Writers

Spring 2010

Wrtier Nina Berman talks to students.

The YI teens learn about the fundamentals of photography from photojournalist, Nina Berman, April 2010. Photograph by Diane Exavier


With Nina Berman

YI Writers worked with Biennial artist Nina Berman to examine how different artists have interpreted and responded to war throughout history. Inspired by what they learned, the teens developed creative projects incorporating text and images to communicate their own perceptions of war.


Chanterelle

My name is Chanterelle and I’m a sixteen-year-old from the depths of what once was the central breeding ground for artists, but now has been infested with yuppies: Tribeca. I attend Bard High School Early College II in Long Island City, Queens. I enjoy eating fruit and reading Nietzsche on the subway. I also enjoy drinking tea and discussing poetry with my associates. I heard about Youth Insights through a friend, and I’m enjoying my experience at YI very much so far. I am an art fanatic because I believe it is a way to escape reality and a way to create one’s own reality. My favorite type of art is film. I like film because it is such a versatile medium, and one can do anything they want with it. I am very inspired by the city, nature, my friends’ art, my parents’ art, garbage, and interesting/maniacal/weird people. In the future, I hope to become a filmmaker or an astronaut.


Delia

Delia, now that is a name that I would not trade, even if I could. My name means something special. It's something that no one can shed or take from me. It's my symbol of who I am as a person. My mother wanted to name me Maria, after her mother; while my dad wanted to name me Delia, after his mother. They flipped a quarter to determine who was going to name me. Guess who won. My mother's family was born in the Dominican Republic. My father was born in Cuba on the main island of Havana. Being Dominican-Cuban is what makes me unique because I have an interesting heritage which goes back generations. To me, art means expressing oneself or one's opinion on an issue. Art can also interpret the feelings of a person from the different ranges of emotion they show during that time. In the future, I am looking forward to graduating high school, becoming more involved with the art community, as well as trying to become successful in something that I will enjoy in the long run.


Henry

I was born on April 26, 1994 at a hospital on 82nd Street and West End. For a very short time I lived but four blocks from my place of birth in a spacious apartment that, to me, has absolutely no significance other than that it was the place where I experienced my first memory. Yes, it was here that my father and I, (at that time only an infant of two years), fell down the staircase in our apartment and I received my first scar, which I still have to this day. I loved drawing from the first time I found out I could draw a dinosaur. And the fact that I could draw them meant that for as long as the dinosaur fad lasted, the drawing would too. Somehow drawing outlasted the “age of dinosaurs” and it became clear that drawing would probably outlast a lot of other things in my life as well. To this day, I’m still not perfectly clear as to why I love art so much. I just know that it is one of my greatest sources of pride, passion, and joy.               


Johaely

My name is Johaely. I was born here in New York. As the son of Dominicans, I have spent most of my life in the sunny Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic. As a kid I was very sickly, something which almost cost me my life when I was three. But then I got much healthier and moved back to New York. Personality-wise, I’m somewhat shy and don’t feel very comfortable talking about myself for fear of becoming annoying. Because of how unsafe the Dominican Republic has become during the last few years, I also have an almost ingrained distrust of strangers. But I still try to be the nicest I can. My art is somewhat limited in technique and medium, but I hope I can improve and transcend genres.


Katie

Hi, my name is Katie and I am in the eleventh grade at the Spence School in Manhattan. I have a twin brother and I come from a family that loves to travel. My grandma is a travel agent, which has enabled us to travel to new places every year. When we travel, my parents always take us to museums wherever we are. I first fell in love with art when my parents took me to Paris and Venice when I was eight years old. My favorite part of visiting any museum is getting the headsets that tell you the real story of the paintings and the artists who painted them. I don’t exactly know what I want to achieve in the future; however, I hope that my study of art will lead me to a career that will be rewarding in many ways.


KHADIJAH

My name is Khadijah. I am fifteen years old. I was born in New York. Some interests I have are sports, art, and movies. During my spare time I love to draw and write poetry. My family is made up of different backgrounds and religions, but I am one of Jehovah’s witnesses. Because of my family’s diversity, I am exposed to a lot of things. Art does not just have one meaning or point of view. Everyone sees things differently. This helps me in opening up my mind to different points of view.


Monica

My name is Monica. I am seventeen years old. I was born in Mexico but came to this country about four years ago. I am currently a senior at Flushing International School. I live in Jackson Heights. I really love art, but I think that I can use my creativity much better when I write. I am not really sure what I will major in next year in college, but amongst the different ideas that I have, journalism stands out the most. So I think this program will help me improve my writing. I have many dreams and goals in life, but I certainly don’t know what I want to achieve in the future. All I know is that I want to be a successful woman. I would like to end racism and many other injustices that exist in this world. However, I know that would never be possible. The only thing I can do is try to change myself.


