‘Early Encounters’ to Open on Governors Island




Artist Patrick Singh for Early Encounters
French artist, Patrick Singh for Early Encounters on Governor’s Island

What would you do if given a two-family house in Colonel Row, Governors Island, with over 12,000 square feet of space?  The West Harlem Art Fund took the house and filled it with art made from grass, moss, paper, ceramics, glass and video throughout the entire space, from the front yard to the basement.  Early Encounters opening this weekend.

Ben Wright for Early Encounters
Glass artist, Benjamin Wright for the exhibit ‘Early Encounters’ on Governor’s Island

Seven artists joined the West Harlem Arts Fund earlier in the year to visit the two-family home, built in 1905, which would be used for the art installation, Early Encounters. The space consists of two floors and a large attic, divided into four rooms, and hadn’t been occupied since 1996.

The exhibit explores how early inhabitants responded to light, sky, and their earthly surroundings in their “New World.”  The mixed-media exhibition focuses on the early encounters and interactions of the Lenape Indians, Africann slaves and European explorers ~ Dutch, African, Caribbean, French ~ on the island in 1624.

The island, which was known as Pagganuck or Nut Island, was the first place settled by the Dutch, prior to their move to the Island of Manhattan, and forming the colony of New Amsterdam. It was an Island flush with a variety of tree species from Hickory, and Oak to Chestnut trees. It was also known to be a site for fishing among the Lenapes.  The exhibit, Early Encounters will highlight the natural riches of the island by the materials used by the artists.

Jorge Luis Rodriguez
Artist, Jorge Luis Rodriguez for ‘Early Encounters’ on Governor’s Island

Participating artists include Iliana Emilia Garcia, Scherezade Garcia, Sai Morikawa, Jorge Luis Rodriguez, Patrick Singh, Dianne Smith, Benjamin Wright.

Early Encounters, presented by the West Harlem Hart Fund, is supported by Akemi Suzuki, Sai Morikawa, NY Wave Art Project and Dessart.  The exhibit will be on view from May through July 29, 2018, located on Governors Island, Colonel’s Row, building 404A, on Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 5pm.

Check the Program Calendar for Governors Island to see what other events are on tap while you’re there, including the new, summertime skating rink opening on Saturday, May 26th along Governors Island’s Western shore.

Following these Artists off Governors Island ~ Iliana Emilia Garcia and Scherezade Garcia are currently in the Hunter East Harlem/El Museo del Barrio exhibit, QUEENIE. You will remember Scherezade Garcia & Iliana Emilia Garcia (The Garcia Sisters)  gorgeous work in the Taller Boricua Gallery exhibit, Home is Gold last year, and Scherezade’s work in the exhibit, Harlem is Home at CCCADI.  You will find the sculpture artist, Jorge Luis Rodriguez in Marcus Garvey Park, with the current installation Atlas of the Third Millennium. It is worth mentioning that Mr. Rodriguez was the very first Percent for Art artist in NYC, with his permanent art installation entitled Growth on view in the East Harlem Art Park.