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Culture

ARCAthens Awards Three New Fellowships

NEW YORK – ARCAthens has awarded three new Fellowships for its 5th Virtual Residency (AVR5) hosting the cross-cultural conversation between Bronx artist Le’Andra LeSeur and Greek artist Maria Sideri, moderated by Brooklyn/Athens-based contemporary art curator Lydia Matthews. The residency will begin on March 7 and culminates with The Synopsis, a Zoom event which will be open to the public’s participation on Sunday, April 3.

ARCAthens developed the AVR program in spring 2020 with the intention to bridge the constraints imposed by the pandemic by offering opportunity and support, inviting artists and curators to challenge their isolation, freely discuss their hopes and fears, and engage in a creative and productive inter-continental dialogue during this period of social distancing and dynamic social activism.

Bronx artist Le’Andra LeSeur. Photo: Courtesy of ARCAthens

The fifth ARCAthens Virtual Residency is curated by Brooklyn/Athens-based Lydia Matthews and features two artists, one in Athens, Greece, and the other in the Bronx, New York. The Fellows’ month-long cross-cultural exchange will be posted daily on Instagram. We encourage you to follow their visual conversation daily on Instagram at @arc_athens. The Fellows would love to hear your thoughts and the platform encourages the exchange of ideas! You can also see the conversation on the ARCAthens website, in its archived documentation online: https://bit.ly/3HGyeRR.

Le’Andra LeSeur is a multidisciplinary artist whose work encompasses a range of media including video, installation, photography, painting, and performance. LeSeur’s body of work, a celebration of Blackness, queerness, and femininity, seeks to dismantle systems of power and achieve transcendence and liberation through perseverance. Through the insertion of her body and voice into her work, she provides her audience with an opportunity to contemplate themes such as identity, family, Black grief and joy, the experience of invisibility, and what it means to take up space as a queer Black woman—a rejection of the stereotypes which attempt to push these identities to the margins.

LeSeur has received several notable awards including the Leslie-Lohman Museum Artists Fellowship (2019), the Time-Based Medium Prize as well as the Juried Grand Prize at Artprize 10 (2018). LeSeur recently appeared in conversation with Marilyn Minter at the Brooklyn Museum, presented by the Tory Burch Foundation and has lectured at RISD Museum of Art, Providence, RI, and SCAD Atlanta, among others. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions at The Shed, New York, NY; Marlborough, New York, NY; Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA; A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Assembly Room, New York, NY; Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Anacostia Art Center, Washington, DC; SITELAB, Grand Rapids, MI; Arnika Dawkins, Atlanta, GA; and others. Residences include NARS Foundation, Marble House Project, and MASS MoCA. LeSeur is represented by Marlborough Gallery in New York and will have a solo showing at their Chelsea gallery in NYC in April 2022.

Brooklyn/Athens-based contemporary art curator Lydia Matthews. Photo: Courtesy of ARCAthens

Maria Sideri is an artist and researcher. Her practice involves performance, text, voice and sound and her artistic research is influenced from her background in anthropology and history of religion. Sideri has performed and exhibited at Kiev Biennale (2021), MOMus Museums (2021), Stavros Niarchos (2019), Phenomena / Φαινόμενα as a commission of State of Concept (2021), the 4th Biennale/ Greece (2013), ArtsAdmin (2014), Trouble Festival (2013) and Spill Festival (2012). Parallel to her solo practice Maria has collaborated as a performer over the last 10 years with various artists internationally: Ron Athey, Manuel Vason, Lina Lapelyte, Dora Garcia, Tino Seghal, Julie Tolentino, Tai Shani. Sideri has also been developing community and youth projects like the project Assemblages part of the Artistic Acupuncture Missions and hosted by Lieux Public of the INSITU network in Marseille (2018-9), the project Déviation (2019) with Signal Festival and CIFAS in Bruxelles and Hello World Choir (2017) with Tadamon in Cairo. Sideri has received funding from the Arts Council of England for her work Vibrant Matter/La Métachorie project (2014-6) and was awarded the ARTWORKS Fellowship in 2018 in Athens. Since March 2018, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Macedonia in the department of Applied and Visual Arts. Sideri is also part of an eco-feminist artistic network called Room to Bloom and a member of a music band called Bora-Barx.

Lydia Matthews is a Brooklyn and Athens-based curator, writer, educator/MFA Co-Director in the Fine Arts program at Parsons School of Design and founding director of the Curatorial Design Research Lab, which spans various colleges across The New School in New York City. A dual citizen of the U.S. and Greece, she trained in contemporary modern art history at University of California, Berkeley and University of London’s Courtauld Institute, and has held academic positions in New York, San Francisco, and at the University of Thessaly in Volos, Greece, where she co-taught as a Fulbright Scholar with Maria Papadimitriou and Giorgos Tzirtzilakis. Her work explores how contemporary artists, artisans and designers foster critical democratic debates and intimate community interactions in the public sphere, often in response to a variety of urgent global and local conditions in their daily lives. Matthews’ essays have appeared in numerous journals, books and exhibition catalogs, and she has lectured internationally on socially-engaged art, craft and design practices.

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