where we came from & where we are going

March 09, 2019 - April 20, 2019


where we came from & where we are going
March 9 - April 20, 2019

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 9, 6–8pm
Curatorial Talk: Saturday, March 9, 6 pm

Curator: Kimi Kitada
Artists:  Eliseo Casiano, Dhanashree Gadiyar, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Keisha Scarville, and Karina Aguilera Skvirsky.

Transformer is proud to present where we came from & where we are going, a group exhibition curated by Kimi Kitada and featuring works by Eliseo Casiano, Dhanashree Gadiyar, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Keisha Scarville, and Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, that consider the precarious status of immigrants in the U.S.

Over 44 million immigrants currently reside in the United States. During the Trump administration, immigration issues have become increasingly pervasive and urgent. The rhetoric employed by politicians on these matters often capitalizes on fear, racism, and xenophobia.

Exploring immigration through the mining of family histories and personal narratives, where we came from & where we are going asks viewers to consider the complexities of immigration reform, nationhood, and migration through the artists’ perspectives, emphasizing that all individuals are part of a collective humanity. Integrating the past and the present, the featured artworks create new representations of hybrid cultural identity, highlighting the migration of both people and objects, and investigating topics of displacement, isolation, cultural assimilation, and government surveillance, among other pressing issues.

Exhibition curator Kimi Kitada shares: “In the publication Can We Solve the Migration Crisis? writer Jacqueline Bhabha outlines a historical trajectory of migration. She contends that there are four broad driving forces of human migration globally - a migration of desperation, colonial migrations, the migration driven by the quest for a better quality of life, and immigration motivated by the desire to further trade and commerce. The narratives in this exhibition focus largely on the pursuit for a better quality of life, and also question the realities of the ‘American Dream’ for many immigrants.”

Kitada continues: “Breathing new life into family stories and tracing their own personal lineage while calling into question the personal, the political, and power dynamics, the compelling narratives featured throughout the exhibition are relevant not only to immigrant audiences, but also to any individual in our society.”

where we came from & where we are going was selected for presentation at Transformer via the organization’s first open call for proposals shared in summer 2018.  


Eliseo Angel Casiano is a Chicano painter and Oklahoma native. Through the creation of re-imagined portraiture he interprets biographical events that examine representations of race, family relationships and his own maneuverability through a space of otherness. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from East Central University in Ada, OK and his Master of Fine Arts from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. Casiano has recently created a scholarship fund at East Central University in his mother’s name that provides an annual stipend for a women or non- binary person of color in the studio arts program. His paintings have been shown widely across the United States, including the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. He was a recent fellow at the Vermont Studio Center and his work was featured in the summer issue of New American Paintings, No. 136. He is currently based in Tucson, AZ.

Dhanashree Gadiyar is a visual artist, educator, arts administrator from India currently living and working in New York. She has a Bachelors in Painting from India and a Masters in Fine Arts from City College of NewYork, CUNY. She has done fellowships with the Bronx Museum and The Laundromat Project. Dhanashree has facilitated workshops with The Studio Museum Harlem, Pelham Art Center and Kelly St garden. Her latest public project is a piano that she designed for the world’s largest public project, Sing for Hope. She currently works as the Director of ArTechCollective, an arts studio for adults with learning and developmental disabilities in the Bronx. She has shown her work at different venues in New York City and India.

Gelare Khoshgozaran is an artist and writer who, in 2009 was transplanted from street protests in a city of four seasons to the windowless rooms of the University of Southern California where aesthetics and politics were discussed in endless summers. Using time-based media and experimental film, her interdisciplinary practice spans literary theory, translation, and fiction writing. Her films, video essays, installations and performances have been presented in solo and group exhibitions at venues such as the New Museum, the Queens Museum, the Hammer Museum, LA><ART, Human Resources, Articule (Montreal), Beursschouwburg (Brussels) and Pori Art Museum (Pori, Finland). Her essays and interviews on art, politics and culture have been published in contemptorary, The Brooklyn Rail, Parkett, X-TRA, Ajam Media Collective and Temporary Art Review, among others. She was the recipient of a Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant (2015) and an Art Matters Award (2017).

Keisha Scarville (b. Brooklyn, NY; lives Brooklyn, NY) weaves together themes dealing with transformation, place, and the unknown. She studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Parsons/The New School. Her work has shown at the Studio Museum of Harlem, Rush Arts Gallery, BRIC Arts Media House, Lesley Heller Gallery, Contact Gallery in Toronto, Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, Museum of Contemporary Diasporan Arts, Baxter St CCNY, Lightwork, and The Brooklyn Museum of Art. Scarville has taken part in residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program, BRIC Workspace Residency Program, and Light Work Residency Program. Her work has been featured and reviewed in the New York Times, Vice, Transition, Nueva Luz, Small Axe, The Village Voice, and Hyperallgeric. Collections include the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Currently, Scarville is an adjunct faculty member at the International Center of Photography and Parsons School of Art & Design in New York.

Karina Aguilera Skvirsky is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in photography, video and performance. Her work has been exhibited internationally in group and solo exhibitions. In 2015 she was awarded a Fulbright grant and a Jerome Foundation Grant to produce “The Perilous Journey of María Palacios”, a performance-based film that premiered in the 2016 Cuenca Biennale curated by Dan Cameron.

In 2010 she participated in There is always a cup of sea for man to sail, the 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), where she exhibited work from her project, Memories of Development. Skvirsky's work has been exhibited internationally in group and solo shows including: Centro de la imagen, DF, MX (2018), Centro de arte contemporaneo Quito, EC (2018), The Deutsche Bank, NY, NY (2018), Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY (2017), Ponce + Robles Gallery, Madrid, SP (2017), The Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA (2016), Hansel & Gretel Picture Garden Pocket Utopia, NY, NY (2014), DPM Gallery, Guayaquil, Ecuador (2014) and others.   

She has received grants from: Creative Capital (2019), The National Association of Latino Arts & Culture (NALAC), San Antonio, TX (2018), Fulbright Scholar Program (2015), The Jerome Foundation (2015) and others.

Skvirsky is an Associate Professor of art at Lafayette College, Easton, PA. She is represented by Ponce + Robles Gallery in Spain.

Image Credit: Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, video still from The Perilous Journey of Maria Rosa Palacios / El peligros viaje de Maria Rosa Palacios, 2016.

EXHIBITION HOURS: Wednesday-Saturday, 12-6pm and by appointment.