Nancy

My name is Nancy and I am a sophomore at Hunter High School. I was mesmerized by the manipulation of different art forms and materials to create a work that at first glance, seems like it has normal subject matter, but at second glance reveals a little twist. The twist appears out of context, making the viewer wonder, and slowly the viewer unravels a unique plot. Anything and everything is art after the artist grapples with it. One of my goals is to explore how contemporary artists are faring with new definitions of art in the artistic community, since I rarely hear about them in my daily life. I hope I will be able to explore self-identity through concoctions of art mediums and the integration of writing and art.


Ogechukwu

My name is Ogechukwu, but most people call me Oge. I am a sophomore at the Bronx Center for Science and Math. I have lived in the Bronx for most of my life, but I am originally from Nigeria, a big country located in West Africa. I came to America with my parents and my older brother when I was a baby. Being part of two unique cultures has been an advantage all my life because it forces me to open my mind to different ideas and concepts, and influences the way I think about everything from school, art, and sports, to life itself. I have been blessed with amazing family, friends, and teachers who have all had a hand in who I am today. It is often said that it takes a village to raise one child, and I guess I am living proof of that. Writing and art have always been pertinent parts of my life. They serve as a way for me to express my opinions, ideas, and feelings freely, without the fear of being judged. They are what brought me to Youth Insights, and have given me the opportunity to discuss and collaborate with other artists and writers.


Porscher

I am Porscher. I am the artist. I am the reader. I am the girl everyone's curious about. I was born and raised in New York City. My family's background is multicultural. My mother is Trinidadian and my father is Jamaican, Irish, and Spanish. Since my family is made up of so many cultures and ethnicities, I think I have a more open and diverse point of view. I can see beyond the big picture and think outside the box. In the future, I want to be very successful. I want to go to my first choice college. I want to write my own book, and have my poetry published. I want to have a positive influence on all the people who are in my life and those who I will eventually meet.


Shalva

I am Shalva, but you can call me Shako. I am originally from Tbilisi, Georgia. I love singing and playing guitar. I am also learning how to play the piano. Making my own music is one of my biggest passions. I love designing shoes and making art using graphic design. It’s great! I love being thoughtful and creative with my art. In this program, I really want to be more creative and learn how to think artistically. I want to create something myself, make it my own, and have other people admire it. That feeling of freedom is very important to me. Anything can inspire me: random things on the streets, and other people's work also gives me ideas.


Troy

Hello, my name is Troy. I am a sixteen-year-old who lives in the Bronx. My family comes from Jamaica, but me, myself, and I was born in the borough of the Bronx. I attend the Bronx High School of Visual Arts as an eleventh grader. To me, art is not about how it looks but about how it makes a person think. Art should be able to have the power to change or support someone’s idea on a subject. My favorite type of art is abstract art, mainly because abstract art can show the world from a different point of view. Things that inspire me greatly are things that are both functional and artistic at the same time. In the future I would like to create things with those characteristics, things that will both inspire other people and help them in their everyday lives. I want to become an industrial designer.


William

Hi, my name is William. I was born in Brooklyn on October 2, 1994. I grew up in Canarsie. I grew up in a house where I learned many manners, lessons I use even today. It is also where I learned to draw. My grandfather was a great artist, he drew in his own private time and still does. I use some of the methods he used to make his drawings look amazing. I am fifteen years old, yet I look older. I am five feet, ten inches last time I checked, which is really tall for my age. I am African American and part Cherokee. I’m known to be friendly with people, regardless of how long I've known them. I've been told by many friends in school that that they have never seen me angry. I find that odd, but it’s the truth. The only down time for me is being bored, hungry, or saddened by something sudden. I like playing video games a lot, drawing, and hanging out with my people—family and friends.


YAMIR

My name is Yamir and I’m from Brooklyn. I am sixteen years old and my birthday is in January, which makes me a Capricorn. I am in my sophomore year at Brooklyn International High School. My family is originally from Lebanon. I lived there for seven years, from the summer of 1999 to the summer of 2006. My time in Beirut was very memorable, especially because most of my childhood was there and it is such an amazing and unique place. I would still be growing up in Lebanon if it weren’t for the 2006 war with Israel. For half a year I was living in a war zone. I’ve experienced things that many children who have grown up here will never go through: from the vibrations and sounds of bombs and guns to sleeping on a United States Navy warship.