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Chef Marcus Samuelsson Flavors Summer with Celebration of Harlem Art – Cultured Magazine

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This summer, New York is coming alive again—and Red Rooster chef Marcus Samuelsson is deep in the folds of the city’s renaissance. A fixture in the Harlem food scene, and with restaurants worldwide, the chef, too, has long supported the arts. A collector himself, his Red Rooster eateries in New York and Miami are hung with works by some of the canon’s most important Black artists, from Gordon Parks to Sanford Biggers.

Now, Samuelsson’s new summer collaboration with Bombay Bramble, which included a series of virtual culinary classes by the chef and three other renowned Black peers, culminates in the transformation of outdoor billboard spaces into rich artworks by New York native artists Cey Adams and Dianne Smith next month. Despite our tumultuous and uncertain times, artists have, often prolifically, persevered in the pandemic and the output is as exciting as ever before. Honoring the tragedy of the past year and a half while contributing to the preservation of this creative future, Chef Samuelsson is continuing to uplift Black voices in art.

Liza Mullett: What prompted you to incorporate artists into this culinary series with Bombay Bramble? How does art intersect with your work as a chef?

Marcus Samuelsson: Red Rooster really is built on four pillars of African American culture: food, hospitality, music, and art. As you enter our restaurant, the experience I wanted to build is all around art, music, hospitality and food. And in that work, I got to know some of the most amazing artists in the world. So to be able to be a curator for Bombay in this project, to be able to point out some incredible artists like Dianne Smith, Cey Adams—but even the chefs, we are part craftspeople and part artists. We think very creatively. So even pointing at the young chefs that are part of this, Tristen Epps, Joseph Johnson and Adrienne Cheatham, it’s been a lot of fun.

Dianne Smith, Jubilee.

LM: did you choose the two artists that you wanted to collaborate with for this billboard project?

MS: Cey Adams is an artist that I’ve worked with a lot. He’s an incredible artist in the street space, translating what’s going on in the community onto walls and onto canvas, whether that’s graffiti or traditional painting. I felt like he’s a perfect fit. And Dianne, she’s a friend and is part of our team at Red Rooster. Especially last summer during the Black Lives Matter movement, she was the main force for a lot of outdoor art symbols and the artistry that was done in Harlem. Working with Dianne, you learn something, but it’s always an amazing experience.

LM: Could you tell us about the artworks that are being created?

MS: Harlem is such a vibrant community in general. Walk in Harlem and you find beautiful murals, you find the graffiti, and we are super excited about adding to the outdoor art that is only in Harlem. Community is art; they’re one in the same. So we’re just really excited about adding a Cey piece, adding a Dianne piece to the landscape of Harlem and people appreciating it.

Artwork by Cey Adams.

LM: Red Rooster, as you’ve said, is involved in food, music, art, everything. It’s played such an important role in the New York food scene. How do you seek to adapt that notoriety to support Black artists, both in your own community now and in the future?

MS: We opened Red Rooster to really broadcast and manifest African American food and talent. There’s a pathway: when you’ve worked in the kitchen, you then go on and create your own business. Tristen is now the second chef at Red Rooster Miami. Adrienne Cheatham started with us at Red Rooster, now she has her own Sunday Best. Restaurants in a community like Harlem have such an important trampling of talent, and then they go out and conquer the world. I’m glad that Bombay is giving us this opportunity to not only broadcast talent, but also highlight that this is a fun summer. We need that after the year that we came off. People haven’t been social in a long time. I just think that this is a summer where festivals and things slowly are going to come back and it’s all going to be outside. It’s exciting.

LM: Coming off the final waves of the pandemic, what has it been like? So much of your work is involved with bringing people together. So what does it mean for you now, coming out of this?

MS: First of all, you have to acknowledge your privilege. It was a shock to all of us who lost loved ones. It impacted us in the restaurant community, but also in America and worldwide. I was fortunate enough to have access to healthcare. For me, it’s more about gratitude, and then how do you figure out family and mental health? And then you’re going to do the business—we survived, some of my businesses did not, but most of our businesses did. And then it’s about the people that worked in those businesses. And how do you make sure that the crew is good, in terms of hours, but also mentally? And then there are new ideas to consider. Virtual cooking classes were a very small part of what we did before. Now, it’s a massive part of how we can broadcast and be engaged. You have to do it with gratitude; look at what we all have been through and then how do we slowly come back and enjoy that moment.

