October 19 - December 15, 2019

Trajectory: FiveMyles

Group Exhibition curated by Charlotta Kotik with William Corwin

Nicole Awai, Bahar Behbahani, Mildred Beltre, Martha Haile,
Alexandre Kyungu Mwilambwe, Sa’dia Rehman, Roberto Visani

Reception: Saturday, October 26, 5:30 - 8:00pm

Conversation with Charlotta Kotik and others instrumental in shaping
the Brooklyn art scene, past and present: Sunday, November 17, 4pm

“The exhibition has been organized to honor and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this unconventional Brooklyn art space that, for the past two decades, succeeded in presenting innovative experimental work all the while being engaged with the local community and its needs.

FiveMyles gallery and performance space was established in the heart of Brooklyn’s Crown Heights and named after Myles Tierney, a photo-journalist with the Associated Press. Myles’ interests had always been the decolonization of the African continent, and he documented the resulting wars and struggles. He was killed in Sierra Leone in 1999. 

FiveMyles is dedicated to experimentation in visual arts and performance, while keeping in mind that a certain degree of eclecticism allows for coexistence of varied formal expressions that can serve multiple community needs.

The present exhibition mirrors the vision of FiveMyles. It champions diversity points of view, forms and experiences, and brings together recent works by artists who were featured in past exhibitions as well as those whose work does conceptually fall into the credo of the place.”

-Charlotta Kotik

Nicole Awai is returning for FiveMyles after an exhibition in 2001.The three works on view are from her extensive series Vistas, 2013-2017 . Here the artist highlights her use of untraditional materials, such as the soft asphalt found in her native Trinidad. These work highlight her superb ability to create daring assemblages. Concurrently will be shown at Lesley Heller and in New Monuments for New Cities on the Highline. She is a 2019 recipient of the Colene Brown award.

In 2012 Mildred Beltre captivated audiences at FiveMyles with the combination of large scale crocheted wall pieces and drawings of appropriated images of conflict situations.  In her current work she centers on the search for self-knowledge and self –determination. Often using images of herself as the starting point of the composition she overlays them with fragments of manipulated text engaging the viewer to enter into a dialogue of racial and national identity and belonging. Her work is currently shown at Wave Hill in New York.

Iranian born Bahar Behbahani studies and depicts fabled Persian gardens, a recurring theme in her work. For FiveMyles Bahar created a site-specific installation composed of a multitude of mixed media drawings on photo and/or black paper. The photocopies are those of declassified documents that identify the preeminent scholar and authority on Persian Gardens, Donald Wilbur, as an CIA operative, involved in staging a 1953 coup against the democratically elected government, one of the tragic blunders of American foreign policy. The large painting Apparent Failure underscores the point.  Her work is currently shown at Wave Hill in New York. 

The paintings shown by Ethiopian artist Martha Haile are representative of her interest in the woman’s body, and her investigation of colonial and post-colonial interference in East African culture. Shapes that might be organs, a heart-like form or seemingly three fetuses in a womb surrounded by leaf-like shapes – these representations are sometimes ironic, sometimes practicable, and illustrate the artist’s holistic approach to the female body.

Alexandre Kyungu Mwilambwe was born and lives in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. The  roads and city streets and  alleys are his inspiration together with the patterns of physical scarification used in a number of African cultures. He sees parallels in the stratification of landscape as a parable of the complex cartography of human body. He also points out that mapping is a first step in subjugating of the selected territory leading to colonization and oppression. 

Sa’dia Rehman Many of the artists themes are tied to observation of customs and traditions of her Pakistani family and her own growing up a Muslim in the post 9/11 United States. Using materials present in the everyday lives of the Muslim community such as prayer rugs or creating page size drawings reflecting the rich heritage of illuminated manuscripts, she comments on pressing issues of today. With The Here and The Hereafter  works Rehman presents her own visual re-interpretation of Islamic belief in the interconnectedness of our earthly existence and the afterlife.

Roberto Visani has spent time traveling in Africa, where the sculptural traditions of  Ghana and Dogon deeply influenced him. In this exhibition a group of large cardboard sculptures, created with the use of new technologies, points to the re-interpretation of  the traditional African motives, combined with the gesture “hands up don’t shoot” from Ferguson stand together with an air of authority and belonging; letting the viewer once again see clearly where Cubism had found its inspiration. Roberto Visani exhibited his work at FiveMyles in 2013.

About the Curators:

Charlotta Kotik is an independent curator based in Brooklyn. She is a former Head of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she initiated new programs, such as the series of Grand Lobby Projects for extensive installation-based works and Working in Brooklyn to document the energy of the Brooklyn art scene.

Will Corwin is a sculptor/writer/curator and has exhibited at the Clocktower Gallery, LaMama Gallery and Geary in NYC, FRISE Kunsthaus, Hamburg, George & Jorgen and Gazelli Galleries, London, and Red Gate Gallery Bejing. He writes for the Brooklyn Rail, Art Papers, Cavas, BO<B, Artcritical and Frieze, among others, and will curate the show “Post-War Women” this November, an exhibition of League alumna active between 1945-65 at the Art Students League. His first book, a history of the & Model Gallery in Leeds.


Thursday through Sunday, 1pm to 6pm; or by appointment. 


Take 2, 3, or 4 trains to Franklin Avenue. Walk two blocks against the traffic on Franklin. Walk ¾ block to 558 St. Johns Place. FiveMyles is within easy walking distance from the Brooklyn Museum.


FiveMyles is in part supported by the New York State Council for the Arts, Public Funds from the New York City Dept. of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Council Member Laurie Cumbo, the Greenwich Collection, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, and the Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason Foundation.