The Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU is thrilled to welcome multidisciplinary artist, DJ, culture producer, media maker, and activist/organizer Thanushka (Thanu) Yakupitiyage as its 2018-19 Artist-in-Residence. As a DJ, she performs as Ushka and is known for her genre-blending style across electronic club and bass music that deliberately traverses borders, creating soundscapes that reflect the immigrant experience in global migrant cities like New York. Yakupitiyage has worked in the immigrant rights movement for close to a decade and now does intersectional work in climate justice.
The artist is joined by special guests Jace Clayton aka DJ /rupture, Sonia Guiñansaca, and Jess X. Snow for a conversation on art as activism, the role of cultural organizing, and climate and immigrant justice. A reception, featuring sounds by DJ Ayes Cold, will follow.
Thanushka (Thanu) Yakupitiyage is a Sri Lankan-born, Thailand-raised, Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist, cultural producer, activist, and DJ who performs under the name Ushka. Her professional, political, and artistic interests focus on (im)migration. She uses writing, video, music, and audio to explore the everyday lives of brown and black communities from the Global South to the West. Yakupitiyage has worked as a storyteller and organizer in the immigrant rights movement for a decade and now does intersectional work in climate justice. As a DJ, she’s known for her genre-blending style across electronic club and bass music that deliberately traverses borders, creating soundscapes that reflect the immigrant experience in global migrant cities. Since 2013, Ushka has thrown a QT/POC and immigrant-centered global club party called iBomba. She has performed at venues including the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA PS1, American Museum of Natural History, Rubin Museum of Art, Queens Museum, and Harbourfront Center Toronto. She uses DJing and cultural organizing as a means of crafting intentional spaces and fostering community building. She works and performs with a wide community of DJs and producers with the philosophy that artistic and cultural production, at its best, is a collaborative process. She holds degrees from Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. You can find her work at thanushka.com, and on social media at @ty_ushka. She is the 2018-19 A/P/A Institute at NYU Artist-in-Residence.
Jace Clayton is an artist and writer based in Manhattan, also known for his work as DJ /rupture. Clayton uses an interdisciplinary approach to focus on how sound, memory, and public space interact, with an emphasis on low-income communities and the global South. His book Uproot: Travels in 21st Century Music and Digital Culture was published in 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Sonia Guiñansaca is an internationally acclaimed poet, cultural organizer, and activist from Harlem by way of Ecuador. Guiñansaca has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Galeria de la Raza, and has been featured on NBC, PBS, Latina Magazine, PEN America, and Poetry Foundation, among other outlets. Guiñansaca is the 2017-2018 Artist-in-Residence at the NYU Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, was named one of “10 Up and Coming Latinx Poets You Need to Know” by Remezcla, and was selected by the British Council to represent the US in the 2017-18 Future Leaders Connect Cohort. They are a national leader in the migrant artistic and political communities helping build some of the largest national undocumented organizations, and participating in groundbreaking civil disobedience actions. In 2011, they founded some of the first creative artistic projects by and for undocumented writers. Guiñansaca is the author of Nostalgia and Borders (self-published, 2016), and is the editor for the first and only anthology of undocumented writing, Home in Time of Displacement. Currently, Guiñansaca is the managing director of CultureStrike, where they continue to lead national cultural strategy and equity work.
Jess X. Snow is a queer Asian-Canadian filmmaker, public artist, and Pushcart-nominated poet. She uses magical realism and science fiction as tools to explore what care for the body and land can look like in the queer migrant future. After assault and trauma, her characters develop magical powers to travel through time and heal themselves and the planet. Her film and VR work has been supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, Adobe, and Smithsonian Asian Pacific Center. Her public art and political graphics have appeared on PBS Newshour, Los Angeles Times, the UN Human Rights Conference, NBC Asian America, and outdoor walls across the country. She has illustrated children’s books and cover art for Macmillan USA, Yale University Press, YesYes Books, and Black Girl Dangerous Press, among others, and her work is in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. Through film, large-scale murals, street art interventions, poetry, and youth art education, she is working toward a future where queer, migrant youth of color may see themselves heroic on the big screen and the city walls and then can face the possibility to grow up and create their own.
This venue is on the first floor and is accessible for wheelchair users via the 31 Washington Place entrance. Restrooms (which are gender-segregated) are accessible via elevator. If you have any questions or need any accommodations, please email firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks before the event date.