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"The Colene Brown Art Prize reipients reflect the diversity of the BRIC community. A wide range of age and origin, we proudly recognize this interdisciplinary group of artists and their important contribution to culture," said BRIC president Kristina Newman Scott.

What should a contemporary monument look like? Who deserves to go up on a pedestal? Should there be a pedestal at all? Five artists, or groups of artists, from each of the five cities involved in New Monuments for New Cities were invited to respond to the questions and to create a poster or projection of their ideal monument.

We asked artists to contemplate these markers of our country's racist and violent history – the space they take up, physically and psychically – and imagine what should happen when they are gone.

"It is intriguing, what the mind selects to focus on (or seek refuge in) during a time of crisis. My mind is dealing with the dichotomy represented by two artworks, one that is the memory of a pleasant, reinforcing experience, and one that is indicative of the times, that compels me to respond as an artist to the painful injustices affecting me as a person of color in this society.

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The Brooklyn Rail | On the Spot: Nicole Awai | Video | August 10, 2020

Awai shows us the progression of recent works on fluidity, the subterranean, Blackness in the Americas, and her fascinating use of nail polish color names as a barometer for "middle American" perceptions of color. 

With Nicole Awai's "Persistent Resistance of the Liquid Land" (2018) the viewer is offered a visually captivating installation plus the story of how the artist came to conceptualize the piece –– which makes seeing it a doubly rich experience. "Persistent Resistance" is only one of the pieces in a show of seven artists titled 'Alchemy', currently on view at BRIC in Brooklyn, but in its material evocation of something ethereal, it most compelled me to spend time with it.

Nicole Awai's first show at Lesley Heller features work from her 'Vistas' series, which she has been working on since the mid-200s. 

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