Cheyenne Julien

Growing up in The Bronx, the sidewalks and streets were our playground. I often think back to the fond memory of playing in the blast of water of an open fire hydrant on a hot summer day. The parks in my neighborhood were not well maintained, so, as a child, my dad would often take my brother and I to play in the nicer parks of Manhattan. A majority of the kids at these parks were white.
This is when I began to see the connection between race and space. Parks were not only a site of play, but also a site of mental/physical exclusion.
I now realize that racism manifests in various physical forms, but are hidden in plain sight. Using personal narrative, I recreate spaces that may appear to be banal, but in reality they are embedded with trauma, for example a
bathtub, or bedroom. Using memories I reconstruct people, and places from my life. These figures are typically aware of, or are responding to the environment that confines them. The paintings and drawings are monochrome at times, and vibrant in others, to set the mood of what is being depicted. The cartoon-like figures are used to produce a sense of the uncanny, teetering on the edge of reality. With my work I hope to bring larger issues that may seem broad to a place of intimacy.