Past Mini-Grant Awardees

Chetna Mehta (June 2022)

Join us in congratulating ARTogether’s June Mini-Grant recipient, Chetna Mehta (@creationforliberation)! 

Chetna Mehta is a granddaughter of Indian and South African diasporas. Their training, education and experiences span social sciences, counseling psychology, yoga philosophy and practice from a liberation-oriented perspective, cultural exchange, leadership and mentorship, somatics, mixed media and expressive healing arts, ceremony and ritual, and cultivating peaceful circles.

Chetna will use this grant to fund her podcast Creation for Liberation (@creationforliberation) where she features creative voices and wisdom to decolonize creativity, and reclaim our inheritance and birthright to make, move, sing, dance and express. 

Visit Chetna’s website at www.mosaiceyeunfolding.com to learn more about her work.

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Anita Sulimanovic (May 2022)

Congratulations to ARTogether’s May Mini-Grant recipient, Anita Sulimanovic! 

Anita Sulimanovic is a visual artist and educator whose practice is based on articulating a chaotic world of abandoned and found materials. She was born and raised in Croatia and studied sculpture at the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts and the Edinburgh College of Art, moving
between fifteen different locations before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area.

She is working on a series titled “Home” in which she assembles paper houses by use of the origami folding technique, reminiscent of the processes of homemaking and moving home. She will use this grant to complete a kinetic installation about the fragility of belonging and the representation of immigrants and displaced peoples.

Visit Anita’s website at www.anitasulimanovic.com to learn more about her work!

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Ariam Weldeab Araya (April 2022)

Congratulations to ARTogether’s March Mini-Grant recipient, Ariam Weldeab Araya (@ariam_weldeab)! 

Ariam Weldeab Araya is an Eritrean award-winning author, film director, poet, narrator, and television host. She has written several short stories, poems, and dramas. Over the past decade, she has worked in a wide variety of professional capacities from private to national radio and television, and has achieved many awards. Thus far, Ariam has written and directed three films and three sketch dramas.

With the support of this mini-grant, Ariam will make her fourth film based on the story of an Eritrean artist experiencing the challenges of immigrating to America. It will narrate the challenge an immigrant artist faces while operating without a supportive community and with a lack of resources in a new setting. 

Visit Ariam’s website at ariamweldeab.com to learn more about her work!

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Badri Valian (March 2022)

Congratulations to ARTogether’s March Mini-Grant recipient, Badri Valian (@badrivalian)! 

Badri is a participatory interactive installation artists and a painter living in the Bay Area. She studied Fine Arts back in her home country, Iran, where she received several national awards for her creative techniques. Badri’s artwork investigates personal and social issues such as poverty, systemic racism, sexual assault, and forced displacements. 

Badri approaches her art projects through participatory interaction. She received this grant to fund her project “Pink Window,” which is a site-specific public-oriented activity to engage the public and community in reflecting on their childhoods and pasts while engaging them with her art. 

Visit Badri’s website badrivalian.com to learn more about her work.

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Nivedita Rajendra (February 2022)

Congratulations to ARTogether’s mini-grant recipient for January, Nivedita Rajendra! (@nivi_noo)! 

Niv Rajendra is a socially engaged artist and Ayurvedic Practitioner. Through her work she explores how the renewal and reinstatement of Indigenous spiritual knowledge can repair damaged relationships in human communities; between humans and the land; and between living and non-living entities. Originally from New Delhi and Mangalore, India, she has lived and worked across the world, and is currently based in Huichin, Oakland. 

She received this grant to fund her projects “Seed, Play and Unite,” which circulates marginalized voices of queer, First Nations, and immigrants artists/facilitators, and “The Decomposing Guava,” a collection of 108 photographs of decomposing guavas in Colombia, highlighting ethical relations. 

Visit Niv’s website nivrajendra.com to learn more about her work.

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Christina Xu (January 2022)

Congratulations to ARTogether’s mini-grant recipient for January, Christina Xu (@christinaxu_)! 

Christina is a Taiwanese-Pacific islander, first generation American. In her role as an artist, she highlights the beauty that already exists, and she paints to represent her culture and community. 

This year, Xu will be painting 22 murals in 22 Bay Area schools (#22muralsin2022) as a direct response to the unprecedented times our children have faced recently. Xu envisions 2022 as a time of healing and striving for a better tomorrow. “22 in 22” seeks to do that through the power of art. With these murals, Xu hopes to bring healing and to inspire the youth to believe, to dream, and to honor their well-being.  

