2015-16 Research Fellows


Joestine Con-ui is an artist based in Los Angeles and a MFA candidate at the California Institute of the Arts in Photography and Media. He has resided in many places before California, Chicago being his most recent past; he has also lived in the Philippines, the island of Saipan, the state of Ohio, and the city of Firenze. Because of his experience and deep relationship with the Filipino diaspora, as well as his studies at Oberlin College where he majored in Sociology and Visual Arts, he has gained multiple perspectives on contemporary globalization that has become the source of his exploration as an artist. By utilizing the lessons learned from his life and studies, he is able to bridge sociological and art historical lenses by finding parallels in methodologies and concepts to convey his ideas of today.

Abigail Han is an artist originally from Singapore who currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She makes experimental films and uses performance, video, installation, and drawing in her work. Han’s artistic trajectories create a space for the negotiation between political and domestic spheres within the imagined nation-state of Singapore. Han’s work deals with obscuring the line between the private and the public through the investigation of ideas revolving around language, national identity and the family. She began her interest in these ideas as a result of making work about the social fabric of Singapore from a distance. This distance created a chasm in her social identity allowing her to move freely between Eastern and Western cultures, but finding no ease in either. She finds this transgressive space extremely productive for her practice. Her work has been exhibited in Singapore, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Hong Kong, Paris, and the Czech Republic. She recently graduated with an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and has a BA in Cinema and Media Studies from Carleton College, Northfield, MN.

Johanna Hedva is a fourth-generation Los Angelena on her mother’s side, and, on her father’s side, the granddaughter of a woman who escaped from North Korea. Hedva makes novels, plays, performances, poetry, essays, autohagiography, theory, myth, and magic. Hedva’s work is informed by queer, feminist, anti-white-supremacist, neurodivergent, crip, disability, and decolonial politics, advocacy, and critical study. Hedva makes a living as a witch and by doing political activism with a nonprofit. As a 2015-2016 fellow with at land’s edge, she began the project of “Sick Woman Theory” and “In Defense of De-Persons,” under the mentorship of Fred Moten.

Kyle Johanson received a BA in Reconciliation Studies and Art from Bethel University in 2009; he has also studied at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the Magee College at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. He is currently pursuing an MFA at the California Institute of the Arts. Working across media, his studio practice has centered on identity politics related to the social construction of race through the performance of whiteness. Johanson creates works that critically examine structures and systems that are oppressive in nature. Presently, this work has guided him to investigate sublime constructions of identity, value, time, and language through the locus of trauma and memory. Johanson works to create spaces for discourse and engagement in tandem with a robust studio discipline. This expanded practice includes collaborative and critical engagement with many people and places. From 2010-2014, Johanson worked as a Creative Arts Specialist for The LAB, an arts and wellness program of the St. Paul public school system for young people affected by the prison industrial complex. He has worked with activists, theorists, and artists in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States. His work has been in exhibitions, collections, and publications in Chicago, Les Cayes, Los Angeles, Provincetown, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York and Derry/Londonderry.

Andre Keichian’s artistic practice is rooted in their interest in conjuring alternative modes of education, which aim to decenter institutionalized structures. They believe this exists through an intersection of accessible, shared learning, critical pedagogy and decolonial thought. Their work is a play between the individual and the collective, the tangible and the ephemeral, proximity and distance, and humor and melancholia. Their personal history as a queer, trans, Argentine-American operates as an indexical relationship that expands to interconnected subjects. Their array of work serves as open-ended experiments; investigations, which seek and explore queer abstraction through materialism. In their newest configurations, bodies collide with similar bodies; they are flipped, distorted, mutated and transformed into biomorphic forms, also referencing questions of ecology. Their art practice continually summons collaboration, as their work is grounded in themes of relation and community. By making work that is dependent on bodies as always already plural, they guarantee that they never work alone. Keichian is an MFA student in Photography & Media at the California Institute of the Arts.

Gelare Khoshgozaran: I am an artist, a writer, translator and a .com. I explore exile as queer space, lag as queer temporality, non-citizenship and statelessness as forms of queer resistance. Born and raised in Tehran, and living in Los Angeles, I envision the city as an imaginary space between asylum as “the protection granted by a nation to someone who has left their native country as a political refugee” and the more dated meaning of the word, “an institution offering shelter and support to people who are mentally ill.” My practice is about the displacement and disorientation of bodies as well as objects, sounds, words, and images due to political circumstances and colonialist models of circulation. Through various translational processes, my work subsumes the violence, restraints and constructions of language in the formation of the “transnational”. In my performances and videos, a constant perversion of pop culture elements becomes utilized for subversive engagement and critical dialogue.

