Announcing the 2018 Makers Muse Artist Awardees!

Dec 12, 2018
Every year, we pleasantly shock a small handful of remarkable individuals with an unsolicited cash gift. We strive to find people who are making an extraordinary creative contribution to the world, but are not “the usual suspects” when it comes to arts funding.

This year we broke the good news to:

  • An activist, physician, muralist, impresario of public art, and community builder who has been working on Navajo lands to organize collaborative public art works since 1987.
  • A die-hard photographer who has tenaciously brought images of hope and grief from Afghanistan to the world.
  • A printmaker and painter who tinkers with rainbows, ancestral magic, and the femme myth.
  • Two proprietresses of a hedonist survivalist enclave who create story, taxidermy, and ritual about justice, psychedelics, and the wild.
  • The co-founder of a global multi-disciplinary artist collective whose work poetically and subversively takes a deep dive into Middle East politics and culture.
  • A multimedia artist, restorer of religious icons, and orchestrator of public spectacle who is co-creating a tradition to mark the transition of the North Star 13,000 years in the future.

We congratulate this year’s crew who join the legacy of 57 other Makers Muse Artists from the past decade. The legacy lives on!

Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski grew up moving from city to city in the American East Coast, South, and Midwest. Spending her most formative years in a constantly shifting landscape has tethered her art practice to interests in multiplicity, magic, bewilderment, and being liminal af.

In 2014 she exhibited with MoCADA in Brooklyn, and that was really cool.  DeJesus Moleski has also exhibited work in New Orleans, New Mexico, LA, Miami, and the Bay  Area. Her work has been featured in HyperAllergic, the Huffington Post, and Momma Tried Magazine.

DeJesus Moleski uses culturally classed materials to practice the integration of multiple art forms as a way to make myth and tell a truth.  She is currently attending the Yale School of Art for an MFA in Painting and Printmaking.

Andrew Quilty travelled to Afghanistan in 2013. He planned to stay for two weeks. This December will mark five years since that first trip. In that time he has travelled to more than 20 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces as a freelance photojournalist. Rather than  depicting those conducting the war, his work, while always tinged with it, has primarily focussed on the civilians who have lived with conflict for nearly four decades and continue to today.

Beth Hill “The Mad Framer” is a fine art framer and precision woodworker. She has designed custom frames for the Georgia O’Keeffe museum and countless fine artists both local and worldwide. She has recently closed her shop to expand her woodworking ventures towards her own art practice and furniture/object making endeavors.  Grounded in her early years working for Greenpeace Action, she has been an attentive activist and fundraiser for environmentalist causes. With her partner, Bett Williams, they run Madrid General, an online and pop-up store based in Madrid, NM that sells psychedelic themed silk-screen designs and inventions created to tweak the machinery of quantum reality.

Bett Williams is the author of The Wrestling Party and Girl Walking Backwards, recently named by Vogue Magazine as one of the top ten queer young adult books. Her recently completed memoir, The Wild Kindness, is about her 7-year experience of growing psilocybin mushrooms in New Mexico. She was a featured speaker at the Horizons Perspectives on Psychedelics Conference 2018 in NYC.  On her radio show Planet Juniper (KMRD Madrid Community Radio,) she interviewed poets she has hosted at her desert retreat, such as Ariana Reines, CA Conrad and others. With Beth Hill, she continues to support artists and writers through hosting retreats and events in keeping with the metaphor of the mycelium, the mushroom’s interconnected web that bears the fruit of a mutually shared vision.

(photo credit: Melodie McDaniel)

Chip Thomas, aka “jetsonorama” is a photographer, public artist, activist and physician who has been working between Monument Valley and The Grand Canyon in the Navajo nation since 1987.  He coordinates the Painted Desert Project – a community building effort which manifests as a constellation of murals across western Navajo Nation painted by artists from all over the world.

Thomas’ own public artwork consists of enlarged black and white photographs pasted on structures along the roadside on the Navajo nation.  His motivation is to reflect back to the people in his community the love and elements of the culture they’ve shared with him over the years.

George Ferrandi is an American artist whose participatory projects address issues of vulnerability, impermanence, fallibility and spectacle, often through experimental approaches to narrative. Employing a unique humor and a deep sense of humanity, her work ranges in form and scale from a simple gesture–like resting her head on the shoulder of a stranger on the subway, to a giant spectacle–like parading with hundreds through the streets of South Philly. It’s often a collaborative experiment in storytelling, with participants becoming performers or even creating the narrative. George’s projects have been awarded an NEA Our Town Grant and featured in Documenta 15. Her work has been performed/exhibited at the WeltMuseum (Vienna), International House of Japan (Tokyo), Brunnenpassage (Vienna), Abrons Arts Center (NY), The Kitchen (NY), Cinders Gallery (NY), McKinney Contemporary (Dallas), Wexner Center (Columbus), Harn Museum (Gainesville), Fleisher Art Memorial (Philadelphia), and Sluice (London). She is an NEA fellow of the Japan-US Friendship Commission and has been awarded grants from the Franklin Furnace Fundwinners for Performance Art, MAP fund, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and Mid Atlantic Arts Council. She is currently the Kennedy Family Artist and Scholar in Residence at the University of South Florida.

Sundus Abdul Hadi is an artist and writer of Iraqi origin. She was raised and educated in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal, where she earned a BFA in Studio Arts and Art History and a MA in Media Studies. Articulated through her artistic practice, writing and curation, Sundus’ work is a sensitive reflection on trauma, struggle, and care. She is the author/illustrator of Shams, a children’s book about trauma, transformation and healing. Her book titled “Take Care of Your Self: The Art and Cultures of Care and Liberation” (Common Notions, November 2020) is a non-fiction book about care, curation and community. She is the cofounder of We Are The Medium, an artist collective and culture point. In 2022, she founded Makaba Bookshop in the old port of Montreal.

Abdul Hadi’s work has been exhibited in Palestine, Canada, United States, United Arab Emirates, France, United Kingdom and New Zealand. She has given workshops in Australia, Iraq and Kuwait, and has been a speaker at Dar Jacir (Bethlehem), Nuqat (Kuwait), the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, Telfair Museums in Savannah, GA, the Aga Khan Museum and multiple universities in Canada and the US. Abdul Hadi is a two-time recipient of the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quebec (CALQ) Vivacite grant, and received the Makers Muse award from Kindle Project (2018 and 2023). Her work is part of the Barjeel Art Foundation collection.