I am ecstatic to announce the The Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project has been included in Phase II of the Four Corners Public Arts mural program. I have be working closely with curator Rebecca Jampol, on a 37′ long mural honoring the work and contributions of 6 artists from the project. The mural will be completed by the end of 2020.
“The Four Corners Public Arts partnership is thrilled to announce three new public art projects coming to Downtown Newark for Fall/Winter 2020/2021. In the upcoming weeks, FCPA phase II will commence with: The Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project by Colleen Gutwein O’Neal; Will You Be My Monument by Salamishah Tillet and Alliyah Allen of New Arts Justice at Rutgers University – Newark, designer Chantal Fischzang, photographer Scheherazade Tillet and Keary Rosen of the Form Design Studio at Express Newark; and We Are Home led by Yeimy Gamez Castillo in collaboration with the ImVisible project and artist Layqa Nuna Yawar.
This phase of the program sought proposals that directly address community building through public art. Each project includes thoughtful and intentional collaboration, engages various audiences, and brings to life narratives that are constructed through open community dialogue. “We are living in time that demands that public art represents the diversity and dynamism of the communities in which it is made,” says Salamishah Tillet, Director of New Arts Justice. “To meet this moment, Newark artists are collaborating on murals and monuments that reflect who we are and by doing so, are reimagining the vibrant possibilities of who we, as a city and nation, can be.” “
‘We Are the Ghosts of Our Future’ encapsulates the analog portion of The Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project. Utilizing vintage Jem Jr. box cameras manufactured in Newark in the 1940s, Colleen Gutwein O’Neal forgoes the slow and methodical techniques of portraiture in favor of a more urgent and instinctive approach. A process that archives artists’ personalities in fuzzy, mysterious images emerging against a backdrop of vanishing architecture, forgotten places and artists’ workspaces. Putting forth a diverse cross-section of participants, the ghostly prints provide a subtle yet provocative commentary on the place of the artist in today’s society and the importance of honoring and documenting their contributions.
“ The camera was manufactured in Newark on Jelliff Ave in the 1940’s by the J.E. Mergott Company, and helps me to stray from the perfection of a digital image, and document these artists through my own artistic process. The gritty, fuzzy Jem Jr. images allow for disruption, ambiguity, and self-reflection by viewers, and create a truly unique perspective on archiving working artists. “ -Colleen Gutwein O’Neal
The Jem Jr. images are created in conjunction with modern, digital portraits depicting the artists in their studios or homes. The growing digital archive, the first such directory of significant visual artists in Newark, provides a useful tool and networking resource for the community at large and beyond. This portion of the project can be viewed at: https://www.newarkartsphotodoc.com/