Visit Christina’s website christinaxu.art to learn more about her work

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Juliana Mendonca (October 2021)

ARTogether’s mini-grant recipient for October is Juliana Mendonca! Juliana is a Venezuelan contemporary performer, choreographer and teacher.

Juliana will use the funds from the mini-grant for her project, Liquidanza. Liquidanza is a dance form practiced in water created by Juliana Mendonca. Liquidanza offers unique explorations of movement and dance in and out of water using specific techniques that prepare participants to feel the fluidness of their bodies. What emerges from these explorations is a unique type of movement that is soft, fluid, meditative and creative.

Visit Juliana’s instagram page, @juliana_mendonca_dance to learn more about her work.

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Inti Batey (September 2021)

We are happy to announce that our September Mini-Grant recipient is the musical group Inti Batey (@inti.batey). The San Francisco based group is composed of musicians and artists originally from Mexico, SF, Guatemala, Venezuela, Argentina among other places.

“In a time of exacerbated isolation and lonely digital screens, the age of longing for community support and warmth our ancestors had felt more present that ever in us, and it birthed ‘Inti Batey,’ Sun Gathering. Our intention now is to share not only the stream of music that so effortlessly flowed from our collective, but also to express our gratitude by inviting our audience to be a part of the healing space in respect and friendship.”

The group will be using the mini-grant for artists funds to purchase supplies and protective-gear to host their in-person performances in safe manner during the pandemic.

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Gazelle Samizay & Labkhand Olfatmanesh (August 2021)

Congratulations to Gazelle Samizay for receiving the August ARTogether Mini-Grant Award for Bi-Lingering, a collaborative project with artist Labkhand Olfatmanesh. 

“Bi-Lingering” represents that in-between space where one belongs to two (or more) languages and cultures. This project invites people to share their experiences of expressing themselves in more than one language by writing a letter to “Dear Bi-Lingering” in whatever language (or mix of languages) they feel comfortable with. The artists hope to use the mini-grant award for supplies related to mailing the kits to and from participants.

Visit the Bi-Lingering.com to learn more about both artists.

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Image of Artists Gazelle Samizay and Labkhand Olfatmanesh
Ray Koh (July 2021)

Congratulations to ARTogether’s July mini-grant recipient, artist and filmmaker, Ray Koh! 

Koh’s most recent project involves a large-scale photo essay of a legendary and struggling business of San Francisco’s Chinatown, Hing Lung Company. Influenced by the continued escalation of Asian hate in Northern California, his project brings to light the importance of fusing on the communities affected by growing hate and discrimination. Koh will be using ARTogether’s Mini-Grant to support and produce his latest project, using the award to fund equipment rentals, transportation and artist proofing. 

Visit raykoh.com to learn more about the artist. 

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dani lopez (June 2021)

June’s mini- grant recipient is Bay Area textile artist, dani lopez. Lopez works with weaving and fiber sculpture to explore queer desire, femininity and femme identity.

For lopez, weaving at the loom, sewing, and embroidery act as a portal site to reimagine her closeted queer youth into an out loud one. Pop music, lesbian bars, camp, and pop culture serve as research for her practice. The funds from this mini-grant will be used for materials and documentation for her series, Dykes on the DancefloorLopez received her MFA in Textiles from CCA and her BFA from the University of Oregon. She has been featured in publications like Hyperallergic and Surface Design Journal and has shown her work at Minnesota Street Project, Tropical Contemporary, Amos Eno Gallery to name a few. 

Visit the danilopez.us to learn more.

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Artist dani lopez is wearing glasses and a blue shirt standing in front of an artwork
Allison Von Hausen & Divija Mohan (May 2021)

Allison von Hausen and Divija Mohan are the mini-grant recipients this May for their short film, When the Crow Calls

This short film focuses on mental health and the de-stigmatization of therapy within the South-Asian community. Mohan’s own experiences with mental health, grief and loss, compelled her to write the short film. With this mini-grant, Von Hausen and Mohan hope to rent equipment, feed their crew and create a film that resonates with the Asian diaspora and shatters long-held ideas about seeking help for mental health. ⁠

Read more about the project here.

