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F.O.K.U.S. uses the arts to unite, inspire and empower diverse communities. This is accomplished through the production of events, workshops and the publication of INSIGHT, our quarterly arts magazine. F.O.K.U.S. is an organization led by young adults that highlights the importance of and need for the arts and creativity in life. We believe the arts enable people to rise above barriers in society by creating new ways of thinking, communicating, and interacting.


Volume III | Issue 4

02 Letter From the editor 03 Street StyLe 04 NeW yorK City WALLS oF CoLor 12 BeyoNd reALity 16 i Am yoUr SiSter 22 ALL i Need iS oNe miC 28 GettiNG LoSt 37 LoVe-BomB 38 re-diSCoVeriNG the LoSt 44 CLoSet CASeS Come oUt 48 the ChiLd SoLdier / the AFtermAth oF WAr 50 CoNStANt FLUX oF CoNtemPorAry LiFe 56 Be reAL 62 the oUtCome oF hiStoriCAL ALChemy 68 trideNtidAde 72 BehiNd the LeNS 76 iNFiNite PLAyLiSt


Atiba is a perpetual visionary that likes to do art in the dark since it is easier to see the true light. Allison believes that children make the best artists; like trick candles, they never run out of light. Jeff is a creative type whose favorite questions are Why? and What if...? In that order.

All rights reserved on entire contents. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of F.O.K.U.S. or INSIGHT.


Volume III | Issue 4
Changeone simple word with meanings beyond scale and scope. We had a significant change in the variance of artists involved in this issue. There was a sudden in-flow of visual artist submissions as we prepared for our INSIGHT Volume III Art Celebration in October (thanks to Triomph Fitness, Art In Brooklyn and Creative Times). The cover work is an awesome piece by Jessica Stoller, who Jeff found at the Museum of Art and Design. I was speechless when I saw her samples. I am excited to give you insight to her world and her works which use porcelain lace and explore idealized femininity. Art Starts One Mic program gives youth a chance to find their voice and express it. We had a chance to sit down with Miky and a One Mic volunteer, Che Grand, to talk about how art saved their lives. Vineeth returns to submit a piece on Shawn Hollenbach, who shares the trials and celebrations as he leads Closet Cases, a comedy show where performers share their coming-out stories. Ward Yoshimitos Prince of Pop gives you a new taste of Crown Royal and you dont need to take a sip. Time is something that we seldom have control over, but Jolie Clifford shows us how it can be manipulated. For the times when you wanted to be in more places than once, view how Jolie handles her subjects. Jamie Killen (F.O.K.U.S. Cru-NYC) decided to buy a one-way ticket to Colombia recently. Good thing he packed his camera as we get to join him via a photo essay. Nate VanderVeen (F.O.K.U.S. Cru-Ann Arbor) provides a trilingual poem. Change is the general thread of this issue. Each contributor uses art to transform the two way street of perspectives. Read on and you will see how these artists rework time, space, expectations and consequences into their respective statements. This marks the bookend to INSIGHT Volume III. See you in IV!


Atiba T. Edwards

In celebration of Palm Sunday in Bogot, Colombia street corner outside of El Museo Del Oro


Photo by Allison Maritza Lasky


The aim of these photos is to expose a glimpse of the intensity and beauty that is New york City, as I see it. To me, the aesthetic appeal of New york City comes from the energy produced by the dynamic interaction between its vast heterogeneous components and the environment surrounding them. These photos examine this interaction, by highlighting the contrasting qualities of each part that together form the complex microcosm that is New york City.


This photo was taken in Washington Heights during the summer of 2010 in J.Hood Wright park. During the long days of summer this park is packed with families, music, and kids bubbling with dynamic energy.


This photo was taken in Washington Heights in spring 2010. I took it facing east, because I was attracted to the way the light from the setting sun hit the buildings, in juxtaposition with the menacing clouds.

KINETICS (pp. 89)

To me this photo represents the city as I experience it, life in a constant and deliberate state of change.


I took this photo because I like that this man took the time to enjoy tranquility and solitude. In my mind this is an admirable featespecially amidst a city where the constant influx of stimuli can be so demanding on one's senses.



