Multidisciplinary artist Asad Raza to conduct Working Artists Lab at UB

Release Date: April 15, 2022

“This Working Artists Lab differs from others in that we are connecting with a major arts institution in another city and state. ”
Bronwyn Keenan, director
UB Arts Collaboratory

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Buffalo native Asad Raza is an internationally renowned multidisciplinary artist. In 2019, Raza created the 34th Kaldor Public Art Project in Sydney, Australia. The project, called Absorption, was later presented in 2020 at the Gropius Bau in Berlin, and at the 2021 Ruhrtriennale in the Ruhr area of Germany.

He was recently in the Netherlands installing a new project and will return to Buffalo throughout the spring to serve as the artist-in-residence as part of the University at Buffalo Arts Collaboratory’s Working Artists Lab.

“This Working Artists Lab differs from others in that we are connecting with a major arts institution in another city and state,” says Bronwyn Keenan, director of the UB Arts Collaboratory. “Working on a project of this level is exhilarating for me, but especially for all the collaborating UB and Buffalo artists and scholars who will be introduced to each other’s work and, through Asad, broaden Buffalo’s reach onto the national stage.

“Professors Maria Horne (Department of Theatre and Dance) and Dennis Maher (School of Architecture and Planning) have been key collaborators since the word go,” Keenan says, “and their leadership of this lab, alongside Asad, is proving to be an exciting meeting of the creative minds.”

Raza has been commissioned by FRONT International 2022: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art to create a multipart artwork that involves outdoor sculpture, sailing and song. The project will be developed over seven intensive weeks as part of UB’s Arts Collaboratory Working Artists Lab. Deeply collaborative, the project will bring together the expertise of astronomers, indigenous scholars, architects, maritime organizations, marine biologists, musicians, poets and artists.

Seeing the triennial as an opportunity to initiate something that will have a life of its own, Raza’s multifaceted approach seeks to highlight the regional ecosystem and the shared heritage of Lake Erie’s environment.

The lab will culminate with Orientation, a sculpture made of Lake Erie mussel shells, sand, silt and rubble, and Delegation, a journey across Lake Erie during which a group of musicians, poets and artists will compose a piece of music to be performed live on opening night at the Cleveland Triennial. FRONT International 2022 runs from July 16 through Oct. 2 in Cleveland.

The Working Artists Lab is an academic class where graduate and undergraduate students can earn academic credit at UB through the Department of Theatre and Dance. Horne, associate professor of theatre and dance, and Keenan created the class as an experiential space where UB’s interdisciplinary student artists/scholars can learn and thrive together along with renowned professionals and researchers.

“We are delighted to host Asad’s lab at UB and to collaborate with him in this unique project, which marks the fifth edition of the Working Artists Lab,” Horne says.

Maher, clinical assistant professor of architecture, notes that the project as a whole “will bring the collaborative nature of the Buffalo art community to a larger audience.”

“We are looking forward to working with Bronwyn, Asad Raza and his team, and the University at Buffalo community to realize this work,” he says.

The Working Artists Lab with Raza is taking place now through May 13, with support from the IACE (International Artists & Cultural Exchange) program, the departments of Theatre and Dance, Art, Music, and Indigenous Studies; UB Sustainability; and the School of Architecture and Planning.

Read a Q&A with Raza in UBNow.

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The Arts, Education
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