"The pandemic has created a kind of symbolic ground level: we all want to survive and continue. We have a brief glimmer-moment to consider how to do that."
What are you currently working on?
In 2019, I participated in artist residencies in Rishikesh, India and Sacramento, California. Sacramento is my home town, my family is there. I left Sacramento to attend graduate school at Hunter College in New York. The Sacramento residency called the Ali Youssefi Project was intensive. I had an exhibition at the Verge Center for the Arts which just ended last week.
What I’m working on is a continuation of some of the ideas, materials and methods started there. I'm using synthetic material bags in different configurations including a large work that combines bags, a line of manila rope, and silk shawls. It is called What Can Brown Do For You. The work is about changing the colonial history of this country that creates boundaries, borders and marginalizes so many. The intersection of race, immigration policy, buried history, and empire building are part of this anti-colonial work.
Has your art making shifted in response to the pandemic? How?
The 'shelter in place' mandate has created an extraordinary reflective moment for the entire world. Everything is shifting. Seems like today, March 23, is the first day in the last two weeks that was not a 'major day.' The feeling I have today is a kind or collective resignation or surrender to the pandemic. I'll see how this affects my art work.
What is the role that art can play in helping us confront our new reality?
For now, Artists can participate in the new realities by contributing on basic levels: supporting other people who need help. As Artists, we are educated, have a sense of history, and a critical nature. We are reflective. These are qualities that we can share with others and make an immediate difference
It’s a new world. I want to use this reflective period to examine my own priorities and strategies for living. Additionally, I want to continue thinking that links humanity throughout the world. The pandemic has created a kind of symbolic ground level: we all want to survive and continue. We have a brief glimmer-moment to consider how to do that.
Michael Pribich lives in New York City with his wife, Esperanza Cortés. They are both visual artists with studio practices. Michael's work is informed by the social justice aspects of labor. He looks at the working conditions of laborers in New York and throughout the word. See more of Michael's work here.