Betty Yu, Tanya Selvaratnam, Erin Markey, Xenobia Bailey, & Emily Johnson

Betty Yu, Tanya Selvaratnam, Erin Markey, Xenobia Bailey, & Emily Johnson


Betty Yu is a Chinese-American multi-media artist, filmmaker educator and community activist raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn to Chinese immigrant parents. She is a co-founder of the Chinatown Art Brigade, a cultural collective telling stories of Chinatown tenants fighting gentrification through public projections and art. Her documentary “Resilience” about her garment worker mother fighting sweatshop conditions, screened at national and international film festivals including the Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival.  Yu’s multi-media installation, “The Garment Worker” was featured at Tribeca Film Institute’s Interactive. She co-created “Monument to Anti-Displacement Organizing” in the Agitprop! show at Brooklyn Museum. Betty was a 2012 Public Artist-in-Resident and received the 2016 SOAPBOX Artist Award from Laundromat Project. Betty is a 2016 A Blade of Grass Fellow for Socially Engaged Art for her project with Chinatown Art Brigade. Ms. Yu has received numerous grants for our work including support from Art Matters Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media. She is a 2017 artist-in-resident at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York City. Betty is also an adjunct professor at various colleges teaching new media, art and video production. Betty recently won the 2017 Aronson Journalism for Social Justice Documentary Award for her film, “Three Tours”. Betty is also a 2017-2018 Fellow of the Intercultural Leadership Institute.  Ms. Yu has been awarded Artist-in-Residencies with the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts and Open Source Gallery’. Betty was named the 2015 Cultural Agent with the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) a people-powered arts network. Through her work with USDAC, Betty’s work has fused elements of public art intervention, storytelling, theater, and artist citizenry.  In 2015, she organized “City of Justice: New Year, New Futures” an anti-displacement interactive social justice, arts & activism event that featured 10 art, culture and performance stations at Brooklyn Museum First Saturday. Ms. Yu holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College.

Tanya Selvaratnam is a writer, an actor, an activist, and an Emmy-nominated and Webby-winning producer who has worked for more than twenty years in the areas of arts and social justice. With Laurie Anderson and Laura Michalchyshyn, Tanya is the Co-Founder of The Federation: a coalition of artists, organizations, and allies committed to keeping cultural borders open and showing how art unites us ( Most recently, she was the Executive Video Producer/Director for GLAMOUR Women of the Year and Planned Parenthood. Past productions include films by Gabri Christa, Chiara Clemente, Liz Garbus, Catherine Gund, Hannah Rosenzweig, Mickalene Thomas, Le Tigre and Laura Parnes, and Carrie Mae Weems. She has been in shows by The Wooster Group, The Builders Association, Andrew Ondrejcak, Sibyl Kempson, Brooke O’Harra, Margot Bordelon/Kate Attwell, and more. She is the author of THE BIG LIE: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock. Tanya received her graduate and undergraduate degrees in Chinese language and legal history from Harvard University.

Erin Markey The “hilariously sociopathic” (NY Times) Erin Markey is a performer and writer/creator of live performance works, often darkly comedic and driven by original music compositions.  They* are an Eliot Norton Award winner and were Artforum’s pick for Best Music of 2016. Markey recently completed a 2017 residency at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater. Her* work has been presented at Abrons Arts Center, PS 122, New Museum, Mass MOCA, MoMA, American Realness Festival, Under The Radar Festival, The Kennedy Center (upcoming), UCB and frequently at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater.   Markey’s shows have toured nationally and internationally to ART (Cambridge, MA), The Yard Theater (London, UK), FringeArts (Philadelphia, PA), Luminato Festival (Toronto, ON), PICA’s TBA Festival (Portland, OR), Fierce Festival (Birmingham, UK), Fusebox Festival (Austin, TX, upcoming), San Francisco Film Society and more. Markey recently appeared as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme in Assassins at New York City Center Encores!, is a performing company member of the Obie Award-winning Half Straddle and she co-composed music for Ghost Rings (New York Live Arts, 2016). Markey’s most recent works include Boner Killer (2017) and A Ride On The Irish Cream (2016).  Her upcoming play, Singlet, will premiere at the Bushwick Starr in May 2018. *Markey prefers to use both “she/her” and “they/their” pronouns. Both are correct. Their advice is to take a chance on “they” when writing about her.


Xenobia Bailey studied ethnomusicology at the University of Washington, it was there that her interest in craftsmanship and fabric took full bloom. She worked as a costume designer for the renowned African-American community theater, Black Arts West, until her acceptance into Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1974. She received her BA in industrial design while she learned to crochet under needle artist, Bernadette Sonona, after which she began to create and sell colorful crocheted hats inspired by distinctly African-American patterns, themes and hairstyles. Bailey is best known for her eclectic crochet hats and large scale crochet mandalas, consisting of colorful concentric circles and repeating patterns. Her pieces are often connected to her ongoing project “Paradise Under Reconstruction in the Aesthetic of Funk”. Her designs draw influences from in Africa, China, and Native American and Eastern philosophies, with undertones of the 1970’s funk aesthetic. Her hats have been featured in United Colors of Beneton Ads, on The Cosby Show, and in the Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing (worn by Samuel L. Jackson as DJ Mister Señor Love Daddy). Bailey has been artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation in New York City. Her work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Jersey City Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Her work is in the permanent collections at Harlem’s Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Allentown Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Arts, and the Museum of Arts and Design.

Emily Johnson is an artist who makes body-based work. A Bessie Award winning choreographer, Guggenheim Fellow in Choreography, and Doris Duke Artist, she is based in New York City. Originally from Alaska, she is of Yup’ik descent and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her dances function as installations, engaging audiences within and through a space and environment—interacting with a place’s architecture, history, and role in community. Emily is trying to make a world where performance is part of life; where performance is an integral connection to each other, our environment, our stories, our past, present, and future. Johnson’s written work has been published and commissioned by Wesleyan University Press, Dance Research Journal (University of Cambridge Press); SFMOMA; Transmotion Journal, University of Kent; Movement Research Journal; Pew Center for Arts and Heritage; and the recently published compilation, Imagined Theaters (Routledge), by Daniel Sack. Emily is a lead collaborator in the Indigenous-artist led Healing Place Collaborative (Minneapolis, MN), focused on the vital role of the Mississippi River in the life of residents along its path; she was an inaugural participant in the Headlands Center for the Arts’ Climate Change Residency, and a member of Creative Change at Sundance. In 2016 Emily served as a water protector at Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock. In December 2016 she co-facilitated TIME PLACE SPACE, NOMAD with ArtsHouse in Wotjobaluk Country, Australia. In January 2017 she produced UMYUANGVIGKAQ with PS122 on Manhahtaan in Lenapehoking, a durational Long Table/Sewing Bee focused on indigenizing the performing arts and the world at large. She is part of the current and related four year strategy for the Australian and North American Indigenous performing arts sectors; collaborating with Blakdance, Ilbijerri and partners. Her most recent work, Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars –  an all night outdoor performance gathering taking place on and near eighty-four community-hand-made quilts – premiered in Lenapehoking (NYC) with PS122 on Randall’s Island in summer 2017 and will tour to Chicago, San Francisco, and Narrm (Melbourne), Australia.