Summer Open Studios 2022 {American Academy in Rome]

On Thursday, June 9, 2022, 6:00-9:00pm, the American Academy in Rome will showcase the work of its Rome Prize winners and Italian Fellows with Summer Open Studios 2022. Participating artists will discuss their paintings, films, and musical compositions, as well as their research into Italian needlecraft traditions, carbon footprints in cultural heritage, the conservation of modern art, land-use policies, and homoerotic seduction in villa gardens. The evening will also include live performances, film screenings, and a temporary sculptural installation in the Cortile. The current Academy exhibition “Regeneration” will be open for viewing.

Las nietas de Nonó (Mapenzi Chibale Nonó and Mulowayi Iyaye Nonó, from Puerto Rico)—recipients of the Rome Prize in Visual Arts—and William Villalongo (whose father hails from Puerto Rico)—recipient of the Jules Guerin/Harold M. English Rome Prize are among the participants. The event takes place at the McKim, Mead & White Building (located at 5 Via Angelo Masina, Rome, Italy).

The American Academy in Rome will showcase the work of its Rome Prize and Italian Fellows with the 2022 Open Studios. The event provides access to the inner workings of Fellows’ projects in studios and spaces throughout the McKim, Mead & White Building. The evening will feature installations, collaborations, and performances in architecture, conservation, design, landscape architecture, literature, musical composition, and visual arts. Visitors will encounter work that highlights some of the issues fueling Fellows’ investigations this spring, including Blackness, diaspora, displacement, eroticism, food, land use policies, storytelling, urban agriculture, voice, water, education in the digital age, and doing nothing.

Participating in Open Studios in June are: Manuele CeruttiLas Nietas de NonóAutumn Knight, and William Villalongo (visual arts); Germane BarnesMireille Roddier and Keith Mitnick (architecture); Michael LeePhoebe Lickwar, and Valerio Morabito (landscape architecture); Mary Ellen Carroll and Jennifer Pastore (design); Carol Mancusi-Ungaro and Sarah Nunberg (historic preservation and conservation); Valzhyna Mort (literature); and Igor Santos and Tina Tallon (musical composition).

This summer iteration is open to the public. It will also be channeled through social media to chronicle the excitement of the evening for viewers around the world. The event marks the culmination of a dynamic year of creativity and collaboration at the Academy, and an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the Academy’s 2021–22 Rome Prize winners and Italian Fellows.

Project descriptions:

Las nietas de Nonó—“Foodtopia: después de todo territorio”

Our proposal is a multimedia project titled Foodtopia: después de todo territorio. Through self-referenced fiction, we will explore the relationship between memory and food, as well as spirituality and healing. What transformations associated with food and spirituality challenge Black migrants in their new contexts? Both food and spiritual rites are important expressions of Afro-centric identities and, as a result of forced migratory processes, can change or find new adjustments and forms of expression. This piece requires looking into a diasporic landscape-territory mediated by the heritage, memory, and identity of those who are not able to return to their place of origin.

William Villalongo—”In Search of Black Atlantis”

In Rome, I plan to continue my research among sources I’ve been engaging with through reproductions. My current projects would benefit from observational drawing and photography of architectural friezes found in the city including motifs from Roman mythology and the decorative grotesque, both so prominent in Rome’s narrative. A focal point for me would be Bernini’s Fontana del Moro, in which the grotesque and the myth of Triton are held within a Black subject. The artist added a Moor Triton figure to the fountain in 1653 as demands for the transatlantic slave trade became more aggressive in the Americas. Bernini could not have predicted that the dark journey of the Middle Passage with so many Black lives lost at sea would find its way into African American folklore through the Black Atlantis. Yet, the relationships between myth and migration are undeniably linked. The artist’s sculptures from Fontana del Moro will be used as image and metaphor in new cut-paper and collage works. [. . .]

[Photto above by David Moses: The photograph of Las Nietas de Nonó (Mapenzi Chibale Nonó and Mulowayi Iyaye Nonó). Courtesy of OUT OF ORDER Magazine, New York.]

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