Ziemia is a public-art project created in collaboration with residents of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY, taking the form of a ceramic orb atop a meadow platform in McGolrick Park installed in 2018
The piece aimed to bridge divides between the neighborhood’s disparate subcultures by serving as a portrait of the residents’ nostalgia for their personal homelands'. Greenpoint is currently experiencing a demographic transformation as gentrification pushes out many longtime residents, largely from the Polish immigrant community. With the rising displacement and relocation of peoples across the world, there is a greater need to reflect within communities on migration not merely a global phenomenon, but as a local, micro experience that unites us all.
I invited community members from various backgrounds, cultures and socio-economic classes, to contribute soil samples from sentimentally meaningful locations that they have left behind, drawing upon the universal concept of soil as a symbol for one’s roots and identity. The ceramic orb is glazed with a mixture of clay excavated in Greenpoint and soils contributed by participating residents from places that are symbolic of their identities, including: The United States, Poland, Ukraine, Germany, France, Japan, Serbia, Nepal, The United Kingdom, Ecuador, Mexico and Namibia. The project includes many Poles who have lived in Greenpoint for generations, and I travelled to Poland to collect soil on behalf of residents who were unable to make the journey.
The ceramic orb physically encapsulates the residents’ pasts—memories imprinted in the soil of their homelands—in the clay and soil of the land where they now reside, the piece symbolically gestures to the primal connection to Earth that underlies each individual’s migratory experience.
Shown here at Stable Gallery is a maquette of the larger ceramic orb, glazed with the same mixture of contributed soil. Along with a video documenting my pilgrimage to Poland to collect soil from the childhood homes of seniors, some of whom would never see their homes again.
oil stick on rice paper
This series of rubbings was created during a six month long road trip across the USA during the pandemic. I collected imprints of rock features in granite, quartz conglomerate, sandstone, limestone and schist in wild and remote rock climbing areas. As a climber my relationship with rock is very intimate and highly vulnerable. I read and caress its cracks and contours, submit to it, dance with it and hope it doesn’t kill me. The rock is a living being these are it’s portraits.