This photo represents one of those moments when you get to enjoy the visual intensity of your surroundings all to yourself. To me, these moments can be almost dream-like.

tessa hirschfeld-Stoler is an independent photographer. her work captures young people, landscapes and night photography. When she is not taking photos, she can be found in her laboratory at Columbia University, where she is pursuing a Phd in neuroscience research. She is also an avid ice hockey player and world traveler. She lives and studies in Washington heights. Photos can be seen here: sets/72157624393529261 INSIGHT | 11

HEAR NO EvIL (Right)
Depiction of a seasoned soul of this world whispering the secrets of surviving this dimension to a new, young, fertile soul. Reminding the being to punctuate your life, your thoughts, and your mind. Hear no evil and speak no evil, and thus, you should make it through this life with minimal debris. Acrylic and Guache 24" x 18" 2005


Inspired by the resilience, regal beauty, and poise maintained by all indigenous people even though their way of being is continually being pillaged and plundered. Fabric paint on suede 15" x 15" 2004


This piece was inspired by the idea of conception and what it would look like if we were to witness the dawn of life at the great event of fertilization. What a spectacular visual event this would be with the competitors racing to land a prize, the fertilized egg. Acrylic 12" x 18" 2004
British born and of Barbadian parentage, t. Cleo Austin is fascinated with the juxtaposition of color, texture and shapes. She delves into fantasy, ethereal surrealism, and symbolism, daring to push beyond reality. Find her work at 12 | INSIGHT

I am your Sister is a photo essay portraying regal women of color adorned in headpieces that draw on many rich histories of cultural pride. While each queen maintains her own glorious uniqueness, altogether they embody a larger community of intersecting identities with a shared perspective, fighting the struggle against patriarchy, heterosexism, homophobia, racism and other forms of oppression. The title, which comes from an essay by the black lesbian writer audre Lorde, is a declaration of sisterhood across all our varied intricacies, not at the risk of diminishing our historical and present differences. We do not have energy to waste on negativity. Our barriers lie not in our differences, but in our willingness to see our common struggles and ourselves in each other. I am your Sister joins a larger movement of women of color who are active participants in organizing to create a world where our differences are our strengths.

KAYLA ROSE (Right, top) CLENA ABUAN (Right, bottom) NIA SwINDELL (pp. 1819) CYNTHIA ADARKwA (pp. 2021)
Ana Agero Jahannes is an interdisciplinary artist otherwise known as hamaje. She focuses on holistic health education via creative immersion and expression, in particular for women of color and people identifying as queer and/or transsexual. Ana is a creative educator now living, working, and studying massage therapy and yoga in Savannah, Georgia. See her work at 16 | INSIGHT


an interview by aTIba T. EDWaRDS
art Start is an organization that uses the arts to transform the lives of kids living in shelters, on the streets, involved in court cases, or surviving with parents in crisis. One Mic, one of the organizations programs, uses workshops to help teens find and develop their voice. The program also allows them to create music in the studio and perform on various stages. I sat down with Cailla Quinn, an assistant Director of art Start, Che Grand, a teaching artist in One Mic and Miky, a member of the One Mic Program, to learn more about the program and ways it has influenced their lives. ATIBA T. EDwARDS: How did each of you get involved with One Mic? MIKY: A friend of mine was locked up and through the Cases program he brought me into One Mic. I kept coming back each day. I never had these kind of opportunities before and this helps me out. Instead of being in the streets, I can come here and do music.

CHE GRAND: Around the beginning of the year, I started thinking about other ways I can do music. I was getting jaded by going to the same spots and seeing people there who werent there for the music but were there for all the wrong reasons. I started making a plan of things I wanted to do that incorporated music. I thought maybe I could help teach people how to do the stuff that I do. Paul, a friend of mine who was working here told me about the program and I started volunteering here. Coming here really inspires me to come back every week because it is a breath of fresh air. The music industry in general has people who are just going through the motions but here people have energy and are really into what they are doing. It gives me the same feeling I had when I started doing music. It feels good to come here and provide something and give something back. A: What has changed from the first day you walked into the program to now? M: I never performed before but once I got into One Mic that pushed me to perform. They encouraged

me to do better. It works a lot to me because I remember when I was younger I was scared to talk to people but now I am free and open. If there is a person I want to meet I just go meet them. I say Hi and if not hi then bye. One Mic did help me a lot because I was playing

around with the music but now I really want to get into it. A: Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.Pearl Strachan Hurd. What does that quote mean to you? C: I really believe words have a lot

all I Need Is One Mic

of power. I feel like I manifested my situation because when I was in England I used to tell my parents, I am going to go to NY and be a rapper. I was nine years old saying this to them and they would just look at me like okay but somehow over the years I kept saying it to myself and now I am here. So words definitely do have power. If you say something enough and mean it, it would come to life. A: How do you guys work together? How did you, Che, start working with Miky? C: I knew him as the OG in the One Mic program. I could tell by his work ethic and his whole demeanor that he is a good guy. I knew it would be easier to work with Miky because he was freestyling and focused on everything going on. He said he recently had this epiphany that this is what he wants to do, but I think he has known for a minute. I could tell that, even if he couldnt. M: It has been awesome working with Che. He helped me out a lot with my songs and how to say it. He helped me with explaining my verses and my songs. He introduced me to one of his brothers beats and I loved it. I performed the song at the Nuyorican and it was one of my better songs that I had. Ever since then Che has been cool with me

