Meet our newest staff member, Director of Programs and Community Engagement Hatuey Ramos-Fermín!
How did you get connected with The LP?
In 2011 I did a project called “EAsT Harlem,” at Taller Boricua for the exhibition “Barrio-O-Rama,” curated by Christine Licata. It was a collaborative curatorial art project that investigated alternative solutions to the on-going problem of fresh food access in East Harlem. One component of the project was a tote bag printed with a map of the neighborhood including where to find healthy food. We worked with The Laundromat Project and artist Shani Peters to help visitors silkscreen the maps onto tote bags. That was the first time I got connected with The Laundromat Project.
Do you have your own creative practice? If so, tell us more!
I’m an artist, and I’m interested in ways of learning more about how our surroundings came to be, and how we can use histories to find creative ways to have a dialogue with a diverse range of people in order to influence and ultimately change things for the better.
Please tell us about an artist, curator, activist, or project that has inspired you.
I’ve been inspired by the work of Martha Rosler, Group Material, Theaster Gates, Rick Lowe, Ghana Think Tank, Young Lords Party, Beta Local among many others.
What is your favorite…
My mother’s Coconut Milk Fudge and Papaya Dessert.
The Godfather Part II.
…book about art or social practice?
If You Lived Here: The City in Art, Theory, and Social Activism: A Project by Martha Rosier, edited by Brian Wallis.
This one is hard, but one of my favorite bands is Café Tacuba.
…thing about your neighborhood?
People know each other and there are many that have been living here for generations, a rare thing to find in New York City these days.
Where do you do your laundry?
Blue & White Laundromat and the 437 Laundromat in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx.
In your opinion, why does art matter?
Art is an invitation to re-imagine the world, it is where we find new possibilities, discover who we are, and what we may become.
Has your work with The LP changed the way you look at / think about art? How so?
In 2012, I was a Laundromat Project’s Create Change Artist in Residence with Elizabeth Hamby. We did a project in our local laundromat in the Bronx called Mind the Gap / La Brecha. This project engaged our neighbors in different ways to talk about their relationship to the waterfront (which is very close to the laundromat) and what they wanted this waterfront to look like if they could change it.
We were able to have insightful conversations with our neighbors, children, elderly folks and everyone in between, and also connect those conversations to local activists who are advocating for better infrastructure and access to our waterfront.
The Laundromat Project gave us a platform to connect everyday people’s stories and visions to grassroots activist work to improve our community.
What are your dreams / ambitions for The LP?
I believe in the potential of artists working alongside everyday people in public spaces. The Laundromat Project highlights existing voices, narratives, and creativity where people live. My ambition is that while supporting artists’ projects that are asking hard questions and celebrating neighbors, the Laundromat Project not only envisions but continues to work towards a more just world.
What’s the address for your blog and / or website?
What’s your Twitter handle?
Hatuey Ramos-Fermín is an artist, educator, and curator based in The Bronx. He is the co-founder of meta local collaborative, a Bronx-based artist collective, and Boogie Down Rides, a bicycling and art project celebrating cycling in the Bronx. He has organized projects and made presentations at a security guard training school (in tribute to Fashion Moda), community centers, churches, restaurants, laundromats, as well as galleries and museums. He has mentored young adults at the Center for Urban Pedagogy, and The Bronx Museum of the Arts, where he also served as Curator of Education. Ramos-Fermín has also participated in the Elizabeth Foundation for the Art’s Shift Residency, and The Laundromat Project’s Create Change Public Artist Residency. He received his BA from the University of Puerto Rico and his MFA from St. Joost Art and Design Academy.