The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) has announced the recipients of the 2021/22 City of Los Angeles (COLA) Individual Artist Fellowships.
These nine fellows will each produce a series, set, or singular new artwork with a grant of $10,000. These original works will be premiered and promoted by the city in the spring of 2022 as part of the 25th edition of this annual initiative.
“The City of Los Angeles is one of the few municipalities in the world that proudly provides fellowship grants for accomplished avant-garde artists, naming them as treasured residents and boosting their mid-career productivity by sponsoring new fabrications that further their arcs of creativity,” said Joe Smoke, DCA’s Grants Administration Division director. “As a service to the public, these fellows will be promoted in a beautiful digital catalog available in June 2022. A limited-edition print run of this publication will also be distributed to city branch libraries, national art schools, and international museums.”
The 2021/22 COLA Individual Artist Fellows in the literary, performing, design, and visual arts are: Literary and Performing Artists — Najite Agindotan, Suchi Branfman, Shonda Buchanan, Jibz Cameron; Design and Visual Artists — Nancy Baker Cahill, Sharon Louise Barnes, York Chang, Danny Jauregui, Yoshie Sakai.
Each of these fellows has demonstrated an exemplary career trajectory. Each has contributed more than 15 years of professional public presentations in the L.A. region. In addition, these artists are highly respected by their peers because of their ongoing creative endeavors and contributions to the community.
The grantees were chosen in several review-rounds by a set of multi-disciplinary peer panelists including a museum curator, three past COLA Fellowship recipients, two local independent curators, a celebrated solo performing artist, and a literary arts organization manager.
COLA is one of the 12 grant-categories offered annually by DCA, and all of the categories honor the synergetic relationship between Los Angeles and its creative entrepreneurs, the spectrum of our collective cultural history, and the city’s status as a global center of creative talent.
Sakai is a video, installation, and performance artist. Her past and present work has always created an uneasy environment that embodies her love-hate relationship with consumerism and pop culture and how they simultaneously perpetuate both ecstasy and extreme anxiety in quotidian life. The style of her performative video work and immersive installations reveals this via a blend of childlike wonder and humor with a dark psychological and social undercurrent achieved through low-fi green screen techniques and DIY costumes, props, and sets.
She plays with exaggerated melodramatic television tropes in her videos, and the corresponding colorful and vibrant installations are equally over the top. Her work at first glance may appear to be a YouTube parody and in conflict with creating something of impact, but for her the exploration of this fine line is where the most meaning is created.
“I am extremely honored and thrilled to be amongst this cohort of Los Angeles artists who have received one of nine COLA Individual Artist Fellowships for 2021-2022,” Sakai told **The Rafu Shimpo.** This was such welcome news to be recognized as an artist who is making a difference in the Los Angeles art scene.
“This fellowship means so much to me at a crucial point in my art trajectory and exactly at a time when I am about to embark on new work. My work, which has always been about the quotidian and generational differences in viewpoints within one’s family (for the most part, my own, as a Japanese American) and its interrelationship with pop culture and capitalism, will further explore these family and societal/social dynamics through my conversations with grandparents, those of others in the community and my own.
“I have to the say though, the emphasis will be on the connections between grandchildren, parents, and grandmothers, as I had a special one with my **Obaa-chan** (‘Grandmother’ in Japanese).”
To learn more about her work, visit www.yoshiesakai.com.
As a leading, progressive arts and cultural agency, DCA empowers Los Angeles’ vibrant communities by supporting and providing access to quality visual, literary, musical, performing, and educational arts programming; managing vital cultural centers; preserving historic sites; creating public art; and funding services provided by arts organizations and individual artists.
Formed in 1925, DCA promotes arts and culture as a way to ignite a powerful dialogue, engage L.A.’s residents and visitors, and ensure L.A.’s varied cultures are recognized, acknowledged, and experienced. DCA’s mission is to strengthen the quality of life in Los Angeles by stimulating and supporting arts and cultural activities, ensuring public access to the arts for residents and visitors alike.
DCA advances the social and economic impact of arts and culture through grant-making; public art; community arts; performing arts; and strategic marketing, development, design, and digital research. DCA creates and supports arts programming, maximizing relationships with other city agencies, artists, and arts and cultural nonprofit organizations to provide excellent service in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.
For more information, visit http://culturela.org or follow DCA on Facebook at facebook.com/culturela, Instagram @culture_la, and Twitter @culture_la.