and we have been working together and it has been awesome. Q: What are some things you learned from each other? C: He has definitely inspired me to start freestyling more. I was really into freestyling when I was younger but I got more focused on writing. His energy is just like, Im just going to rhyme, and this has inspired me. He reminds me of myself when I just started. He has young energy and observes what is going on and then jumps in. M: Che and A.K.I.R. showed me how to be confident. Che would tell me, That was hot, but you could do better. Hes showed me how to write better and create a song. Che has inspired me to do more songs and make them better. Q: What are some of the next things you each want to do? C: I want to be a teaching artist on a bigger scale. This [teaching artist] is now along the same path of my musicthey are in the same lane. So as much work as I put into my own music, I want to put as much work into doing programs like this. M: I want to stay in the program and get into other areas of music like producing. Before I came into One Mic, I was more into producing but when I came into One Mic I got into rapping. So I dont really have a set plan, I just let things come.

all I Need Is One Mic

A: How does what you learn here at One Mic transfer to your daily life? C: This is something I think about a lot. I talk with my other friends who are artists and figure out ways we can all do something together. There are different avenues to take this music. The goal doesnt

definitely saved my life. M: A lot of things come to my mind every time I see that. Art Saves Lives. It definitely saved mine. I found something that I am actually getting good at rather than what I was doing before. I see other kids and they ask Art? What do

have to be to get on TV. I was apprehensive at first before I came to One Mic because I am not too far away from Mikys age. So to build that rapport with him and other kids in the class shows that I can do itI can teach others. I want to continue my own unique teaching ways which I get to test out and refine teaching at One Mic. M: Two of my friends got locked up and when they got out they started doing music. I tell them, Keep doing it, what you are doing? and Dont go back to the life we were living. A: Art Saves Lives is the tagline of Art Start. How do each of you relate to it? C: If I wasnt doing music, I would probably get into crap. Not necessarily illegal but I would be into other things. This is a lot better for me to be doing. Making music, helping others make music. Art


you mean like drawing art or art as in youre an artist? I still dont really know and need to find the definition of it. C: I dont think there is a definition. There are many different forms. I think everything we are doing is art. Whether it be visual or audio, it all is art. A: Art Is CHE GRAND: Art Ismy sanctuary. MIKY: Art Iswhat I see in everyday life. CAILLA QUINN: Art Iswhat gets me out of be in the morning, what drives me to constantly take on every opportunity.
The purpose of Art StArt is to nurture the voices, hearts, and minds of at-risk New york City youth, providing the resources and outlets for them to change their own lives through the creative process. to find out more about one mic and Art StArts other programs, visit


In my photos, I often use long exposure to create the illusion of transparency, representing a separation between myself and the other side of the lens. Unless my art school is forcing me to get an assignment done, I create my images when Im feeling especially anxious, or apathetic. after spending a lot of time with my photos, Ive realized that the underlying theme in a lot of them is an expression of me trying to escape. I try to emulate my emotions into an image and when I have successfully made a visual to correspond with that particular feeling, a sense of relief replaces whatever feeling I was having prior. I suppose I make these images as a sort of art therapy session for myself. My photos also have a strong sense of narrative behind themprobably because I live in my head. I want my viewers to be emotionally connected with my photos, but also to get lost in an implied story. Get lost, like I do.

LIMINAL (Right) CHILDS PLAY (pp. 3031) OUT OF BODY (pp. 3233) SUCCUBUS (pp. 3435) PARALLEL (pg. 36)
Jolie Clifford is a 20 year old girl from Long island who came to New york City to see where she could get with her photography. The only other thing that she loves as much as photography is old rock n roll and her cat Coco. more of her photos can be seen at 28 | INSIGHT

By now, red alarm. No charm, skies black. Quickly, time snaps. Our particles interact. Fusion, not nuclear. Explosion of the soul. Enlightenment. This must be god sent. Divine interaction. Of the purest attraction. Dangerously delighted, Excited, but not frightened. Unchained love, On fire, always ignited. The bomb blasts. Fireworks up above. Displaying true colors Of Passion. Cannons always blastin. Every time you see us passin. The eternal flame, untamed. Nothing to blame, But a guy and a dame.
Andrew has always been on the fortunate side of the fence, thinking about how the people on the other side of the fence feeland he wants to break down that fence. INSIGHT | 37


