Teen Environmental Activist Misra Walker Uses Art to Raise Awareness
Misra Walker is a community activist who’s been advocating for low-income Bronx, N.Y., residents since she was in her early teens. A leader in the teen advocacy group called, Activist Coming To Inform Our Neighborhood (ACTION), she has been successful in tackling environmental racism, recognizing that her community alone collects 44 percent of the city’s waste, she lives near three major highways, and 14 waste transfer stations and two processing plants. While she understands these utilities are necessities, she also understands that it’s harmful.
Walker has been instrumental in efforts to improve access to the local parks and pools, including Barretto Point Park, which is inaccessible for pedestrians, and life for her community in general. Here, Walker discusses The House of Spoof Collective, which will be a part of an upcoming art show Strivers Gardens Gallery Presents “eMerge: Danny Simmons and Artists on the Cusp,” with an opening reception on Thursday, July 12, 2012. –yvette caslin
What can art enthusiasts expect to see from you at eMerge?
Art enthusiasts can expect to see my work which deals with topics that are close to home, such as race, gender, sex, childhood, friendship and lot of it comes from growing up in a low-income Hispanic [and] black area. I’m very interested bringing the world I grew up in and sharing it with visuals that others can relate or learn from. All my work is very personal to me.
Describe you creative process and what inspires you.
When I’m making my pieces, my process comes from looking for inspiration around me — whether that’s going to the store, the park or my community center at The Point CDC [Bronx, N.Y.]. Even other artists’ work, including classmates, friends or well-known artists [inspires me].
At what age did you realize that you were an artist?
I guess now I can declare myself as an artist since in school they always call us artists. In a way I still feel like I’m a student and a lot of my art now is experimenting with medium and ideas. I don’t feel I’m an artist, but one in training.
What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
My proudest accomplishment to date will have to “The House of Spoof Collective.” Five of my friends and I work collectively to create a studio and gallery space for other emerging artists within the New York City area. The collective is to honor the legacy of a close personal friend Glenn Wright — an artist, teacher and caring person — who was taken away from us at such a young age.
What is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration is my community and the struggle of my community. … I am also deeply inspired by my failures and personal struggles, whether it’s in my day-to-day life [or] my work … critiques inspire me for my next work and how can I improve my art.
How do others describe you work?
I don’t really know. I heard classmates told me my work is very me and chill and ambitious at the same time.
What kind of satisfaction do you get from your work? What kind of satisfaction do you want viewers to get?
The greatest satisfaction is when the work is done and when I have completed the idea. Another is when people are able to understand and find ambiguity in my work, and hopefully, this creates a dialogue among viewers.