Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) is pleased to announce the 12 grant recipients for the 2022 Wherewithal Grants funding cycle. Each artist or artist collective will receive $5,000 for either a collaborative project or research.
The Research Grants recipients are: Rasha Abdulhadi, Safiyah Cheatam & Hope Willis, Larry Cook, Deirdre Darden, Rex Delaaran, Monica Jahan Bose, and Armando Lopez-Bircann. The Project Grants recipients are: Fabiola Ching & Mayah Lovell, Ayana Cotton, Dirt, Imogen-Blue Hinojosa, and Naoko Wowsugi. Over the next year, the artists will organize projects and conduct research around such fascinating and timely topics as club photography, queering Palestinian embroidery, climate injustice, O-1 artist visas, and worldbuilding through Black aesthetics.
An independent panel of four curators reviewed 114 applications and recommended the final 12 for funding. The panelists were Monica Peña, Programs Manager, Locust Projects (Miami); Eriola Pira, Curator, The Vera List Center (New York); Victoria Reis, Executive & Artistic Director, Transformer (DC); and Tiffany Ward, Curator and Founder, Mare Residency (Baltimore/London).
Wherewithal Grants are generously funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts as part of its Regional Regranting Program and managed by WPA.
Rasha Abdulhadi — Queering tatreez
Abdulhadi’s research will focus on the question, “How can tatreez, traditional Palestinian embroidery, be queered, and how can that queering re-engage this indigenous art form as a practice of communal creativity and pre-literate communication?”
Monica Jahan Bose — Mukhe Mukhe/Mouth-to-Mouth
Researching the intangible heritage of songs, poetry, and food in DC and Bangladesh, to reframe the story of climate injustice in these two communities.
Safiyah Cheatam & Hope Willis — Kufis and Pepperoni Pizza
A multimedia oral history project that seeks to answer the question, “What influences drove a significant portion of DC’s Black youth to practice Islam and identify as Muslims from 2008–2012?”
Larry Cook — Expanding the Archive
Cook is researching the aesthetics of prison and club photography, and their relationship to the photographic archive. Through this research, he hopes to elevate these forms of image-making and develop an archive of club vernacular photography that can serve as source material for other scholars and artists.
Rex Delaaran — TRANSLATIONS: A research into identity, language, and embodiment
Archival forms and transdisciplinary languages are central to Delaaran’s research, centering questions that include: what can a physical archive of experience look like? In what ways do we translate our personal and historical archives into our bodies?
Deirdre Darden — Colored exits: the act of liberating oneself from harm
Darden’s research will explore the concept and history of the act of liberating oneself from harm; a concept she refers to as a “colored exit.” She explains, “For black women it is in us to abscond from danger in the name of self preservation, and then use such freedom to liberate others.”
Armando Lopez-Bircann — Cy-Fae: Queer EcoFeminist Futures in Extended Reality
Lopez-Bircann’s research will focus on how artists can nurture queer ecofeminist thought through emerging Extended Reality (XR) artwork and social technologies to communicate a compelling, optimistic vision of the future.
Antonius Bui & Naoko Wowsugi — Extraordinary Artists International: A Roadmap to the O-1 Visa
This project will result in a guidebook for first time O-1 applicants. It takes the position that these immigration processes are unjust obstructions to living and working in the US that have significant structural and individual consequences. They aim to cultivate a solidarity network among visa seekers, aspiring allies, and supportive cultural institutions in the US.
Fabiola Ching & Mayah Lovell — dyke’s day, a holigay
A multimedia and multisensory publication about a surrealist holiday for lesbians, edited by Mayah Lovell and Fabiola Ching. Writers and artists will work together to write and visualize a continuation of an existing manuscript by Lovell, resulting in a 25-30 page body of work exploring what a holiday for lesbians can look, sound, feel, taste, and smell like.
Ayana Zaire Cotton — Seeda School
Grounded in an obsession with the immaterial generativity of Black study, Seeda School is a conceptual education platform rooted in worldbuilding. This experimental pedagogical project explores the Black feminist legacy of teaching and leverages online course frameworks, video, and the aesthetic of speculative fiction to help participants imagine new worlds.
Dirt — Labor of Love: And Other Lies We’re Sold
Dirt will commission original research and content from established writers and organizers who are working to explore, expand, and expose topics of labor, equity, and socio-political justice within the arts.
Imogen-Blue Hinojosa — Cathedral of Cloth
Hinojosa seeks to engage a general public in the discourses surrounding trans rights, including sex workers, trauma, and the need for social reform to protect trans women of color. This new series will utilize film and textiles as a means to draw parallels between epic poetry and non-fictional epics, and the histories and stories that exist in her community.