ALINA AND JEFF BLIUMIS :::: WORKS :: BIO :: CV :: PUBLICATIONS :: PRESS :: CONTACT

We use artistic initiatives to start public dialogues about the politics of community, cultural displacement, migration and national identity. Our projects often progress in a range of forms - a community survey turns into an artist book, then into a performance, then public art, then a participatory event, then an installation. By using socially engaged projects embedded in the real world - performance, photography, sculpture, installation, participatory events and social experiments - we are building an inclusive spirit and a collective imagination. Our core concern is to set spaces of "co-active being" and "co-active thinking." All participants in our works are equal co-creators, and we consider a project complete when it comes full circle by reporting back to the community where the project was initiated.

A Painting for a Family Dinner / Bronx project began in April 2012 with an ad we placed for Bronx residents: "husband and wife artist team are offering a painting in exchange for an invitation to family dinner." The project was about creating community and opening communication in unlikely meeting points. Over the next month, we visited 13 families throughout the Bronx. All 13 paintings stayed in the families, but the resulting series of 13 photo family portraits, A Painting for a Family Dinner / Bronx, NY, was part of No Longer Empty's This Side of Paradise exhibition and was on display at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York (2012). In 2009, we premiered A Painting for a Family Dinner / Bat Yam at the Bat Yam Museum, Israel as part of the Moby Hosting Exhibition. During the exhibition, we invited the participating Bat Yam families back to the museum with a performance called Let's Drink. Let's Talk. Free.

Cultural Tips For New Americans (2009-2012) is a collection of advice we gathered from friends, published guides, and public forums to help new immigrants assimilate and understand their new home country. We first made posters of illustrated tips and posted them on phonebooths in downtown Manhattan. To continue the research, we participated in the New Museum's "Festival of Ideas for the New City' in 2011, where we collected over 100 more cultural tips from passersby. In 2012, we wrote 104 of these on "ethnic" wood souvenirs we purchased and stripped of their painted colors. These were presented at Cultural Tips takeaway exhibition, a gift-shop-of-sorts in Toomer Labzda's Lower East Side gallery - completing a circle back to the downtown community.

Casual Conversations in Brooklyn (2007-2009) is an anthropological inquiry of Brooklyn's immigrant communities, based on interactions initiated place through artist interventions and public discussions held around the Brighton Beach area. Participants were provoked to react and reflect on personal and group identities in the form of a performance installation and then photographic series. Each individual's participation became an integral part in what became a community portrait. The photography series was then exhibited at the Philadelphia's National Museum of Jewish History in 2012. For the exhibition, we also created an interactive station allowing museum visitors to take part in the dialogue by commenting on their own identities through self-portraits. We collected over 600 contributed photographs.

We are New York-based artists, Jeff (born Kishinev, Moldova) and Alina (born Minsk, Belarus) and have been collaborating since 2000. Jeff received his BA from Columbia University, New York in 1981. Alina received her BFA from the School of Visual Art, New York in 1999 and a diploma from the Advanced Course in Visual Arts in Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, Italy in 2005, with visiting professor Alfredo Jaar.

We have exhibited internationally at the first, second and third Moscow Biennales of Contemporary Art (Moscow, Russia), Busan Biennale 2006 (Busan, South Korea), Assab One (Milan, Italy), Castlefield Gallery (London, UK), Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France), Centre d'art Contemporain (Meymac, France), Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (Cleveland, USA), Bat-Yam Museum (Bat-Yam, Israel), the Jewish Museum (New York, USA) the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK) and others.

We have been the recipents of a number of grants, fellowships and residencies, including the Franklin Furnace Fund, New York (2010-2011); Six Points Fellowship, New York (Alina Bliumis 2007-2009); Trust for Mutual Understanding, New York (2005/2006/2009); Black and White Project Space Residency, Brooklyn, NY (2009); Art in Public Spaces Grant, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York (2008); Strategic Opportunity Stipend, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York (2008); Puffin Foundations Grant, New York (2008) and Quartier 21 Residency, Museums Quartier, Vienna, Austria (2005)

Our works are in various private and public collections, including the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Russia), Bat-Yam Museum (Israel), the Saatchi Collection (UK), the Harvard Business School (USA), the Museum of Immigration History, Paris (France) and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (UK).