LAAGP started as an artwork dreamt up in 2015 by two young artists, Maia Chao and Josephine Devanbu, grappling with the relevance of our chosen field to a wider public. Both of us come from upper-middle class, interracial (Chinese/White and Indian/White, respectively) households with teaching artist parents. The value of art and art museums was a given. But we recognized that this assumption was firmly rooted in the intersectional privileges of our identities. Having both studied social science in addition to art, we craved a candid conversation about the structural inequalities of art and its institutions.
As a collective, we are committed to collaborative and participatory art that models counter-institutions, alternative spaces, and redistribution. We seek to shift the capitalist framework of scarcity to a framework of abundance, focusing on the potential of pooled resources, bartered skills, and shared spaces.
Maia Chao is an interdisciplinary artist from Providence, RI, whose work—often playful and absurd—uses existing institutions and their systems as sites of social intervention and critique. Working across video, performance, installation and social practice, she is dedicated to art that models counter-institutions, alternative spaces, and redistribution. Chao holds a BA from Brown University and an MFA from RISD. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Grant (2014), Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship (2017), and Van Lier Fellowship (2018). She is based in Brooklyn, NY. www.maiachao.com
Josephine Devanbu is an artist committed to engaging non-traditional audiences, including overworked doctors in a rural health clinic in India, inmates in a Rhode Island prison and migrant workers in California’s Central Valley. Devanbu holds a BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA in Science and Technology Studies from Brown University. She is based in Providence, RI.
MARIA PAULA GARCIA MOSQUERA
Facilitator (Pilot Program, RISD Museum 2016)
Maria Paula Garcia Mosquera is a public historian/cultural worker interested in exploring ways to narrow the gap that exist between institutions working with heritage and a broader public. This interest has taken her to work in a range of cultural organizations and government institutions, such as the Colombian National Public Radio, the Bogotá’s Office of Culture, Recreation and Sports, and the Museums of the Central Bank of Colombia. Garcia holds a BA in History from the Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia) and is currently an MA candidate in Public Humanities at Brown University.
Researcher (Pilot Program, RISD Museum 2016)
Bryn Pernot is an interdisciplinary researcher and program developer who seeks to bring together fields like anthropology, education, theater, and design to create innovative museum programs that integrate diverse backgrounds and perspectives and provide a space for public participation. Pernot holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and is currently an MA candidate in Public Humanities at Brown University.
We are committed to the potential of artistic intervention as a supplement to direct forms of resistance.
How can we creatively address inequity and interrupt closed hierarchical structures?
How can we use our bureaucratic fluency and access to funds to redistribute institutional money to the public?
How can we develop practices that center marginalized voices without requiring them to assimilate?
How can we destabilize conventional ideas of expertise and frame lived experience as a valid basis for critique?
How can we contribute to knowledge production in a way that shifts policy?
How can we hold institutions accountable and insist on change?