Casita Maria presents the solo exhibition Read to A Child, an exploration of home, identity, self-love, and appreciation by Bronx-based and Ghanaian-born artist Tijay Mohammed, on view in the Casita Maria Gallery March 30, 2023 – August 18, 2023.
This exhibition, part of Casita Maria’s CelebARTE / Celebrate Yourself program, features 10 large-scale collaged works from the artist’s The Ache for Home series. The work is created by upcycling materials like magazines, newspapers, flyers, and posters to construct detailed portraits of children experiencing everyday life–being read to by a loving father, feeling supported as they create art, or expressing joy as they play with friends and family.
A free opening celebration will take place on Thursday, March 30, 2023 from 05:30 p.m. – 08:00 p.m., in the Casita Maria Gallery at 928 Simpson Street, 6th floor, Bronx, NY 10459. Attendees from across the City are welcome to meet the artist, view the work, and enjoy refreshments and DJ music by Delaceiba.
Mohammed’s work is influenced by Maya Angelou’s writings, “The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” His work explores immigrant stories through his personal experience and through universal notions of immigration. His work focuses on children who straddle both continents, including his own daughter’s experience being born in the US and now living in Ghana. He further reflects on the notion of “other” in the United States.
The exhibition will also further the gallery’s role as a teaching tool. This year, we are focused on addressing deepening inequity in literacy rates that has been exacerbated by remote learning during the CoViD-19 pandemic, with educational programs that focus on new and fun ways to learn to read, write and love oneself through the Creative Arts. Mohammed’s work, featuring relatable images paired with celebratory content for young people to read, is the perfect vehicle to achieve this mission.
Tijay Mohammed is a Bronx-based Ghanaian-born artist who has exhibited his works nationally and internationally. He is committed to working with the diverse communities with which he surrounds himself, and organizes workshops and community-based projects for organizations. He has received numerous grants, accolades and residencies. More information about the artist can be found below.
Funding for Read to A Child is provided by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs through the Cultural Development Fund.
For inquiries and additional information about the exhibition, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Casita Maria Online:
Casita Maria Gallery
928 Simpson Street, 6th Floor
Bronx, NY 10459
About the Casita Maria Gallery
Casita Maria Gallery features artwork created by local, national and international artists that celebrates the cultures and communities of the South Bronx and provides opportunities for visitors of all ages to see themselves reflected in the work and feel cultural pride. Using the gallery as a teaching tool, Casita Maria offers free, culturally relevant public programs, tours and lesson plans to build leadership among young people, families and the community. Our programming and the artists we showcase are a testament to the transformative power of the arts. All exhibitions are curated by Gail Heidel, Interim Co-Executive Director.
About The Presenter: Casita Maria
For almost nine decades, Casita Maria has channeled the arts and cultural legacy of the South Bronx to educate, inspire, and empower the young people and families of this community. Casita Maria was New York’s first Latino-serving charitable organization, founded in 1934 to support newly-arrived Puerto Rican migrants in East Harlem.
In 1961, the organization followed this community to the South Bronx, setting down roots in the neighborhood of Hunts Point / Longwood. As the neighborhood diversified into a center for Latino, African American and Caribbean culture, Casita Maria grew into its role as the heart of creativity and the home of success, celebrating traditional and emerging artistic traditions and nurturing the cultures that give the neighborhood life, joy, and a distinctive character.
Each year, we reach 40,000 youth, families, and community members from our headquarters in Hunts Point / Longwood. Guided by our vision of a dynamic and thriving community that celebrates arts and culture as integral to its vitality and success, we operate after school arts education and community arts programs including the Casita Maria Gallery, the nine-piece Latin Jazz ensemble BronX BandA featuring Arturo O’Farrill, mural creation, book clubs, and the South Bronx Culture Festival.
About Tijay Mohammed
Ghanaian-born artist Tijay Mohammed has exhibited his works at national and international locations including Katonah Museum of Art NY, Hudson River Museum NY, Materials for the Arts NY, Art League Houston TX, Longwood Art Gallery NY, Green Drake Art Gallery PA, Gallery 1202 CA, and The National Museum of Ghana.
Tijay has also organized workshops and community-based projects for organizations including the Studio Museum Harlem NY, Hudson River Museum NY, Brooklyn Museum NY, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling NY, Children’s Museum of Manhattan NY, Wallach Art Gallery NY, University of Ghana and Pinto Community Centre Trinidad and Tobago.
In addition, he has received numerous accolades and residencies, from The Laundromat Project NY, Children’s Museum of Manhattan NY, Hudson River Museum NY, Materials for the Arts NY, Wave Hill NY, Ravel d’Art Cote d’ivore, Harmattan Workshop Nigeria, Global Crit Clinic and Asiko Artist Residency Ghana. He has also received grants from institutions including Arts Fund, the Bronx Council on the Arts’ Artist for Community and New Work grant, and the Spanish Embassy Ghana Painters Award.
The artist currently resides in Bronx, NY and maintains a studio in Ghana that serves as a sanctuary for visiting artists to interact with local residents, promoting multicultural dialogue through story circles and art workshops.
As an Artist, I consistently demonstrate keen interest in addressing issues that confront my community and humanity. My works address the issues of “excess” in both production and consumption of countless products, by integrating the concept of materials reuse and upcycling I create multimedia site-specific installations, collage and paintings, which are viewed as group portraits that communicate the hopefulness, aesthetic and conceptual beauty of waste from our lives that may have been ignored or worthless to their bearers, yet valuable for my creations.
My perceptive use of commonly found objects (fabric scraps, metro cards, jewelry, cardboard, paper, photographs, stories, etc.) creates poetic representations of real-world issues such as migration, childcare, gender, social and environmental justice, whilst encouraging material reuse and upcycling in reference to climate change. History plays an essential role in my process of repurposing objects and stories to reflect the nostalgia of place and time, utopian cultures, and traditions in juxtaposition to the complexities of the African, African American and minority experiences.
The interactive process I use is inspired by “Sankofa”, a Ghanaian Adinkra symbol which means “to learn from the past for a prosperous future,” demonstrating a commitment to community, self-love, and appreciation. I see my audience as collaborators and participants in soliciting materials and creating story circles around my theme. As a futurist, I deem it a responsibility to positively impact any community I find myself in for the enhancement of this and generations yet unborn.