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Oak Bay sets aside $27,000 for Indigenous art at muncipal hall – Saanich News

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Oak Bay’s newly renovated chambers will feature a new piece of public art commissioned from an Indigenous artist.

The district allocated one per cent of the budget for the hall renovation, $7,000 to public art. Combined with the annual public art allocation, the district has $27,000 to spend on a work for municipal hall.

The move to work with a local artist, specifically from the Lekwungen speaking people on whose land Oak Bay sits, was unanimous among council members.

“This is a rare opportunity to have the resources to do that and as the renovated municipal hall reopens, have that be one of the centrepieces,” Coun. Andrew Appleton said during council discussions July 12.

Still in the earliest of stages, conversation surrounded the how of the project.

Oak Bay is between arts laureates, but liaison Coun. Hazel Braithwaite said the public arts committee is taking on that leadership role.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay artist leaves land to Victoria Native Friendship Centre

Coun. Tara Ney lamented the district’s lack of policy or set protocol for engaging in such initiatives.

She voiced a need to create pathways for engaging so it’s not done piecemeal, and instead with confidence and in culturally appropriate way.

Mayor Kevin Murdoch, who is routinely in conversation with local First Nations leadership, said the district is doing well in the absence of policy, always seeking guidance and building relationships in small ways.

Council agreed working toward something more formal is something they could pursue.

“This does require more formality and we need to start to establish those connections so we’re consistent and so we’re completely aware and sensitive to their needs,” Coun. Cairine Green said.

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READ ALSO: Greater Victoria residents invited to blessing of Indigenous mural celebrating solidarity

c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca


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‘Lynn Valley LOVE’: artist collaborates with public to remember victims of stabbing tragedy – News 1130

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NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Earlier this year, the tightly knit North Vancouver community was shaken after a stabbing claimed the life of one woman and injured six others.

One local woman says, since the incident, the community has had its security threatened, which is why she is behind the newly unveiled art project “to bring some love and positivity back into that space.”

Modern quilter, Berene Campbell, has worked on projects across the country and world, but her latest artwork “Lynn Valley LOVE Project,” was sparked by the tragedy right outside her home.

“This one was just down the road from my home. So for some reason, it just felt like I had to respond to that since I’ve done it for other communities. And now there was a tragedy in my own community. I felt like I needed to do something.”

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So, Campbell went to work, collaborating with residents in the community and people across the country.

Today, if you walk into the Lynn Valley Library, you’ll be greeted with quilted panels spelling ‘LOVE’ “hung there to represent the general community to bring love back into that space.”

Banners made by hundreds are hung over the library stairwell.

“People do it to give back to the community to make them feel good [and] it’s also very healing for the participants to be creative and to make something beautiful and also to be a part of the bigger whole project and to feel a part of the community. So when you see that many people participating, it’s amazing.”

And Campbell says the turnout of participates was unexpected but incredible adding, she couldn’t have done it on her own.

“There’s something incredibly powerful about bringing multiple people together, and the healing of collective energy is much more powerful than one person making all of that work themselves on their own.

“There’s something just amazing about people working together for the greater good.”

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VIDEO: Greater Victoria master carver says Indigenous art a way to restore culture – Oak Bay News – Oak Bay News

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For internationally recognized master carver and lifelong artist, Temosen (Charles) Elliott, his art is a way of communicating with the public that First Nations Peoples are restoring their culture, once lost to colonialism.

A member of the T’sartlip First Nation, Elliott’s works are cherished in collections worldwide.

As a child he practiced art in many forms and when he attended T’sartlip Indian Day School, he won a drawing contest meant to advocate for awareness around tuberculosis.

It was through carving small pieces and drawing daily that he knew art would be a part of his life forever.

“Every evening in our family home, I’d wait until dishes were done and I’d sit down after dinner and draw and draw,” Elliott recalled.

ALSO READ: Indigenous woman issues demands for residential school records in meeting with Royal B.C. Museum

His work can today be found at the University of Victoria, the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, Butchart Gardens and many more places across B.C. and in private collections worldwide.

“When you’re doing the artwork, you’re just putting the words to images,” he said, explaining that his work stands as a silent ambassador for First Nations Peoples.

Elliott has also mentored many emerging artists, including his own children and grandchildren who he said will carry on Indigenous artistry as part of their family legacy.

“I want younger First Nations Peoples to pick it up and do it, because it’s like speaking your language and holding your culture in place,” he said. “Don’t be discouraged; if you are, keep going because there are teachers around like myself who want to share their knowledge.”


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