Porcelain, China paint 9" x 7" x 5.5" 2010

UNTITLED (pp. 30-31)

Porcelain, China paint, decal 12" x 5.25" x 4" 2010

UNTITLED (pp. 32-33)

Porcelain, China paint 12" x 12" x 5.5" 2010
Jessica Stoller holds her mFA from Cranbrook Art Academy and her BFA from the College for Creative Studies. She has exhibited her work in numerous shows throughout the US, specifically Cranbrook Art museum, The Clay Studio, Like the Spice Gallery and Paul Kotula Projects. She was recently awarded a Kohler Arts and industry residency for 2011 and was also a daimler Chrysler emerging Artist Nominee as well as a resident artist at the open Studio Program in the museum of Arts and design. She currently lives and works in New york. For more information please visit: 38 | INSIGHT

Photo by Ely Key


He loves holding a mic. When he steps onto the stage, he owns it. He has 800 followers on Twitter, but wishes he had as many as Ashton Kutcher. He loves Monica Potter. Who? The actress who starred alongside Nicholas Cage in Con Air and Morgan Freeman in Along Came A Spider. Why? Because shes an underdog and so is he. Shawn Hollenbach roots for Potter, as he hopes one day someone will be rooting for him. As a gay male comedian, youre an underdog from the get-go, he says. Dressed in a red v-neck shirt, a gray zip-up jacket and jeans, he speaks with an easy rhythm born out of years of comedy. The movie-star smile never leaves the sexy 30-somethings face and you cant help but be instantly drawn to him. Hollenbach is the producer of Closet Cases, a special comedy

show featuring a group of comedians and performers relating their hilarious out-of-the-closet experiences. Open up a YouTube video of Hollenbach hosting the show and the first thing you hear is the song Im Coming Out by Diana Ross. Hollenbach then takes over and proceeds to do his standup routine, including a mention of his college girlfriend named Summer Wronge and a bit where he shows his fourth-grade drawing of a unicorn with a rainbow tail. Dave Rubin, 33, one of those who has performed at Closet Cases, says that telling the coming out story publicly can be a cathartic experience. He spent years doing a version of his comedy routine sans mention of his sexuality before he was ready to do an out version. He credits Hollenbach with helping him make the transition. I realized I wasnt going to explode onstage, said Rubin. Til then, I was like a painter who refuses to use the

Vineeth Thomas

color blueI revamped my act and was finally able to use a full set of colors. When Hollenbach first started comedy, he too didnt feel like talking about his sexuality. He thought it wouldnt make sense and the audience wouldnt get it. Then when he decided to do gay comedy, and for a while thats all he did. For the last 18 months, he has been trying to find a balance between both and be more broad. At some shows, his mannerisms and his persona might give him away but he still sometimes prefers to skip the gay banter just to mix things up. In New York, its not a problem but outside of it, you have to talk about it, he says. Otherwise, a lot of people will be stroking their beards and going, whys he not talking about it? Hollenbach is from Central Pennsylvania, which he calls the children of the corn part of the state between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Since his debut with gay comedy for a gay audience five years ago, his popularity has grown. Its my baby, he says, but no television network will pick it up. Around the same period he was developing it, he performed in his hometown at a time when he had yet to come out to his father, so he was forced to de-gay his set completely.

Cara Killduff, another Closet Cases performer, says that whats special about the show is that it takes what can be painful for a lot of people and puts a positive and lighthearted spin on it. Hollenbach has travelled outside New York with The Under the Gaydar Tour and with The Back Room Presents Tour to colleges and resorts in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia. Hollenbach admits that going on the road with his comedy means having to deal with homophobes and getting heckled. No matter what its always going to stick with me, he says. Im going to think as a comic that if I do road work, Im going to get heckled. He addresses his sexuality in his standup and lets the audience know that he gets it and they dont need to state the obvious. Usually, however, since the show is branded as being gay, the people who show up are looking for that kind of entertainment. He says also that most of the straight people that come are very friendly and just there to have a good time. After Will and Grace I think people kind of get it, he says. Paul Case has worked and produced with Hollenbach and considers him to be one of his best friends. He says that society is definitely becoming more accepting

