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Migrant & Indigenous Sanctuaries: An Evening of Film & Music

Organizer: A/P/A Institute at NYU
Venue: Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU
8 Washington Mews
New York, NY 10003 United States
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Add to Calendar 04/29/2019 06:00 PM 04/29/2019 08:00 PM America/New_York Migrant & Indigenous Sanctuaries: An Evening of Film & Music More detail: https://apa.nyu.edu/event/migrant-indigenous-sanctuaries-an-evening-of-film-music/ Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, New York, NY, 10003

UPDATE: This event is sold-out, and has reached full capacity. We do not maintain waitlists for our programs. Should additional tickets become available due to cancellations, they will be automatically released on Eventbrite.

As one of the final events in the installation We Imagine Sanctuary, the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU presents an evening of Indigenous and migrant films and music. Featured artists include Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache), Shane McSauby (Gichi Wiikwedong Odawa Anishinaabek), Razelle Benally (Oglala Lakota/Diné), Génesis Mancheren Abaj (Kaqchikel), and Kenia R. Guillen. This event will be moderated migrant artists Jess X. Snow, who curated the program, and Ushka (Thanu Yakupitiyage), the A/P/A Institute at NYU 2018-19 Artist-in-Residence.

Drawing inspiration from the migratory journeys of the natural world and the power of collective imagination, We Imagine Sanctuary is a mural and sound installation, and space in which one can reflect, organize, and envision a future free of borders, family separation, and forced migration. This program will honor Indigenous and migrant visions of sanctuary and decolonization from both sides of the border.

Note on accessibility: This venue has an elevator and is accessible for wheelchair users. Restrooms are single-stall, and all gender. If you need any accommodations, please email apa.rsvp@nyu.edu.


Mino Bimaadiziwinby by Shane McSauby
A trans Anishinaabe man meets a young Anishinaabe woman who pushes him to reconnect with their culture.

Raven by Razelle Benally
A young woman overcome by grief contemplates a dark path after the painful loss of her little girl.

Isabel produced by Tierra Narrative & Génesis Mancheren Abaj, written & directed by Kenia R. Guillen
A young Salvadoran girl is disillusioned with a recent move to the suburbs of New York, where her mother works too often to spend time with her.

About the Artists

A soloist and vibrant collaborator, Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache) works across recorded albums,live performances, and filmic and artistic soundtracks.She has performed at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, among countless established and DIY venues in the US, Canada, and Europe. In 2008, Ortman founded the Coast Orchestra, an all-Native American orchestral ensemble that performed a live soundtrack to Edward Curtis’s film In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914), the first silent feature film to star an all-Native American cast.  She is also a participating artist in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Ortman lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Shane McSauby is a citizen of the Gichi Wiikwedong Odawa Anishinaabek (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians). He was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and, in 2015, received a BA in filmmaking from Grand Valley State University. In 2016, McSauby became the first Sundance Institute & Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellow for his script Mino Bimaadiziwin. As part of the fellowship, he participated in the Sundance Institute’s Native Filmmakers Lab in Santa Fe, New Mexico screened at film festivals including the Vancouver International Film Festival and Traverse City Film Festival, where his film received a Special Mention Award from Michael Moore. MsSauby is currently in a student in the MFA program in writing/directing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Oglala Lakota/Diné director and writer Razelle Benally currently resides in New Jersey. In 2017, Benally earned her undergraduate degree from the Institute of American Indian Arts, located in in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is an alum of the 2012 Sundance Film Institute Native Filmmakers Lab, as well as an awardee of the 2015 Sundance Film Institute Native Short Film Production Grant for her project I Am Thy Weapon. Primarily a narrative director, she is currently a first year MFA student in film production, focusing on directing, at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She is developing her first feature narrative film entitled Winter in Black Mesa, which has been supported by a writing development grant from Sundance Film Institute.

Kenia R. Guillen is a filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist who was born in El Salvador, and based in Brooklyn, New York. Her practice examines migration, personal histories, and memory as archive. She is interested in writing and directing independent cinema that honors the past and present, and writing personal memories of people, places, and moments to be performed where the line is blurred between fiction and nonfiction. Guillen is a co-founder of Tierra Narrative, a Central American production house dedicated to the creation of new narratives through transnational cultural production between the Central American diaspora and the homelands.

Génesis Mancheren Abaj is a Kaqchikel filmmaker and writer from Queens, New York and B’oko’, Guatemala. She is co-founder, producer, and writer for Tierra Narrative, a multimedia storytelling platform and production house dedicated to the creation of new narratives through transnational cultural production between the Central American diaspora and the homeland. She is an alum of NYU and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she studied Creative Writing and Documentary film, respectively. Génesis is one of three organizers and curators for the inaugural AICH Indigenous Creatives Festival. She is currently working on her first short film, Dólar.

Thanushka (Thanu) Yakupitiyage is a Sri Lankan-born, Thailand-raised, Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist, cultural producer, activist, and DJ who performs under the name Ushka. Her professional, political, and artistic interests focus on (im)migration. She uses writing, video, music, and audio to explore the everyday lives of brown and black communities from the Global South to the West. Yakupitiyage has worked as a storyteller and organizer in the immigrant rights movement for a decade, and now does intersectional work in climate justice. As a DJ, she’s known for her genre-blending style across electronic club and bass music that deliberately traverses borders, creating soundscapes that reflect the immigrant experience in global migrant cities.

Jess X. Snow is a queer migrant asian-canadian artist, filmmaker, and pushcart-nominated poet based in Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she is currently an MFA candidate in writing/directing at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Through film, large-scale murals, street art interventions, poetry workshops and youth art education, she works to destigmatize mental health in migrant and survivor communities. She is working to build a future where queer, migrant, and Indigenous people of color may see themselves heroic on the big screen and the city walls and then can grow up with the agency to create their own.