El Rio – Raul de Nieves

After the 4th of July picnics, barbecues, and fireworks are over, don’t neglect the artistic offerings of the city.

Company Gallery at 88 Eldrigde Street on the Lower East Side offers a visually stunning installation of Raul de Nieves work through July 24th.  http://companygallery.us/

The installation is entitled “El Rio” – The River – and de Nieves brings vibrant color and jewel encrusted objects together to depict a force of nature both terrifying and rapturous. The journey to the gallery involves negotiating the crowded sidewalks of the Little Italy, Chinatown and the Lower East Side so time your visit to do some exploring in the neighborhood (more on that in the next post). The multi-media artist, performer and musician, originally from Morelia, Mexico, now resides in Brooklyn so watch for other chances to see him perform or exhibit locally. 




Designs for Living

I was at the Margaret Mead Film Festival a few weeks ago and saw a film called “Ever the Land,” directed by Sarah Grohnert. The film describes the process of building a Living Building, the highest standard for sustainability, for the Te Wharehou o Tūhoe and the Ngāi Tūhoe Maori people of New Zealand. It was designed by the architect Ivan Mercep, who won the project by pitching it with a blank sheet of paper.  

The Living Building Challenge requires that buildings be net zero energy, water and waste. All materials must be sustainably sourced and non-toxic. The final goal is the creation of true ecological sustainabilty. The founder of the Living Building Challenge, Jason F. McLennan, means for green buildings to be not only ecologically sustainable, but also to promote social justice and support cultural heritage. Truly a challenge for those who work in built environment fields, it is a way of looking at and preparing for the future in a positive manner that incorporates preserving and promoting cultures and respecting our earth and it’s bounty. 

The film describes and shows the building process from community meetings, to hiring and training of local workers to the celebration of the building opening with a Tūhoe ceremony. Also interwoven throughout the film are the ongoing negotiations with the Government of New Zealand that resulted culminated in an historic apology and settlement for the Tūhoe last year.  



Lottie Hedley Photography