National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) is thrilled to announce today, during National Arts in Education Week, its fall exhibition curated by Project for Empty Space’s Jasmine Wahi titled Education as the Practice of Freedom. The exhibition, featuring works by 20 YoungArts alumni from 1987 through 2018, will open to the public with a reception on October 9 and remain on view through Miami Art Week. Examining ideas on transgressive education based on bell hooks’s book Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, artists working in collage, installation, painting, print, mixed media as well as sculpture and virtual reality seek to address the phases of transgressive education and prompt contemporary and forward-thinking discourse on the subject.


“I have always been impressed by the type of mentorship that YoungArts provides for young artists. It cultivates an environment that allows young people who already possess so much creative talent to push forward into a new realm of possibility,” says curator Jasmine Wahi, whose own practice focuses on female empowerment, social structures and intersectional identity. “I thought prompting YoungArts alumni to take a critical look at the idea of education was important given that the organization is dedicated to creating a space for young artists to realize their creative talents.”


hooks’s book is a critical reflection on pedagogical structures through the critical lens of understanding intersectional identities. The artists in the exhibition used this as a point of departure for a diverse array of interpretations that discuss education as a practice of freedom versus a process of oppression, explore the sentiment that learning can happen beyond the confines of a structured environment, investigate the mechanics of learning and unlearning, question the absorption of established doctrines and re-contextualize what constitutes spaces and places of pedagogy.


Participating YoungArts alumni are Alyssa Ackerman (2015 Winner in Visual Arts), Priscilla Aleman (2009 Winner in Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Salimatu Amabebe (2010 Winner in Photography and Visual Arts), Tracey Bullington (2009 Winner in Visual Arts), Leo Castaneda (2006 Winner in Visual Arts), Amal Haddad (2018 Winner in Visual Arts), Kevin Hopkins (2018 Winner in Visual Arts), William Jordan (1987 Winner in Writing & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Lynn Kim (2010 Winner in Visual Arts), Talya Krupnick (2017 Winner in Visual Arts), Sanna Legan (2018 Winner in Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Rachel London (2016 Winner in Visual Arts), Mev Luna (2006 Winner in Visual Arts), Ameya Okamoto (2018 Winner in Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Luz Orozco (2015 Winner in Visual Arts), Natalie Preston (2016 Winner in Visual Arts), Clara Schoenbeck (2017 Winner in Photography and 2018 Winner in Design Arts), Juniel Solis (2018 Winner in Visual Arts), Malaika Temba (2014 Winner in Visual Arts), Cornelius Tulloch (2016 Winner in Design Arts and Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts)


About Jasmine Wahi

Jasmine Wahi is a curator, activist, and the founder and co-director of Project for Empty Space (PES). Her practice predominantly focuses on issues of female empowerment, complicating binary structures within social discourses, and exploring multipositional cultural identities through the lens of intersectional feminism. In 2010, Wahi co-founded Project for Empty Space, a not-for-profit nomadic organization that creates multidisciplinary art exhibitions and programming that encourages social dialogue, education and systemic change through the support of both artists and communities. In 2015, Wahi joined Rebecca Jampol to open a brick and mortar gallery for PES Newark, NJ. Though she does not consider herself to be an artist, Wahi has organized numerous interventions and happenings as part of her social activism. She will be serving as the co-chair for the College Art Association’s “Day of Panels” for The Feminist Art Project (TFAP) in 2018, organizing a day of intersectional feminist-based performances, films, and conversations.

In addition to her other work, Wahi a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in the MFA Fine Arts department, where she teaches a seminar on intersectional feminism and art making praxis.  She is a current board member of SPEAK Mentorship, a former board member of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC), and instructor for the Girls Educational Mentoring Services (GEMS) group. Wahi’s curatorial work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Vogue India, Hyperallergic, Whitewall Magazine, ArtNet and ArtNews to name a few.

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