Born in Cleveland, but raised on the South Side of Chicago, Ayana M. Evans was given a strong sense of Midwestern American culture, which still influences her art making practices today, either as ideals she challenges or as nostalgia for histories she cannot re-create. After receiving her MFA in painting from Tyler School of Art at Temple University and her BA in Visual Arts from Brown University, Ms. Evans moved to New York City where she now resides as an installation/performance artist and accessories designer. Ms. Evans relational performances and installations collaborate in acknowledging, collecting, and creating evidence of her ‘self’, which is often registered to socio-political context; presented as critical or banal queries that involve her body. Her recent works include: A Box in the World, three part performance series sponsored by Local Project, Long Island City; Stay With Me, 2 hr performance at Gateway Project, Newark; Performancy Forum: Intentionality/Intention’s screening of Operation Catsuit at Panoply Performance Laboratory, Brooklyn, Everything is up for grabs; Nothing is sacred, a collaboration with Whitney Hunter[MEDIUM] Collective previewed at Judson Church NYC, and the Annual Juried Show at SOHO20 Gallery NYC.
Ms. Evans’s line, YANA Handbags, equally exercises her ideals/aesthetics of art practicing. Her handbags have been featured in Essence, TimeOut NY, Nylon, Marie Claire, The Wendy Williams Show and the LA Times. The line has also been worn by R&B singers Kelly Rowland and Estelle.
On-site Live in Las Galerías from February 25 to April 4, 2015
“Through this residency at El Museo I will explore an extension of myself as a heightened version of a female archetype in an artistic environment. A pink sequins body suit, full make-up, lush flowers, and heels will become part of my daily working persona as I move up and down large ladders and podiums to create an over-sized wall installation that invades the standing space of the audience. Formal requests for mundane everyday items, such as pay stubs, to special artifacts, such as a letter from an old love, will be made on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
My body and the audience involvement are essential elements of this work that will merge into a dialogue between the artwork and physical histories of the objects given to me. By asking museum patrons to submit their personal objects for me to incorporate into the installation space, I am interested in finding ‘how’ rather than ‘what’, art-meaning is to be constructed within this ephemeral and collective dynamic. I am also hoping the work will endorse the community and the artist as celebratory beings.
This will be temporal, and site specific art making. In this way, for a brief moment, the ordinary -of our interior and exterior life- will become special and the overlooked will become evident. I hope to claim these honest, microscopic observations and dialogues amongst viewers. This series of art making is part of my continuous and direct attempt for a productive personal-human relations examination.”