Sustainable designer SAJATA-E (ACC 2018) and filmmaker Fredie Chan (ACC 2018) discuss the role of the artist in community, cultural differences, racial injustice and essential workers. Watch the full recording below or on ACC's YouTube Channel, or find a written recap at https://bit.ly/acc_talk.
SAJATA-E received an ACC Fellowship in 2018, traveling to Hong Kong and Taiwan to engage with artists, urban farmers, and community members around sustainable art practices. Sajata-E is a South Bronx based sustainable designer and community farmer educating in smaller design footprints and farming rights in New York City. She has been running her practice for 20 years and has been written about in publications such as Fader Magazine, New York Times, and other popular blogs.
As a designer and community artist she has created community exhibit works that's been displayed in MoCada Museum and in community institutions for the enjoyment of the local public. She has spoken nationally about the importance of sustainable agriculture and has been honored by The City Council of New York for her work as a designer, mainly for creating programming for senior (65 and over) alternative textile design education. Sajata runs two design studios in the South Bronx, one of which is also an in-person retail outlet for online store properties.
Fredie Chan received an ACC Fellowship in 2018 to explore documentary filmmaking and participate in community-centered film programs in New York. An award-winning independent filmmaker based in Hong Kong, his films focus on grassroots' communities and social activism. SAJATA-E (ACC 2018) introduced Fredie to the beauty and challenges of the Bronx community and local art scene, which led to his collaboration with organizers in Harlem and Brooklyn.
Following his experience in New York, Fredie planned to visit Appalshop, renowned media, arts, and education center in Eastern Kentucky. However, his journey was impacted by COVID-19, turning Fredie from observer to community organizer. He devoted himself to helping the student community in his accommodation at International House, calling for voluntary aid from civil groups.
In April, Fredie decided to suspend his trip and return to Hong Kong, where he had been making documentary video diaries responding to global fights against police misconduct. During the time of social distancing, his latest short film Uneasy Walk 回家路途 was presented in the virtual seminar series hosted by Walkative Society, Royal College of Art in London. In such a time of global crisis, how does he perceive ACC fellows' connection to the globe?