Vineeth Thomas

of shows like Closet Cases and there is more interest out there. For the gay audience there is more to relate to obviously, said Case, But if youre straight and have not dealt with the situation, it helps you to be more compassionate. Hollenbach and Case collaborated on the Miss Fag Hag Pageant, a pageant first held in 2009 in New York to find the best or most popular fag hag. The term refers to a woman who either associates mostly or exclusively with gay and bisexual men, or has gay and bisexual men as close friends. The event is a benefit for the HetrickMartin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School. Its a school I really believe in, said Hollenbach. Its such a great place for kids who get kicked out of their homes to go, kids who associate themselves as transgenderedhow many kids have the chance to go to a school where they are accepted completely? And Hollenbach loves dabbling. He dabbles in songwriting, which started with his learning electronic music in high school and being in a synth band. He dabbles in actinghe did a 10-minute short called Night Brings the Fury in which he plays a trainee prostitute. Hes been offered the role of a gay tile designer in a TV pilot for an independent producer. He got the role after the producer found him

through an internet search. He now works in social marketing for Logo. Hollenbach is meticulous at following his web presence and making sure as many people as possible come across him and know about what hes doing. It remains Hollenbachs pursuit to get the voices of gay comedians out there and become part of the mainstream. Its about catharsis. The feeling is very warm when youre performing, he says. Not everything has to be drag-themout hilarious. You just need to play the truth right. Rubin says that truth helps not only gay people but also their friends and families to understand the craziness that is involved with coming out. Those who have been part of Closet Cases say that Hollenbach is one of those rare people with whom what you see is what you get. Killduff stresses that hes one of the sweetest people youll ever meet. Case said, There are some people you meet in your lifeyou can never hear anything negative about them. He is genuinely one of the nicest and most generous guys.
Vineeth is a freelance writer and student at CUNy Graduate School of Journalism. he is an international student and has reported in india and the middle east. INSIGHT | 47


I have learned to use images to describe a word instead of using texts. By breaking down this graphic design piece into color-enhanced elements, I was able to capture the act of war by incorporating every small aspect of its physical, emotional and environmental art. The yellow background symbolizes happiness; the black trees symbolize death or fear; the red in the middle ground symbolizes the blood of the people that has been shed due to war. People running from the graphics symbolizes both the fleeing and freeing aspects of war, also represented in the dichotomy of the child and star images in this piece. While the young child holding the gun represents the underage captivity child-soldiers often face, the star in the child's shadow offers solace and peace. Photo on canvas 12" x 18" 2009
LaVelle everett is the creative mind behind Supri Creative Works that specializes in Graphic and Web design. The goal of Supri Creative Works is to make conversational design pieces with visual impact, as well as t-shirt designs that suit the needs of the creative person at heart. 48 | INSIGHT



In making his work, Ward is as passionately attuned to the materials and objects he uses as he is to the process of unique sculpture-making itself. Quite architectural in his creative planning, Ward prefers common objects for his art and has recently been using hardware cloth as a structural material. His new works offer an instant grid format and mathematical relationship to space, just one example of the ongoing conversation between Ward, his tools, his pieces, and his audience. Using mass-produced materials, along with more specific objects he creates tableaus that inform ideas or create a visual message that is often abstract, obtuse, and intriguing. yoshimoto commingles american and Japanese traditions and craftsmanship in his deft assemblages of found objects. Referencing Dada, Surrealism, and Pop, as well as the turbulent social and political landscape of his youth, yoshimotos wry constructions address an ongoing history of cultural displacement with equal parts iconoclastic brio and meditative, almost obsessive rigor. In this singular brand of contemporary suburban folk art, cocktail stirrers, crucifixes, clocks, and pool balls assume formations as whimsical as they are poignantthe detritus of the american Dream washed ashore, picked over, and reassembled in an attempt to piece together a sense of identity amid the constant flux of contemporary life.

wHOOPS (Right)
While referencing elements of the Japanese scroll and forms of Kanji in calligraphy, I try to reflect on my childhood and my biggest fears of nuclear destruction. With too many chances to screw up, I use the title to describe that moment of realization, the element of human error.


The use of found and bought materials within my work seems to always relate to a personal experience or distant memory. The process of collecting and combining these objects I use are put together by my intuitiveness and constant challenge to be fluid and in the moment after months of constant observation. This painting/sculpture was in response to the trend for things to be pop, a slap in the face of Murakami and the world of cute.

9-111 (Above)
Three movable works that speak of sculpture and drawing stimulatingly, moving images meant to be viewed in changing light. I have worked to re-define the idea of drawing, line in space with moving shadows. Each piece has nine components within their structure, mathematical space that inherently speaks of architecture and sculpture. By placing them on a wall, I have removed the third dimension and at any juncture can be viewed as a two dimensional image.

