Spaces' Timely Projects Illuminate Experiences of Refugees, Immigrants in Cleveland

click to enlarge Spaces' Timely Projects Illuminate Experiences of Refugees, Immigrants in Cleveland
José Carlos Teixeira, On Exile (2017), courtesy of the artist

Debuting this weekend, Spaces’ latest projects share themes of identity, displacement and otherness. These new exhibitions include José Carlos Teixeira’s On Exile, the United Re:Public of the African Diaspora (URe:AD) Press’ URe:AD TV and a series of video works in Spaces’ Vault curated by Spaces’ own Marilyn Ladd-Simmons.

In celebration of its new projects and exhibitions, Spaces hosts an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18.

“Both projects not only offer a learning opportunity, but will also promote much-needed dialogue for those in our region who are concerned with issues connected to the refugee experience and black identity,” says Spaces executive director Christina Vassallo. “These projects would not have been possible without the involvement of Clevelanders who were willing to participate by sharing their stories, openly and honestly.”

Part of Spaces’ R&D Program, José Carlos Teixeira’s On Exile deals with the program’s theme of “migration.” On Exile explores the refugee experience through interviews with displaced individuals and families from Middle Eastern and African Muslim communities living in Cleveland. This experimental video essay asks, “How can we represent experience without speaking on behalf of others?”

Teixeira was born in Porto, Portugal, where he received his BFA from the School of Fine Arts at the University of Porto, before earning his MFA in Interdiscplinary Studio from the University of California Los Angeles in 2006. Teixeira often incorporates multiple voices and subjects in his collaborative, participatory projects.

URe:AD Press’ exhibition is part of a residency at Spaces from June 8 to Aug. 19. A print and media-based collective, Sharita Towne (Portland, OR) and Shani Peters (Brooklyn, NY) share messages of Afro-Diasporic love, unity and empowerment through public workshops and creative exchange programs around the world. URe:AD TV is the collective’s largest video exchange program to date. The project originated as part of the Public Access/Open Networks show at BRIC Media Arts in Brooklyn, NY, and will travel to Portland, Oakland and New Orleans after Cleveland.

During their residency at Spaces, URe:AD Press asks, “Can art facilitate the exchange of these global lessons of empowerment between various Afro-Diasporic contexts? How can black people instrumentalize these exchanges in the U.S. to secure equity? Have the contribution of cities, like Cleveland, to the American black identity, been minimized by the media in service of the dominant cultural narratives of larger cities?”

The Vault features whys-and-wherefores, a collection of videos by Daniel Rothman (Venice, CA), Ricardo Iamuuri Robinson (Pittsburgh) and Cameron Granger (Columbus). Collectively, these provocative works question entitlement and erasure, as they relate to racially-motivated identity, violence and gentrification. These works are comprised of footage connected to the shooting of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, who were chased by and shot at 137 times by Cleveland police officers.

Spaces current exhibitions and projects remain on view through Oct. 13.
(Spaces) 2900 Detroit Ave., 216-621-2314,

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