2023–2024 iLAB artists in residence announced

June 6, 2023

Ten artists from across a range of media will join University of the Arts in August as the second cohort of artists in residence through the university’s Inspiration Lab (iLAB). Launched last year, iLAB gathers emerging and mid-career artists in Anderson Hall on South Broad Street as a way to accelerate their contributions to our broader cultural dialogue. The artists also become critical members of the university community, demonstrating new pathways and forging new connections with students, faculty and artists across the greater Philadelphia region.

This second cohort of artists includes two UArts alumni, an adjunct faculty member and individuals who explore critical concepts of race, identity and justice through writing, painting, video, installation and performance. All 10 residencies will span the university’s entire academic year, from Aug. 25, 2023, to May 31, 2024, and each artist will receive access to dedicated studio space and UArts’ cutting-edge workshops and labs. Those include Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace and Laurie Wagman Recording Studios, and the Center for Immersive Media, which contains one of the largest motion-capture stages in an academic setting on the East Coast.

The committee that selected 10 artists from an international pool of 111 applications comprised Sherly Oring, dean of UArts’ School of Art; Nicole Pollard, independent curator; and James Claiborne, curator of public programs at the Barnes Foundation.

About the 2023–2024 artists

Rami George
Video and installation
The work of multidisciplinary artist Rami George spans photography, video, installation, text and, more recently, music and sound. They remain motivated and influenced by political struggles and fractured narratives. George’s work has been presented at Philadelphia’s William Way LGBT Community Center, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Anthology Film Archives, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and many other venues.

Jezabeth Roca González
Video and multimedia installation
Jezabeth Roca González is a multidisciplinary maker and educator who works in collaboration with their family. Their installations incorporate video, soil and plans to explore the ever-shifting movement of people between the U.S. and Puerto Rico, known colloquially as El Va y Ven.

Yikui (Coy) Gu
Painting and mixed media
Born in Nantong, China, Yikui Gu moved to Albany at age seven. He received his BFA from Long Island University and his MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He has shown his work internationally and lectured at Tyler School of Art, Gettysburg College and Fontbonne University. He has been reviewed in Hyperallergic, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Denver Art Review and Yale Daily News.

LeAndra LeSeur
Video and installation
Le’Andra LeSeur is a multidisciplinary artist whose work encompasses a range of media including video, installation, photography, painting and performance. LeSeur’s body of work—a celebration of Blackness, queerness and femininity—seeks to dismantle systems of power and achieve transcendence and liberation through perseverance.

Anni Liu
Writer, editor and translator
Anni Liu is the author of Border Vista, winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Prize and a 2022 New York Times best poetry book. She has received an Undocupoets Fellowship, a Djanikian Scholarship from the Adroit Journal and residencies at the Anderson Center and Civitella Ranieri. Additionally, Liu is an editor at Graywolf Press, a nonprofit publisher based in Minneapolis.

Ana Lopez
Electronic experimental music
Ana Lopez is a Mexico City–based composer and producer, and her music is based on the digital processing of voices, acoustic instruments, everyday sounds and electronic beats. Her solo project, Nnux, is emotional and vulnerable, while remaining experimental and imaginative. She released her EP Distancia independently in 2017 and her debut LP Ciudad through Mexico City’s label VAA in 2020.

Andrew Smith
Performance and fashion
Based in Philadelphia, artist and maker Andrew Smith BFA ’19 (Sculpture) explores the beauty and love held in the human form through fashion, dance and the written word. Through their studies and practice, Smith has cultivated their body as a site for the dialogue of forms moving between somatic research, product development, poetry and most importantly, imagination and dreams.

Arien Wilkerson
Performance and installation
Arien Wilkerson/Tnmot Aztro considers the complexities within art that derive from the alienation of objects, identities, the body, sounds and humans and is rooted in repurposing and redefining meanings of “fine art” and its attachment to colonialism, white supremacy and institutionalized racism. Their practice articulates epistemology and ontology by producing large-scale performance installations, through which audiences are submerged into an immersive experience that populates multiple meanings and multiple engines.

Nia Witherspoon
Ritual performance and theater
Nia Witherspoon is a Black queer multidisciplinary artist and healing justice practitioner who investigates the metaphysics of Black liberation, desire and diaspora as they track across the quantum time-space continuum. Through writing, performance, sound and installation, Witherspoon creates portals for communion, witnessing and healing into the ancient future.