Altar: The Raising of a Colonized Child
Jana Lynne Umipig
Camille Hoffman with Jana Lynne Umipig
Sunday, October 28, 2018 at False Flag from 2pm to 4pm
Altar: Re-memberings of a Colonized Child | Ag Pada Tayo - We are the Same
Altar: The Raising of a Colonized Child is a multi-media play that pays homage to the relearning of spiritual practices by women who were born in the US and have ancestral backgrounds that are indigenous to another land. Uplifting those who have maintained spiritual practices crucial to survival in the face of the cultural erasure and oppression of migrant peoples. These truths are told through the raising of a child by her grandmother.
Altar speaks to the corporeal relation of a young woman to her grandmother, and the notion that our ancestors inhabit our physical selves. The body is an Altar carrying remnants: fragments of ancestral being that are honored by recalling the memories of exchange between the young woman and her grandmother.
Written and Conceptualized by: Jana Lynne (JL) Umipig
Choreographer: Afaliah Tribune
Music: Blessing Ritual by Shant
Jana Lynne (JL) Umipig creates transformative artistic experiences. She has dedicated her life to the use of art as a medium for healing, education, understanding, empowerment, and connection.
JL’s education is rooted in classical and physical theatre: she received formal training from New York University, The Claire Trevor School of the Arts at The University of California, Irvine and The Academia Dell' Arte in Arrezzo, Italy. Collaborative and experimental, JL’s practice addresses human spirituality, human rights advocacy, art therapy, and healing connected to the development of her work around "For the Movement Theatre" and "Theatre as Spiritual Practice."
Camille Hoffman (b. 1987, Chicago, IL) earned an MFA from Yale University (2015), a BFA from California College of the Arts (2009), and was a recipient of the Carol Schlosberg Memorial Prize for excellence in painting from Yale University, a National Endowment for the Arts scholarship, a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for research in Spain, and the Van Lier Fellowship from the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). She has exhibited her work throughout the United States and in Europe, in exhibitions including Pieceable Kingdom at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY (2018), Lincoln Center, New York, NY (2017), Times Square, New York, NY (2017), Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT (2015), Nuit Blanche arts festival, Paris, France (2015), and Espai Cultural Biblioteca Azorín, Valencia, Spain (2008). Current exhibitions include Excelsior: Ever Upward, Ever Afloat at the Queens Museum (through fall 2019) and Rockabye My Bedrock Bones at False Flag Projects in Long Island City, NY (Through Nov 4, 2018). Hoffman has been an artist-in-residence in numerous programs including Wave Hill, Bronx, NY (2017), QueenSpace, Long Island City, NY (2016-17), Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY (2017), and Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School through the Yale University Office of New Haven and State Affairs, New Haven, CT (2015). Hoffman has also worked for over a decade as an arts educator and community organizer in Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, New Haven, Brooklyn, and Queens. She currently lives and works in New York, NY.
About the exhibition:
CAMILLE HOFFMAN || Rockabye My Bedrock Bones
September 21 - November 4
False Flag proudly presents Camille Hoffman’s first solo New York gallery show — Rockabye My Bedrock Bones.
Beachcombers, a 1956 painting by Hoffman’s late grandmother, hangs at the show’s heart — in acknowledgement of its role as the exhibition’s catalyst. As Hoffman puts it: “I developed this installation thinking about both my body and my landscapes as vessels of creative inheritance.” With her grandmother, Shoshannah (1921-1998), as lodestar, Hoffman reconfigures the gallery into a site of personal archaeology, expanding her landscape work in a matrilineal excavation. This conceptual approach is most strikingly applied to the previously all-white gallery walls: painted “the colors of my skin throughout the seasons and under varying degrees of light and pressure, to match the sand in Shoshannah’s painting and the papers, plastics, paints of my landscapes.” These paintings cover over 3,000 square feet of wall-space in a striated palette of browns, olives, and peaches. Enfolded in an infinite, fleshy ground, “the space wears you,” as Hoffman says. Her topographical paintings read as birthmarks, extending and punctuating the tones and textures of the walls. While honest, the work is never obvious: running across the gallery floor, Hoffman forms her “dunes” from the actual tarps used while painting the walls. Detritus is not simply relocated, nor is the show a literal facsimile: there are no props, no gimmicks.
For Hoffman, “this show is an exploration of my landscape work as a form of creative and biological unearthing—an interior reinvention and reconfiguration of past ruins.” In a 1956 issue of Art in America, Shoshannah stated: "Painting, to me, is an extension of living, and interwoven into the life process, not a thing apart from it." Just as her grandmother—born Susannah S. Siporin in 1921—refashioned fragments of her given name to forge an identity of her own—adopting Shoshannah in 1943—Hoffman repurposes the physical substance of her life to similar effect. “Disposable things take on different meaning when one separates an object from its market value,” Hoffman explains. “How do I create value? Personal value, economic value—how do I support myself? I have to be resourceful. Everything matters.” By “laying claim to the space,” Hoffman forms a new economy: one in which material is measured by its inherent physical properties—a particular color, transparency, texture, visual effect or structure—rather than its transactional worth. The overlooked becomes valuable; the seemingly discardable earns respect. Hoffman’s bracingly honest approach reflects a fundamental aim of her practice: the reclamation of agency through confrontation and acknowledgement of her everyday experience.
Grounded in accumulation, personal narrative, and historical critique, Hoffman describes her practice as “a ceremony of reconfiguration and critical reflection on the themes of diaspora, domesticity, and disposability.” Composing her work with material collected from her everyday life, Hoffman’s media range from medical records, credit card offers, calendars, plastic bags, tablecloths, found photos, maps, to paint. Hoffman draws on her family’s creative legacy, along with traditional painting techniques from her academic training, employing resonant visual and historical references: Philippine weaving, Jewish folk traditions, and influential American landscape paintings of the 19th century. Recontextualizing these figurative, nostalgic, and abstract cultural fragments, Hoffman forms layered, richly-textured geographies, charting new territory that is at once surreal and familiar.
The exhibition is on view from September 21 through November 4.