THE GOLDEN CAGE 

The dominant socio-political voice of the United States has seemed to sway towards the open support of oppression, cultural erasure, xenophobia, and injustices.  In America, the unyielding appetite of corporate interest compiled with rapid over development and hyper investment of urban centers is creating a luxury and boutique experience that fails to provide its citizens basic human rights.  Yet and still, the United States somehow remains the largest resettlement destination in the world.  The myth that the streets are lined with gold has turned to a dream to be encaged by the “La Jaula De Oro” of our free market and oppressive institutions.

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The city of Pittsburgh serves as an interesting microcosm for the larger issue happening across the country.  This city, with its newly formed cultural identity as a place “on the rebound” is taking full part in the American phenomenon of hyper corporate capitalism and reinvestment that creates the “golden cage”.  Operating in this new regional ecosystem is often a difficult adjustment for the layman, especially without the very specific job skills needed to enter into these new opportunities.   This is without mention of the homogeneous demographics of these new sectors and industries. This “La Jaula De Oro” project is meant to serve as a space where artists can use personal and community voice to critique, commend, or condemn issues across our nations conscious.

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ROBERT HODGE: Born in Houston, Texas and raised in the City’s Third Ward district, Robert Hodge studied visual art at the Atlanta College of Art and more recently at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has exhibited his work in numerous national and international institutions, including Boyd Satellite Gallery (New Orleans, LA), the Project Row Houses (Houston, TX), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX), Contemporary Arts Museum (Houston, TX), New Gallery of Modern Art (Charlotte, NC), Coma Art Space (Los Angeles, CA), and Contemporary Museum of East Africa (Nairobi, Kenya). Named amongst the Houston Press’ 100 Most Creative People in 2011, the artist has also received grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Houston Arts Alliance and The Idea Fund. Hodge currently lives and works in Houston.

Darell Kinsel: https://www.instagram.com/dskinsel/?hl=en    https://www.boomuniverse.co/

D.S. Kinsel is an artist, art educator and co-founder of BOOM Concepts, a gallery, art and activist hub. BOOM Concepts is, Kinsel explains, “dedicated to the development of artists and creative entrepreneurs representing marginalized communities.” Kinsel and his BOOM family and friends have created a space with a focus on intersectionality beyond representation, a space of caring, celebration and love for under-recognized artists in the Pittsburgh region. 

Bekezela Mguni: www.bekezelamguni.com

BEKEZELA MGUNI is a radical librarian, activist, artist and abundant bodied femme. She believes that the collective sharing of knowledge, beauty and inspiration is a part of life’s purpose and brings that intentional spirit to her work. Born in San Fernando, Trinidad, she immigrated to New York at the age of 11 and lived in the Caribbean neighborhoods bustling in the hearts of Brooklyn and Queens before coming to Pittsburgh.

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Maritza Mosquera: https://maritzamosquera.net/

Maritza Mosquera is a visual artist, poet, painter, and cook whose creations often accompany dialogues with community. Her visual works are installation “diaries” about relationships and ideas referencing personal and public desires, such as the earth’s healing from fracking, intimacy, criminal justice, the story of skin, the end of racism, home recipes, and the power of voice.

Mr. Whitlock is an interdisciplinary Artist, educator and business owner working out of Pittsburgh PA. His work is about the discovery, identity, representation, and struggle of Blackness (the physical, mental, and emotional identity of the black body). Whitlock's practice often involves printmaking; specifically screen printing and relief processes. Printmaking  serves as a language for research and discovery and lends itself perfectly to experimentation and provides an accessibility to an experiential understanding of the work.

Robert Williams is an artist living and working in New York New York.