Local Ephemera is a parallel world but what is taking place is very much about ‘HERE’. What makes us aware of the in-between spaces, the slippage, around and beyond the boundaries?
Objects that seem to naturally belong in Local Ephemera because they are outrageous or bizarre to me, e.g. an ante-bellum topsy-turvy doll inspire the 'field drawings'. The objects allude to connotations and contradictions that turn ideas and issues inside out.
The technical drawing format that I use seems to lend clarity where there is none. The language of the mechanical elements is combined with the action of the subjects. The Sensation Code, a map legend comprised of nail polish chips adds to or further implies a narrative direction. The combination of these elements (subject, adjectives and actions) together creates intention. In Specimen from Local Ephemera: Tension Springs, the blue print symbol for a tension spring elucidates the action of the figures bursting out of the white ooze.
In Specimen from Local Ephemera: Drab Hanger, double-sided me dangles from a plastic hanger fixture that is made to adhere to cinder block walls. Drab by L’Oreal, is the name of the olive green nail polish color located in the Sensation Code.
Specimen from Local Ephemera: Castle Nut and Drama Queen is an amalgam of an orisha (that has always been depicted as a transgender individual in the Caribbean and Latin America) and me. A castle nut is a traditional locking device configuration and Drama Queen is a fabulous fuchsia colored nail-polish by L’Oreal.
In Specimen from Local Ephemera: Resistance with Black Ooze the primordial ooze indicates creation and destruction simultaneously like a wound on the surface of the human body. ‘Pus’ appears in the wound because of the damage but it is also the beginning of healing. Tarzan action figures emerge out of the ooze, taking part in the ‘process’.
Artist Bio / CV
Nicole Awai is a multi media artist who lives and works in New York City. Awai received a Masters degree in Multi-Media Art from the University of South Florida and is a graduate of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Awai is also a former artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Artist in Residence in the ceramics department at Hunter College and the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.
Awai has exhibited nationally and internationally. Awai's work has been included in exhibitions such as Greater New York: New Art in New York Now at PS1/Moma in 2000 and Open House at the Brooklyn Museum in 2004. Prints and Processes at the Salvador Dali Museum in Florida in 1999 was survey exhibition of contemporary printmaking processes from the late 19th century to the present. Work from Awai's series "A Currency for the Americas" was included in the exhibition. In 1998 Awai received a Puffin Grant for this series.
In 2003, Awai was invited to create work in Albisola, Italy for the Biennale of Ceramic in Contemporary Art. In 2005 Awai was invited to speak about her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art as featured artist in the Initial Public Offerings series. Recent exhibitions included in "d’Asie d’Afrique" at Artist Commune in Kowloon, Hong Kong, Tropicalisms: Subversions of Paradise at the Jersey City Museum and Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art at the Brooklyn Museum.
Awai's feature "E-mail from HERE" in Small Axe: A Journal of Caribbean Criticism, 24, Winter 2007/2008 inspired the panel discussion "Conversations from Here" at Dartmouth College. Panelist included Krista Thompson, Christopher Cozier, Jerry Philogene, Richard Fung and Nicole Awai.
Awai has been featured in such publications as the Nka, BOMB magazine, NY Arts, Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas, New York Times and the International Review of African American Art. Awai will be artist in residence at the Kohler Center for Arts, summer 2008.