SWOON "Nee Nee"
Title: NEE NEE
About the print:
Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemuhle 210gsm 50% rag watercolor paper
13″x19″ paper size
Hand numbered edition of 175
Signed by the Artist
"Neenee was one of the kids from the Braddock Youth project that we’d given a summer job to help us do little things like paint the enormous scale model of the building we’d constructed...This piece contains worlds. It’s a moment when my years of doing community based work came together with my background as a classically trained artist, back when I didn’t even have the framework to imagine that working in community could itself be an artwork. It’s a piece that was informed by everything that came before it, and has sent massive ripples to everything that came after.
In it you see the bell-tower of the church split off and repeated many times. You see the roof and my proposal for ceramic tiles. The geometric shape in the middle is the understructure of the ceiling after we took all the falling plaster down to reveal this gorgeous skeleton underneath. Secretly I hope that whatever happens next with the building, they find a way to keep that gorgeous understructure exposed.
This print has existed in many forms, and this is its most accessible. I wanted her to come out one last time, to lend some of her magic to the work that Za'kiyah House is embarking on with the Sanctuary. They all contain a story and that story is one of hope, optimism, persistence in the face of obstacles, and rebirth - just when you thought you were down for the count, you dusted yourself off and walked into your true destiny. Not a bad story in my book." - Swoon, Spring 2022
Caledonia Curry, whose work appears under the name Swoon, is a Brooklyn-based artist and is widely known as the first woman to gain large-scale recognition in the male-dominated world of street art. Callie took to the streets of New York while attending the Pratt Institute of Art in 1999, pasting her paper portraits to the sides of buildings with the goal of making art and the public space of the city more accessible.
In a moment when contemporary art often holds a conflicted relationship to beauty, Callie’s work carries with it an earnestness, treating the beautiful as sublime even as she explores the darker sides of her subjects. Her work has become known for marrying the whimsical to the grounded, often weaving in slivers of fairy-tales, scraps of myth, and a recurring motif of the sacred feminine. Tendrils of her own family history—and a legacy of her parents’ struggles with addiction and substance abuse—recur throughout her work.
While much of Callie’s art plays with the fantastical, there is also a strong element of realism. This can be seen in her myriad social endeavors, including a long-term community revitalization project in Braddock, Pennsylvania and her efforts to build earthquake-resistant homes in Haiti through Konbit Shelter. Her non-profit, the Heliotrope Foundation, was created in order to further support these ventures.
Today, Callie’s work can be found on the sides of buildings worldwide and has been given both permanent and transient homes in more classical institutions, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Tate Modern, and the São Paulo Museum of Art. Most recently, she has begun using film animation to explore the boundaries of visual storytelling.