We've Been Among You
Featuring Juicebox Burton and Maya Pen
Curated by Ricki Dwyer and Aay Preston-Myint
May 20 - July 1, 2023
We've Been Among You, an exhibition of newly commissioned work by New Orleans-based artists Juicebox Burton and Maya Pen, curated by Ricki Dwyer and Aay Preston-Myint. Centering around the narrative of an extra-terrestrial species living on earth and publicly revealing their true nature for the first time, this multi-sensory immersive installation turns the lens back on the human condition.
Juicebox Burton and Maya Pen's collaborative exhibition is a love letter to the aliens among us. We've Been Among You draws on stories of creature encounters to celebrate those whose cultural practices, ways of loving, and systems of care have always been here holding all of us up. Photographic, video, sculptural, and installation works of these creatures tell the story of a species living in tandem with their planet, reclaiming what was once lost to ecological devastation. Burton and Pen's otherworldly visitors point to practices coming from a long legacy of Black and Indigenous cooperation to demonstrate what a culture of true cooperativism could look like.
Juicebox P. Burton is a Black, trans-femme multi-disciplinary artist living in New Orleans. She is a world-builder who frames narratives of trauma in the context of horror and sci-fi in order to heal the collective spirit of the Black community. Her work gains its power from its self-taught nature, fostering the collaboration of other creators of color/Black creators whose collective story combats the aristocratic gatekeeping of the mainstream art industry.
In 2017 Juicebox became co-owner of Studio Lalala, a Black and trans mixed media production company that actively redistributes resources to marginalized folks through the sourcing of shared equipment, warehouse space, job opportunities, and skill sharing, comprised of storytellers, cinematographers, set builders, and special effects artists and gives jobs to BIPOC queer people. Studio Lalala utilizes a DIY philosophy to collectively produce the visions and voices of their community.
Maya Pen Raquel is a self-taught artist from the Philadelphia area, based currently in New Orleans, LA. She works across various mediums, including performance art, special effects, mask-making and puppetry, theater creation, installation arts, music, creative writing, and film.
She believes in art as a cheap and accessible expression that can be used to celebrate, house, and protect communities in need. Her work is concerned with myth-making in relation to tangible and ethereal borders, a dying earth, and collective storytelling. She has a strong foundation in collaborative practices grounded in shared vision, equipment, educational resources, space, opportunities, and worker ownership.