This is not a Japanese mispronunciation Definition: In the U.S. military, fragging refers to the act of attacking a superior officer in ones chain of command with the intent to kill that officer. The term originated during the Vietnam War and was most commonly used to mean the assassination of an unpopular officer of ones own fighting unit. Killing was effected by means of a fragmentation grenade, hence the term. The flying of the flag upside down has always been a symbol of danger and

an SOS for those involved. The process of collecting and drinking these crushed beer cans can only be a serious attempt for the artist to truly be involved with his or her art.
Ward yoshimoto has lived and worked in New york for the past twenty five years as a commercial photographer and fine artist. Born in 1960 and raised in Los Angeles, he attended CSU dominguez hills as a design and studio major, and then in 1985 received his BFA in photography from The Art Center College of design, Pasadena, California. in 1999 he received his mFA in sculpture from Brooklyn College. he has continued to explore issues about art, photography, sculpture, the digital world, and the human condition these among others are some of his concerns. he has shown both nationally and internationally and is currently preparing for his exhibition at the Cutlog Contemporary Art Fair this fall in Paris. See his work at www. INSIGHT | 55

There is a tremendous amount of pressure on people to look a certain way. The size and shape of the body, and the color of the skin, are things people seem to obsess about being able to change. My nudes are based on live modelsI want to express a feeling of something real but at the same time maintain mystery and fantasy in my work.


Acrylic on canvas 18" x 18" 2010

Steve Riley


Acrylic on canvas 18" x 18" 2010

MARINA (pg. 60)

Acrylic on canvas 18" x 18" 2010


Acrylic on canvas 18" x 18" 2010
Born in england in 1967, Steve riley attended Art school at UCe Birmingham, UK, studying art and jewelry. riley has exhibited his work throughout the UK, won first place in a design competition for British jewelers Clive ranger, and won 1st place with an abstract piece called Broken World for 21st Century depression, an on line art Competition . riley moved to New york in 2003, where he follows his dream creating both art and jewelry from his Brooklyn studio. for more info visit www. INSIGHT | 59

Cartagena de Indias is truly an otherworldly city, a mystical metropolis on the Caribbean coast of Colombia that almost seems unbound by time. Spanish colonial walls surround the old town, rusted cannons perched on top of them, pointed out toward the vast atlantic Ocean. Once inside, cobblestone roads line the alleyways and streets that are overlooked by balconies covered in flowers and hanging vines. Horse-drawn carriages roll by underneath, passing by courtyards and plazas where people gather to drink cold Costeos (one of Colombias most preferred cervezas) and listen to vallenato, a popular folk music with origins in this region. It is a city where old world antiquity and new world modernity collide, one that is as diverse as it is culturally and historically rich, with deep echoes to a distant era, yet still adapting to the twenty-first century. I would call it an outcome of historical alchemy. This past summer I had the privilege to spend 10 weeks traveling throughout this amazing country, and without a doubt, I found la costa caribea to be one of the most interesting places to see and experience. With these photos I wanted to capture the magic that this part of Colombia has to offer, to document the incredible diversity and culture that Colombians have, as well as recognize the importance this area plays in the history of the americas. These are a few glimpses into this unique part of the world.

This trumpet player blew his horn from atop this fortress in the musical styles of Colombian cumbia, a popular music genre with Spanish, Colombian, and African influences and heavy emphasis in the rhythm. He also played Cuban mambo next to various national anthems of other countries to attract the ears of tourists.

Jamie Killen


This, without a doubt, was my favorite moment of my trip to San Basilio de Palenque: having the opportunity to meet the village mdico curandero, or medical herb specialist. Unfortunately for me, I lost my notebook containing his name, but I do remember that he was over 95 years old, was born in San Basilio de Palenque, son of a cimarrn, some 50 or 60 years after slavery was abolished in Colombia. Behind his casita, he grew all sorts of different herbs, plants, and roots, which he had bundled up in that bag you can see pictured. He gave us various samplessome, he had said, helped stomach pains, headaches, and other ailments. I could tell that he fully believed in the power of these herbs. It was as if he had some kind of deep understanding, like he possessed a radical connection to this wild nature that for so long has protected San Basilio de Palenque from outsiders. You might call it magic, superstitionI would call it faith.

LA jUvENTUD (Left, bottom)

Scattered throughout the village were these little groups of kids that seemed very curious as to what two Argentineans, a German, and I were doing wandering about. Some of them came up and greeted us and were very playful, which definitely made for some nice photo opportunities. And its interesting to point out that their grouping might have to do with the way that the village is socially organized, which according the official UNESCO website is called the ma kuagro, in which the social organization of the community is based on family networks and age groups. Furthermore, the website reads, The kuagro membership comes with a set of rights and duties towards other group members and entails strong internal solidarity.


