Tania Bruguera

Tania Bruguera’s Artist Residency Will Focus on NYC Immigrants

The Cuban performance artists will join city officials in an effort to connect with undocumented immigrants through art.

NEW YORK CITY: Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera will join NYC officials during a yearlong residency with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

This new position, announced by city commissioners Nisha Agarwal and Tom Finkelpearl, aims to educate undocumented residents about the IDNYC program, a free identification card that can be help by any person, documented or not, who resides in New York City. “This project provides a unique opportunity to enhance the notion of art as a useful tool to materialize a vision of a more inclusive society,” said Bruguera in a statement.

Bruguera has dedicated her career to defining the relationship among art, activism, and social change. She works to advance the concept of arte útil, “useful art,” as a tool to bring sociopolitical issues to light. She recently spent time living with five undocumented immigrants and their families in Queens to understand the hardships they face, and has become an advocate for immigrant rights and acceptance.

City officials hope that the residency, supported by private funding from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, will be the first in a series.

“I have been inspired by Tania Bruguera’s vision for art as something that can propose real, tangible solutions for the people involved since I met her 15 years ago,” said cultural affairs commissioner  Finkelpearl in a statement. “I am enormously excited to support her work that uses art to forge a new model for enhancing our public services through creative practice.”

Bruguera will work with Immigration Movement International in Coronado, Queens, and help identify areas with large populations of immigrant residents.

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