving an honorable mention in The New York Times. In 2017, Ms. Yu won the Aronson Journalism for Social Justice Award for her film “Three Tours” about U.S. veterans returning home from the war in Iraq and overcoming PTSD. She holds a BFA from NYU’s TSOA, an MFA from Hunter College, and a certificate in New Media Narratives from the International Center of Photography. Betty had her curatorial debut in the Fall, presenting “Imagining De-Gentrified Futures” at Apexart in NYC.