As the ports of Cartagena were being used to ship away riches and goods, they also became principal sites for the Atlantic slave trade. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, Spanish, Dutch, French, British, North American and Portuguese slave traders imported thousands upon thousands of African slaves to coasts of Colombia and throughout the Caribbean. This, of course, immensely changed the cultural landscapes of the Americas. Old and distinct cultures crashed. New ones were formed. And today, the African influence can greatly be seen and felt throughout the coasts of Colombia, especially in the realms of music, art, and dance. Pictured here are a group of traditional Afro-Colombian dancers that broke out in an impromptu performance on yet another section of the murallas. There was no boom box or music system, just the drums.



View of a distant setting sun from a balcony situated in the heart of the old town.

Jamie Killen is a student studying Spanish and media at CUNy Brooklyn College in Flatbush. he can often be found riding the B44 bus down Nostrand Ave., sipping bodega brew coffee, and snapping pics of the world as he goes by. he can be reached at INSIGHT | 67

I wrote this poem with three cohesive threads that express the idea of belonging to a culture based on blood, studies, or pure and organic interest. The trilingual poem (English, Spanish, Portuguese) expresses the beauty in using language to connect with the people around us in an attempt to further understand them, and in turn, ourselves. The narrative maintains an underlying theme of finding oneself and being true to your beliefs and passions to take control of your own happiness. The name of the poem is Tridentidade. It is a hybrid word that I created from three different words: tri (english, three), identidad (Spanish, identity), and identidade (Portuguese, identity). I think that it describes the essence of pertaining to many cultures and not limiting yourself to the social constraints of just one schema.

Nate VanderVeen

Yall just came back from Mexico, dat right? Oh, Peru?same thing, bunch er farmerscant speak Never could figure out why they dont learn American They spit their words with chewing tobacco a sense of security behind a John-Deere and bib-overalls. Full-time plower, part-time international affairs analyst Wondering Why would anyone leave the greatest country in the world? All we need is right here. Everybody wants to be like us anyway. Dont you understand who you are? La empatia no me ha dejado. My identity Mi identidad Minha identidade Cultural confusion can be quite comforting Estudiar Espaol, Portugus, English Swim in the language, abraar as tradies Explorar lugares de los sueos hay tanto que pueda descubrir! Na realidade, la literatura, nos filmes, las bailas, nas canes the food. Es que, no tiene nada que ver con una falta de patriotismo its that, yes we can live in a world sem fronteiras, sin paredes creados por polticos, por religiones, por los intolerables. Eu sou parte da raa humana nosso mundo A cross-cultural collaboration of estilo, expresso, flavor. My identity is a grass-roots, public school placebo The son of two morticians. Un hermanito Trying my best to understand this world that Im in And fill my heart and home with every color in the spectrum because yes we can build One nation Under God. Indivisible. Mi identidad es de un

Nate VanderVeen

Zapatista, luchando contra las injusticias y la opresin de un gobierno corrupto, codicioso. Luchando para proyectar los campesinos y nuestra tierra. Minha identidade dum soldado pela paz e amor no peloto de Caetano Veloso e Gilberto Gil porque as alchimistas esto chegando para celebrar na exploso cultural que o povo brasileiro . A empatia me-liber tou manifestou em mim um hbrido cultural y por la primera vez pudiera expresarme con palabras de colores resonantes para que pueda dibujar un mural de pasin con cada frase que vibra por mi lengua y derrama de mis labios. E pela primeira vez posso danar como um estudante na escola de samba Respirando, tomando, sangrando o Tropicalismo. Paso por Sudamrica con Che por motocicleta Descubriendo la pobreza y la tristeza en una gente pura, magnifica, y la tierra ms rica. And I can Get-up, stand-up, stand-up with Bob Marleyintroducing One Love and One Life, where we can all get together instead of hunting for the differences that pull us apart. Mientras que me reno con mis comunidades por la primera vez en frente de los terroristas de ETA. Sobrevivir dia depois