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Allison Von Hausen and Divija Mohan - Winners of the May Mini-Grant from ARTogether
Palija Shrestha (April 2021)

April’s mini-grant recipient is Palija Shrestha, a painter from Kathmandu, Nepal currently based in San Francisco, CA. Palija has a MFA from California College of the Arts. 

Her work investigates and navigates politics in response to her, her mother’s and her grandmothers’ experiences that related to a cosmic longing for survival. She will use the mini-grant fund to buy supplies for her Tikijhya, traditional newari window, series. The series aims to convey that we can dream beyond and imagine a higher place, a more hopeful survival. 

Check out her work and learn more about the artist here.

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Kacy Jung (March 2021)

Kacy Jung is the March recipeint of ARTogether’s mini-grant for artists. Kacy Jung is a Taiwanese visual artist, based in San Francisco, working with photography, photo-sculpture, and site-specific installation. Much of her work is concerned with the way identity is constructed and reassembled during socialization. 

ARTogether’s mini-grant will help Kacy create an online platform and expand the physical presence for her ongoing photography and interview project, 21 Grams – The Weight of Souls. The project aims to create an extensive catalog of faces and their untold stories of battling the mainstream capitalist system that pressures individuals to move away from the arts. 

Learn more about the artist here.

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Sunroop Kaur (February 2021)

Sunroop Kaur (@loquacious_lines) is a visual artist originally from Calgary, Alberta, with a B.F.A from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, 2019. She uses her practice as a vessel to transport critical conversations about identity, race, gender, culture, and inherited art histories. 

As a first-generation Indo-Canadian who has never visited India, Kaur struggles with the layered complexity of her own identity and feelings of displacement. Currently Kaur is working on a series of works that makes references to both Eastern and Western art traditions borrows from the rich textile history of Punjab and Phulkari work. 

ARTogether’s mini-grant will help Sunroop complete this series for a solo-exhibition. Learn more about the artist here.

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Sen Mendez (January 2021)

In partnership with CiNEOLA and Frameline, ARTogether has awarded its January mini-grant to Oakland artist Sen Mendez’s (@sencreatesart) workshop series Y(our) Legacy, a visual workshop series for the Bay Area Latinx immigrant community.

The grant will support a visual workshop series created by Mendez, which will be offered free of charge to the Bay Area’s immigrant Latinx community. Titled the Y(our) Legacy series, Mendez describes the workshop as “a block printing movement between mental illness and block printing to end cycles of harmful behaviors imprinted unto us by creating our own imprints.” The workshop will be a 10 week series aimed to assist participants in their journey of self growth and recovery.

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Victor Castro (November 2020)

November’s mini-grant winner is Victor Castro, the talent behind Shamanic Labs, an exciting art studio from West Oakland. 

“We are mega excited to win this grant, and have a great concept to create a brand new type of ‘board game’ meets artistic centerpiece,” Victor tells us. “This art experience is replete with hints, symbols and elements to remind us of how special and important the human journey is. We need this reminder more than ever, in 2020! You are worth it! Play this game! It will remind you why we are here! To make friends and play with your toys and make cool stuff!”

Check out Victor’s amazing work on shamaniclabs.com.

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Somaieh Amini (October 2020)

Born and raised in Iran, Somaieh Amini (@somaieh_amini) got her start at as an artist at animation studios. She moved to Italy in 2009 to do her Master’s in Painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma, and discovered her love of illustration. In 2012, Somaieh moved again, this time to the United States. 

These relocations have had an emotional impact on Somaieh’s artistic life. After moving to the United States, it took her 3 years to start her artistic career. However, it was also then that she came realized anew that painting and illustration and what she wants to do for the rest of her life. Relocation has also impacted the themes of her work, which often cover subjects of immigration, home, the refugee experience and war.  

ARTogether’s mini-grant was awarded to Somaieh for her watercolor series “Wrapped in Plastic,” which explores children in war zones, and the brutal effect of war on the most defenseless and vulnerable.

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Edward Gunawan & Elbert Lim (September 2020)

ARTogether’s very first mini-grant is awarded to multimedia storyteller Edward Gunawan and his collaborator and brother, Elbert Lim, creators of the webcomic Project: Press Play!

A personal journey about struggling with mental health, Project: Press Play is a poignant and beautifully told story, and has already been translated into three languages. ARTogether’s mini-grant will allow the creators to translate the comic into Thai, Bahasa Indonesia and Spanish, and to reimagine the webcomic as a video.

Read the full comic at projectpressplay.com.

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Project: Press Play