Cinthia Marisol Lozano: I am neither from here nor there, a border baby because my mother carried me in her womb as she crossed multiple borders. I am a first generation Californian. The art I embody is informed through my exploration and possibly ambiguous notions of nativity, health, community, environment and impact. The actions I participate in and the workshops I teach represent the connection I am building between the past, present and future selves, within community and culture. My ancestors and my interactions with the world continue to guide me in my understanding of being indígena. I am constantly materializing my existence in this world as an artistic agitator and healer. Found and ephemeral materials serve as my tools in empowering and healing others. I seek to construct inventive actions of resistance against patriarchy, hetero-normative culture, and capitalism to insure the self-preservation of people of color and the earth.

Marie Mingoia: I was born and raised in Southern California in the outskirts of Los Angeles, traveling between the suburbs and the desert. I am currently using my work to explore ritual and family. Ritual, has a way of making sense of uncertainty. Like many of my peers, I did not grow up in a home deeply rooted in religion. With no concrete map of how to navigate my way through loss, grief, and other emotional wounds, I’m attempting to re-imagine ritual for a more personal context. Using labor and repetitive action as meditation, I am creating video and woven sculptures attempting to answer, what amount of emotional weight can be placed on or in an object? Does a ritual practice have to carry history to become valid or successful? Can we create our own rituals to assist in self identification? While exploring these questions I find I am influenced by my curiosity in cultural anthropology, magic, witchcraft, and religion.  I received my BFA from California Institute of the Arts in May of 2015 and am currently living and working in Los Angeles, California.

Brittany Neimeth: Originally from the outskirts of Philadelphia, I currently live and work in Los Angeles where I am a second year MFA candidate in Photography and Media at the California Institute of the Arts. Currently, I’m exploring the objectification of flesh and the fetishization of my body through performative actions that I document. I am also exploring the trauma, repetition, and memory of mental illness in relation to my family using photography, audio, video, and writing. I am interested in exploring intersectional feminism and striving towards inclusivity in communities, at large, and the art community, specifically. I want to help design and cultivate an environment where we eliminate some of the elitism of the art world and create an accessible space for research, mentoring and art-making. Academia and art education have shaped my life, but I recognize the flaws in an institutionalized and private education system that demands recipients to be wealthy or willing to take on large amounts of debt. I aim to develop a space that requires neither and enriches the lives of the individuals who participate.

Shruti Bala Purkayastha is an artist, organizer, and healer working towards visions and practices of liberation. She draws on methodologies of the Theater of the Oppressed, Sharon Bridgeforth’s “Finding Voice,” intersections of re-generative somatics, storytelling, and popular education for intersectional movement to build towards collective liberation. Currently, Purkayastha is focused on writing mythologies, making spaces for community care and storytelling, and creating work rooted in practices of solidarity and visions of freedom.

Xiomara Rios is a Latina painter and photographer born and raised in Los Angeles. Her paintings involve abstract themes and she works mostly in acrylic. She has exhibited her paintings at the Mushashino Art University in Japan. Most recently she has been working on a street photography book that explores the city of Los Angeles at night. She received her BA in Studio Art from the California State University, Channel Islands.

Rose G. Salseda is a native Los Angeleno and a PhD Candidate in Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. She specializes in the politics of race in the United States and the visual art of Mexican American, Chicana/o, and African American artists. Currently, she is conducting research and writing for her dissertation, The Visual Art Legacy of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, which will provide an in-depth look at artworks made in response to the 1991 police beating of Rodney King and the 1992 uprising. Salseda is a 2015—2016 Dissertation Fellow at the Center for Mexican American Studies and the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at UT Austin.

Penelope Uribe-Abee is from the neighborhood of El Sereno in Los Angeles and is a current undergraduate student in Art at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her artistic upbringing through community arts guides her career as a maker and educator. She currently holds the position of Museum Educator at the Fowler Museum at UCLA and is also an instructor and staff at the Echo Park Film Center. Her work primarily revolves around identity and family. She has shown work internationally and locally at the REDCAT, LA Film Forum, and The Echo Park Film Center.

Yajaira Villarreal: Yangna, Los Angeles, born and raised, first generation, woman of color, and survivor. Villarreal’s difficult journey to self and community healing developed after dropping out of college. Their desire to challenge patriarchy, misogyny, anti-blackness, white supremacy, transphobia, and capitalism while co-creating alternative realities led them to grow edible and medicinal gardens, make plant medicine, practice cycling, yoga, and grassroots organizing, and experience heartache. An avid cyclist in Yangna, Villarreal might be seen flipping off any person that harasses them on the street, singing to the river, or riding to community events. Earlier this year they, along with eleven other women, queer and trans people of color, went on a 150 mile bike tour with the collective LA Rooted. Additionally, they have been active in a work exchange program at People’s Yoga in East LA and teaching yoga at Casa Solidaria Del Sur.