Meet Fellow Maya Ciarrocchi











Maya Ciarrocchi is a New York City based interdisciplinary artist whose work addresses identity, outsider-ness and the body as a site of history. She received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, a Film/Video Grant from The Jerome Foundation and funding from The Puffin Foundation as well as residencies from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Millay Colony, and the UCross Foundation. Her work has been presented in galleries and institutions, nationally and internationally including, Abrons Arts Center, Anthology Film Archives, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Chocolate Factory, and most recently in a solo exhibition at Kinescope Gallery in the East Village. In addition to her art-making practice, Ciarrocchi has created projections design for dance and theater including the TONY award winning musical The Band’s Visit, currently on Broadway.

Her social practice project Gender/Power, which she co-directs with her collaborative partner Kris Grey, has been presented at Gibney Dance, the Invisible Dog Arts Center, Jack, and Smack Mellon. Gender/Power has received funding support from The MAP Fund and The Franklin Furnace Fund and has been awarded residencies from the Baryshnikov Arts Center, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Process Space. Ciarrocchi earned an MFA from the School of Visual Arts, and a BFA from SUNY Purchase.

Site: Yizkor, is a performance installation that deconstructs the mythologies of my ancestral history and reveals lost and forgotten spaces left by the dead. My research centers on the discovery of destroyed architectural sites in Ożarów, Poland, the shtetl where my family originated. This research will be synthesized into a video and mixed-media installation and live cinema event where I will perform image and text in an interactive projected environment.

Today, there are only traces of the Jewish community that once thrived in Ożarów. Regardless of these erasures, the outline of the town, its streets and central square, maintains the outline of the original shtetl. To create this work, I will visit the remaining architectural sites and those that no longer exist, first through historical and satellite maps and later on location, to map out spaces which have been erased from history. I will recreate these sites as hand-drawn maps, video and architectural renderings. These images will be combined with text made up of my own writing, text from Ożarów’s Yizkor book, and ancient texts discovered during the Fellowship.

Site: Yizkor includes the creation of its own participatory Yizkor book. During production of this work, I will collect memories of lost people and places from various contributors. The information assembled will be incorporated into the book as text, image, and hand-drawn maps. The Yizkor book will be available during public presentations of the project and viewers are invited to add to its pages as a process of commemoration and mourning.

LABA is a unique fellowship. What drew you to apply?
The opportunity for the immersive study of ancient Jewish texts centered on the theme of Life + Death is what drew me to apply for a LABA Fellowship. My current work is centered on themes of death and loss and recently I have been incorporating text into my practice. I am excited to have guided and informed dialogue with Fellowship leaders and Fellows about these ancient texts as we work towards the creation of our individual projects. Most importantly, the community of artists who participate in the program will be a resource for collaboration, support and friendship that extends beyond the year-long Fellowship.

What is your favorite East Village spot?
St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery

What would you want your tombstone to say?
If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.