Artists-in-Residence (AIR) Program Summer 2018 Valerie Piraino

Joan Mitchell Center Artist-in-Residence

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Valerie Piraino

Esopus, NY 
Former Joan Mitchell Foundation Artist-Teacher and CALL Legacy Specialist
➔ valeriepiraino.com

Valerie Piraino (b. 1981, Kigali, Rwanda) is a New York-based artist working in sculpture, installation, and drawing. Piraino creates forms that reference indigenous fruit, land, and craft from the Global South. She has exhibited her work at Socrates Sculpture Park, New York; The Third Line Gallery, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Lesley Heller Workspace, New York; Valerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Project Row Houses, Houston; Jane Addams Hull House Museum, Chicago; Artissima, Turin, Italy; among others. Piraino’s awards and residencies include the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Travel Award, (2005); the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space Residency (2015); the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Teaching Artist Fellowship (2014); and the Studio Museum in Harlem Residency, New York (2009). Piraino received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA from Columbia University. She is currently part-time faculty at Parsons School of Design at the New School.


“My work looks to indigenous fruit, aesthetics and beliefs from the Global South, where conquerors literally carried seeds of wealth. I aspire to give shape to the possibilities of blackness by creating space for self-reflection. What will happen in this blackened space? Is it possible to speak? Is it possible to speak a truth?”


  • Objet Trouvé I, 2016, polystyrene, epoxy clay, paint, gold leaf, twine, 45 1/2 x 6 1/4 x 6 inches

  • Objet Trouvé II, 2016, polystyrene, epoxy clay, paint, gold leaf, twine, 27 x 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches

  • Untitled (Papaya in Netting), 2016, polystyrene, epoxy clay, paint, twine, 22 x 3 3/4 x 3 ¾ inches

  • Niger Delta Blues III, 2016, polystyrene, epoxy clay, paint, twine, 26 1/2 x 3 x 2 1/2 inches

All works are copyright of the artist or artist’s estate.