En Foco Photography Fellowship Awardees

(Bronx, NY – March 1, 2019) En Foco is proud to announce the ten winners of its 2019 Photography Fellowship Program: Damarys Alvarez, Melanie GonzalezJerry Lim, Ruben RamirezRoger RichardsonTiffany SmithAaron R Turner, Virginia Inés Vergara, Derick Whitson, and D’Angelo Lovell Williams. The fellows were selected from a pool of 107 applicants, and will receive a $1,000 award and participate in the 2019 Fellowship Group Exhibition (opening Wednesday, June 19 at the Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos). Additionally, the winners will be featured in En Foco’s Spring/Summer issue of Nueva Luz.

The Fellowship affirms En Foco’s ongoing commitment to the financial support of artists of color, and serves to inform exhibition organizers and curators of an existing pool of under-recognized artists.


Melanie Gonzalez is an interdisciplinary photographer and video/film artist of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent. She received a BA in Studio Art Photography and Italian language from The City College of New York. Gonzalez creates and directs photographic narratives through live performances and digital photography. She considers herself a traveler, shooting landscapes and architectural portraits on analog film. Gonzalez has shown work at El Museo Centro de Leon, Concourse House, Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos, Wave Hill Sunroom Project Space, The American Museum of Natural History, Medianoche New Media Gallery & Digital Film Studio, The Andrew Freedman Home, The Clemente Gallery, and Temporary Storage Gallery. She currently resides in The Bronx, NY.

Virginia Inés Vergara is a photo-based Chilean American artist with a studio practice in Harlem going back nearly a decade. Vergara received a BFA with honors from Rhode Island School of Design, studying at RISD’s European Honors program in Rome, and an MFA in Photography from CUNY Hunter College. Her work embodies meditations on light, perception and proximity, and investigations into relationships between art and nature. She has exhibited widely in New York, including a solo-exhibition of her Shards series at Robert Miller Gallery. She exhibited her Glass-scape series in Uptown (2017) at The Wallach Gallery curated by Deborah Cullen. Her work is included in numerous private European and American collections. Vergara was born, raised and currently resides in New York City,

Derick Whitson works within the realms of photography, video, and performance, earning his MFA at Columbia University & BFA from Columbus College of Art & Design. His work has been published in Miami New Times, Huffington Post, and The Advocate Magazine. Whitson has participated in many residencies across the US, including programs at Mass MoCA, The Fountainhead (Miami), and the AICAD/New York Studio Residency Program. His work has been exhibited at The Studio Museum in Harlem and The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins. Originally from Mansfield, Ohio, Whitson currently lives & works in New York City.

Damarys Alvarez is an artist/photographer and graduate of Parsons the New School For Design with a BFA in photography. Originally from Miami, Florida and strongly connected with her Cuban heritage, Damarys attributes travel to Cuba to be a crucial element to the work she makes, not only to further her own connection to her homeland but to illustrate the existing diasporic themes the island continues to possess. Influenced by her grandmother, a life-long seamstress. Alvarez grew up observing the sewing machine as a tool of strength, labor, and efficiency for the working class using photography as an ever-evolving expansive thread of separation and diaspora. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Jerry Lim is an artist that works with photography, text, sound and video. His recent projects include photographs made at a North Korean school in Japan, the fading lighting district in New York City, 3D rendered images of wild and GMO salmon interactions, and work based on the colonization and division of Korea. Lim received his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in sculpture and MFA at Cornell University. He is a recipient of grants from the Cornell Council for the Art, the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and the East Asia Program a Cornell University. Most recently, he was the recipient of a Light Work 2018 grant in photography. Lim is also an accomplished experimental guitarist having performed at venues such as Roulette, The Stone and Carnegie Hall.


D’Angelo Lovell Williams received his BFA in Photography at Memphis College of Art and his MFA in Art Photography at Syracuse University. His work has been exhibited at The Mint Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, The Pingyao International Photography Festival in Pingyao, China, Black Box gallery in Portland, Oregon and The Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado, as well as two solo exhibitions at Higher Pictures. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times by Roberta Smith and featured in Ain’t Bad, Dazed Digital, W magazine, Out Magazine, Newspaper Magazine, Strange Fire Collective, The Ones We Love, It’s Nice That, and VICE. A 2018 alumni of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture residency program, D’Angelo is a Critical Mass Top 50 winner, the winner of the PDN Photo Annual student category, and a finalist of the 2018 Magenta’s Flash Forward. Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, he currently lives and works in New York City and Los Angeles.

Tiffany Smith is an interdisciplinary artist from the Caribbean diaspora who creates photographic portraits, site responsive installations, user engaged experiences, and assemblages focused on identity, representation, cultural ambiguity, and displacement. Smith received a BFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design and an MFA in Photo/Video from SVA. Her work has been exhibited at MassArt, St. John’s University, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The National Gallery of Jamaica, Photo NOLA in New Orleans among others. She has presented public art installations in Newark Penn Station through The Gateway Project and Marcus Garvey Park during Flux Art Fair.. Recent solo exhibitions include The Wassaic Project, Recess Assembly, and Montserrat College of Art. Smith is a 2018 recipient of NYFA Artist Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Work.

Ruben Ramirez is a Dominican-American photographer born and raised in New York City.The son of working-class Dominican immigrants who migrated to the U.S. in the mid 1960’s, his passion for photography led him to pursue a BA in Liberal Arts from City College. In 2007, he was awarded the Mortimeyer-Hays Traveling fellowship for his photo documentation project on Child Labor Exploitation in the Dominican Republic. Ramirez has a predilection for social documentary photography as well as contemporary street photography, developing in the process a large body of work consisting of images of daily life scenes in the Dominican Republic as well as Latino and African American communities of New York. He currently resides in Spanish Harlem, New York

Roger Richardson is a photographer based in the Hudson Valley, New York. In 2017, he received his BFA in photography from SUNY Purchase. Working in a documentary style, his work primarily involves engaging in communities, focusing on the everyday. Richardson aspires not to use photography as a way to fully understand the world, but as an entryway in which he can honestly connect with the world around him.


Aaron Turner uses photography to pursue personal stories of people of color in two main areas of the US; the Arkansas and Mississippi Deltas. Aaron also uses the view camera to create still life studies on the topics of race, history, blackness as material, and the role of the black artist. He received his MA from Ohio University and an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts/Rutgers University. Turner participated in the 2018 Light Work Artists-in-Residence program at Syracuse University.


Fellowship Exhibition Curator: Alexander Campos is a museum professional with over 30 years of experience working in the NYC cultural arena, including tenures at the Whitney Museum of American Art, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Brooklyn Museum, the The Bronx Museum of the Arts, and as executive director of the Jamaica Arts Center, and The Center for Book Arts.


Nueva Luz Curator: Eva Mayhabal Davis is a collaborator. Working with artists and creatives in the production of exhibitions, texts, and events. As a curator and cultural liaison, her focus is on supporting multifaceted incubation spaces by mediating conversations, visibility, and production among artists, objects, and audiences.