Nate VanderVeen

de dia nas favelas do Rio cuando meus amigos desaparecen diariamente sem razo. Restock my water-warped walls with positive memories before Catrina robbed us of our American citizenship. Lamento a mis compadres desaparecidos por el Sendero Luminoso. Dano a capoeira e lembrar seu transformao de paixo e temor expresso. So if I choose to answer todo bem when um amigo asks me how I am because it more accurately displays my moodkiss cualquiera persona on the cheek when I meet them cause that is just how excited I am to see themLo Har. Ill still smile at every person I pass because I am a midwest boy with southern roots and manners to match. Do I have to choose? Por que? What if I dont wear an American flag bandana? Stick a Bush/Cheney for 04 sticker on my Hummer H3. What if I choose a rainbow tie-dyed shirt? With a peace sign on the front and a globe on the back with coasts and islands shaping our earths silhouette instead of borders. Am I still confused? Nah, empathy shows me who I was, am, will be. Sofocado, um idealista, proud.
Nate is a senior at the University of michigan studying Biological Chemistry and Spanish in the pursuit of becoming a Pediatric Surgeon. he was embraced by the F.o.K.U.S. community thanks to his roommate (and co-founder of F.o.K.U.S.), Alma davila-toro, who showed him the beauty disguised by the normalcy of everyday life. Nate has lived in the Andes mts. of Peru, and in the south of Spain, and always maintains that there is a cohesive thread of life that connects all of us. Art iswhat unites us. INSIGHT | 71


People sometimes call me a locomotiveI find myself rushing around, loving, appreciating, and supporting the infinite passions of my friends and family. This small bite of photographymy first attempt at capturing life behind a professional cameracomes in the wake of falling in love with photography through the works of my best friends, F.O.K.U.S. cofounders alma and atiba. I never would have thought a few clicks with a Nikon D-60, driving on Ohio's US-24 at sunset would be so reflective of my own internal drive. Passion full speed ahead.
Allison is co-president of F.o.K.U.S., assistant director of a Brooklyn preschool, and is working towards her masters in public health. 72 | INSIGHT


Recluse's National Treasure
Curated by aTIba T. EDWaRDS
There are times when you want to be out and about. Surrounded by friends, strangers and people who say they know you but you have no recollection of them. More often than not the amount of times youve had that feeling pales in comparison to the amount of times you just wanted to be alone. absent from the sound of kids running around and probing you with whys and how comes. Gone from the masquerading crowd of friends and acquaintancesyou just want to ride the last chopper out of Saigon. These are the times you seek the surrounding of silences sound. jOE BUDDEN 10 MINUTES (jOE BUDDEN) Just give me 10 minutes / I just need 10 minutes alone / To not deal with a thing, to not answer my phone / Just to ig my 2 way, ig the shit in the streets / Just let me smoke this one cig in peace / Give me 10 minutes / Without yall comin at me with that bull / Sometimes thats all it takes to ruin my last pull SPOON UNDERDOG (GA GA GA GA GA) Cause you dont talk to the water boy / And theres so much you could learn but you dont want to know

Photo by Atiba Edwards

R.E.M. LOSING MY RELIGION (OUT OF TIME) Trying to keep up with you / And I dont know if I can do it / Oh no Ive said too much / I havent said enough / I thought that I heard you laughing / I thought that I heard you sing / I think I thought I saw you try / Every whisper / Every waking hour/ Im choosing my confessions MICHAEL jACKSON LEAvE ME ALONE (BAD) Just stop doggin me around / (Just stop doggin me) / Dont come beggin me / Dont come beggin / Dont come lovin me / Dont come beggin / I love you / I dont want it / I dont HOwLING wOLF MOANIN AT MIDNIGHT (MOANIN AT MIDNIGHT) Well, somebody calling me, over my telephone / Well, keep on calling, tell them Im not at home (Hummmm Hummm Hummm) / Well, dont not worry, Daddys gone to bed


Volume III | Issue 4

Untitled, Porcelain and China paint, 5" x 6.5" x 5.5", 2010 Currently I employ the lost technique of lace draping in my work. This technique was developed in the 18th century by German artisans who converted real lace into porcelain. The porcelain lace was laboriously applied to delicate full-skirted figurines that reflected the aristocratic life of the upper class. The original works were often coveted centerpieces by their owners; however, over time the technique disseminated down to female hobbyists interested in creating beautiful dolls with intricate dresses. I am intrigued by the dualistic high and low culture of ceramic history; from the once highly coveted recipe of porcelain to the cheap ubiquitous china trinkets we often collect, this material encapsulates many contradictions in its value and perception. In my current work I reference this broad history and use it to create sculpture that explores notions of idealized femininity. To create the pieces I use a myriad of techniques, including lace draping, slip casting and handbuilding. All the work is glazed and China painted, resulting in multiple firings of each piece. By incorporating period fashion, powerful historic women, and imaginative scenarios, my work deals with notions of costume, sexuality and the subjugation of the female body. I challenge the idea of the decorative as weak and non-threatening. The figures I create purposely subvert those notions, emerging both innocent and sexual, self sacrificing and violent, powerful and unaware of the power they posses.