Bruguera will work with Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs to connect the IDNYC program with undocumented residents.
The project is supported with public funding from the City and private funds from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, and marks the first in what will be a series of artists-in-residence at City agencies.
NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl and Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Nisha Agarwal announced that internationally acclaimed artist Tania Bruguera will serve as an artist-in-residence for one year at MOIA. In this newly created residency, she will help the office engage communities with large numbers of undocumented residents about IDNYC, New York City's municipal ID program. This collaboration aims to educate undocumented residents about the services the City has created with IDNYC and build upon the close relationship that has already been established between the IDNYC program and the city's rich cultural community. Artist residencies rely on a deep engagement between the artist and host agency to reframe issues, reimagine visual communications and language, and develop innovative solutions to persistent challenges. Bruguera will use her creative practice and understanding of NYC's immigrant population to help MOIA connect with communities that are often suspicious of government agencies. The residency, which will commence later in July, is supported by private funding from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation and public funds through the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA).
The approach to her residency will be based on the artist's practice of arte útil (literally translated to "useful art"), which employs art to develop new methods of addressing pressing social and political issues. Bruguera will work with Immigrant Movement International (IM International), a participatory artwork she initiated in collaboration with Queens Museum and Creative Time in 2011 that functions as a community space in the immigrant-rich neighborhood of Corona, Queens. IM International offers educational programming, health, and legal services at no cost to address the needs and to foster the unique potential of immigrant residents of the neighborhood. Bruguera and IM International will work with MOIA over the year to produce and implement socially engaged art projects that aim to encourage undocumented residents to register for IDNYC, to use their IDNYC cards to access local government and benefits citywide, and to draw attention to pressing issues facing these communities and to the IDNYC program as a whole.
"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 MOIA artist-in-residence Tania Bruguera. "I'm excited to explore new ways of collaborating with New York's immigrant communities to make a real impact on the lives of city residents."