On Thursday September 21st, I was doing laundry and jumped on a four-way face time chat with friends from LA, Toronto and New York. I know that sounds silly- but I suppose I’m pretty co-dependent. My friend Aton mentioned a photo show going down in Chelsea that evening and I made plans to meet him there. I arrived a bit early and being the awkward introvert that I am- I just walked in and then quickly walked out and waited for Aton to arrive. Once he got there and I was more comfortable walking around the room with him- I realized a friend of mine Asha Efia was curating the show. We chatted about her Collective CENO , and what inspired her to put together the show that evening.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your collective ceno
I am one of four co-owners of CENO. It is run by myself; Asha Efia, Elijah Maura, Elias Paulson and Naya Samuel. CENO is a studio and media company with a primary focus on the youth and community. Ultimately, it was conceived out of all of our individual experiences feeling used and misrepresented in the media. We wanted to create a safe space where people can collaborate and put each other on a platform that isn’t just being used as click bait.
Who are the kids invloved in the show?
Harlan Steed – bassist of NY band Show Me the Body
Lula Hyers – New York based photographer
Mel the King – New York based photographer
Ade Sayyed – rapper and producer in NY collective SLUMS
Noble Spell – New York based photographer, DJ and over all community organizer. (He is also a part of CENO)
Landon Yost – New York based photographer
Third World Fam – Queens bread collective of photographers and Graf writers
Mei Mei McComb – Printmaker, photographer – overall dope visual artist
Kill alters – NY Electronic punk band
Matthew Boblet – Sick Graphic designer
What is the theme behind the show?
Lomography gave us the resources to curate a show where we gave 10 different young people film and/or cameras. CENO specifically chose 10 artists of different mediums that are all associated within our community in one way or another. The goal was to give young people the opportunity to experience working with a medium that is not always the most accessible due to high cost. A larger goal of the show was to create a space in the “high art” world and gallery scene that felt safe and more relatable to the people in our community. It was important to us to do it in Manhattan, specifically Chelsea.
What is your goal with the collective?
The overall goal for the studio is to create work we’re proud of with people we connect and relate to. We want to make a point to keep a strong hold on our projects and morals while using any resources we have to uplift our community and give them opportunities to grow within their crafts.
Any future shows to look forward to?
Yeahhhh. We’re working on a few different things. We’re currently doing a lot of production work and a couple music videos, which is very time consuming and a long process but will be well worth it. Our next show is going to be in November. A legendary line up but we can’t announce it yet. But if you’re in NY keep an eye out. It’s going to be poppin.