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Ohm… call it meditation through art. Simply take a few deep, purifying breaths, then soak up the artistic explosion that is “Alone / Together: A Visual Meditation on Our Time”.

The Queens art scene is back and bursting with creative talent, and ART BreakOUT, a platform for underrepresented and self-taught artists, was eager to present “Alone / Together” – its second exhibition in an ongoing series – hosted by The Local NY, in Long Island City. The exhibition is visible until August 29.

So sit back and enjoy an eclectic range of conversational stimulating multimedia offerings by over 20 artists, spanning continents, cultures and generations.

“In a year characterized by uncertainty and despair, many of us have found ourselves alone, yearning to be together. Several of the works on display are a direct response to the scourge of COVID-19, while others – shaped earlier – address universal issues such as alienation, displacement, trauma, healing, coexistence and rebirth ” , said Co-Commissioner Lois Stavsky.

Various masterpieces include lyrical abstract paintings by Queens-based Bengali artist Kaiser Kamal; fascinating photographs by Jackson Heights-based Jessica Bruah; politically charged works of art merging images and texts by Corona-based multidisciplinary artist Issa Ibrahim; cutouts elegantly rendered by artist Mor of Ridgewood; popular narrative art by Forest Hills multimedia artist Danielle Charette; and enchanting designs in bright colors by Elvin Flores, creator of LIC-A.

Also featured are striking pieces from other passionate attendees from Queens and beyond, including Jackson Heights Co-Curator and Resident Bonnie Astor, Rachel Alban, Barbara Bailey, Isabella Blanco, Ryan Castrillo, Bishwajit Chowdhury, Michael Cuomo , Ruddro Md Ayudh Jahangir, Alma Fredousy Leya, Shoshanna Malett, Malhecho, Dani Reyes Mozeson, Sara Ching Mozeson, Riya Namai Kalita Mukul, Tara Murray, Michael Poncé, Fefa Românova, James Fischer Smith, Susan Spangenberg and Shameem Subrana.

After suffering a series of traumatic events, Issa Ibrahim found himself institutionalized at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in 1990. The graduate of the High School of Art and Design, who studied at the School of Visual Arts and Art Students League, told QNS: “It was there that I found the Oasis of Healing, The Living Museum, an artistic rehabilitation program where I took back my life and found meaning as an artist, musician. , writer, filmmaker, activist and artist in residence for 25 years.

The exhibition “Alone / Together: A Visual Meditation on Our Times” is on display at Local NY, Long Island City, until August 29. (Photo courtesy of ART BreakOUT)
The exhibition “Alone / Together: A Visual Meditation on Our Times” is on display at Local NY, Long Island City, until August 29. (Photo courtesy of ART BreakOUT)

Ibrahim, who recently co-organized the “Outside / Outsider” exhibition at the Local Project Art Space in Long Island City, sells his works on the prestigious online platforms Saatchi, Artsy and Artlifting. He and his partner, artist Susan Spangenberg, also have an Etsy store, Issues Gallery, which offers more affordable and original artwork and prints.

After a controversial court battle, Ibrahim won his release from Creedmoor in 2009. His experience in the system led him to write “The Hospital Always Wins: A Memoir”.

The book has the distinction of being the first published work of an African American written behind the walls of an asylum, and has been met with very favorable reviews leading to interviews on NPR and other media, the press. international and reporting, including in Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine, according to the artist.

“[The curators’] refined tastes, mixed with a shrewd urban sensibility, create interesting performances with insightful dialogues, ”he noted. “I hope to continue to challenge preconceptions and prejudices in society, fight stigma, expose the realities of our broken mental health system, and explore how openness can help respect people with psychiatry and those with psychiatric illnesses. survivors who are our fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, friends, neighbors and ourselves.

In her memorable creation, titled “Zoomies,” arts activist Bonnie Astor uses mixed media, such as acrylic with computer parts.

She has just completed a public art installation, “Life is a Galaxy,” in Long Island City, and her spheres can be seen in the flower beds of the Altice Building on Jackson Street in Long Island City.

Astor’s work has been chosen by non-profit organizations for projects of empowerment, education and access to health care for women. She is an Art Specialist for AHRC New York City, an organization that offers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities a wide range of programs, services and supports tailored to meet their specific needs.

Mor’s art conveys yet another perspective on life: “I focused on the idea of ​​thresholds, shores, openings and windows. The job for me was to create – visually and mentally – windows and spaces where there were none. “

You can ponder this message when viewing “Window # 1” (28 ”x 36” – hand-cut paper, spray paint, wheat paste on wood, 2021) at the “Alone / Together” exhibit.

“I thought of the sentence of the writer Rebecca Solnit, ‘The extent of uncertainty’, and how, in not knowing, there is a space of possibility, which certainty cannot provide,” Mor said. “How, despite the anxiety and fear, which come with uncertainty, with this horizon comes the possibility of a new dawn.”

Ryan Castrillo uses acrylic paint, ink and paper, as well as digital art, using the Procreate program.

He told QNS that his work, “Untitled”, which deals with themes of loneliness and isolation, was inspired by Japanese topographic maps, and that the yellow variant “impressed conservatives.”

Representing “a solitary skeleton in urban clothes, alone in the cold streets of Manhattan”, another piece, entitled “Alone in the city”, is partly inspired by urban graffiti.

The expressive works of Queens-based artist Ryan Castrillo are now on display in the “Alone / Together” exhibition at LIC. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Castrillo)
The expressive works of Queens-based artist Ryan Castrillo are now on display in the “Alone / Together” exhibition at LIC. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Castrillo)

“Much of my work is about expression and experimentation,” noted Castrillo. “It’s less of a fully realized destination than a journey of strokes and lines and splashes, with a sort of cathartic release.”

Although a human rights and immigration lawyer by profession, Shoshanna Malett has an artistic side.

“I have taken pictures all my life. My images include nature and people, especially faces, where I try to capture the beauty and uniqueness of each person, ”said Malett.

Malett submitted a photograph she took during the COVID-19 pandemic that describes different aspects of “what we went through.”

“The one on display is a photograph of a ball gown suitable for a ball that was canceled by the Department of Education,” said Malett. “The high school students struggled. I am delighted to be a part of this exhibit and for people to see the beauty and resilience of New York high school students.

This “pandemic” photo of a ball gown adapted for a prom canceled by the Department of Education was taken by Queens photographer Shoshanna Malett. (Photo courtesy of Shoshanna Malett)

Malett said she enjoyed being an artist based in Queens.

“There is no better place for an immigration lawyer and photographer than in Queens,” said Malett. “There is always an image to be captured showing our diversity as humans and the richness of culture.”

The Local NY is located at 1302 44th Ave. in Long Island City. It is easily accessible via the E, M, G and 7 trains to Court Square.