Tania Bruguera Launches Bike-Based Project to Improve Ties Between Immigrants and NYC Government
The "artivist" promises to build a network of trust between both parties.
NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl and NYC Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal are joining forces with artist Tania Bruguera and activist group Mujeres en Movimiento to launch CycleNews, a new project that aims to help bridge the gap between immigrant communities in New York and the city’s government. The announcement was made today at City Hall as part of a rally for Immigrant Respect, an awareness campaign geared toward showing solidarity with immigrant populations in New York City and beyond.
CycleNews, like Immigrant Respect, is a project initiated by Immigrant Movement International, a partnership program spearheaded by the Queens Museum and Tania Bruguera in 2011. Immigrant Movement International is a long-term art project dedicated to supporting immigrant communities. The program’s first headquarters was in Corona, Queens where Mujeres en Movimiento was born as a Latina activist group that provides self-organized fitness classes, such as bicycling in the neighborhood, for community members in Corona.
Working together with Berlin-based artist collective Kollectiv Migrantas, Bruguera and Mujeres en Movimiento have implemented a strategy that involves bringing information “on essential government services to immigrant rich communities and communicate community needs back to local government” via bicycle routes throughout the city, according to NYC Mayor’s office of Immigrant Affairs. The project will also will also share picture-based materials that will center on storytelling and the immigrant experience.
Tania Bruguera, who is the very first Public Artist in Residence of New York, is an installation and performance artist who for many years has worked at the intersection of art and activism, describing her practice as Arte Útil (useful art). “The idea for CycleNews is to create a two way street where immigrant communities are able to trust the government and, equally important, the government demonstrates that it trusts the immigrant communities of New York City,” said the artist in statement sent to artnet News.
The project is a welcoming gesture that seeks to protect the rights of immigrants and undocumented peoples in New York, while clearly stating that the city’s government is behind them as well. “At a time when immigrant communities are under attack, it is more critical than ever to keep the channels of communication open and reinforce that the City of New York still has your back,” stated Nisha Agarwal. “The work of Mujeres en Movimiento to empower their neighbors and networks through information is precisely the type of inspiring community action that the City wants to uplift and support at this important moment for so many of our residents.”
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