Community Building The Arts

Artist Ya La’ford at Yeelen Gallery in Miami


Yeelen Gallery, a celebrated Arts incubator dedicated to the promotion and expression of contemporary urban culture, occupying more than 10,000+ square-feet of converted industrial space in Miami’s storied Little Haiti neighborhood, will be featuring Sublimation: Ancestral Patterns, an exhibition by lauded installation artist Ya La’ford. The opening reception will be held this April 22nd and the exhibit will remain on display until late May 2017.

Here we talk to the artist Ya La’ford about art, culture, activism and interconnectivity.




“Social and community impact is the cornerstone of my practice (as an artist). It is sewn into the fabric of my service as a public artist, professor, and social justice advocate. I use art as a vessel and an active tool to define the values and identity of a community. In many ways, my exhibits and public art events contribute to the local creative economy, serving to engage, activate and stimulate cultural forms to both exposed and marginalized populations.

“As an artist, I bear the responsibility to utilize my canvas to build consensus, allowing communities to focus on civic agendas that enhance the artistic ecosystem and promote better interconnectivity while animating public engagement.


“The value is met the moment a child involved in my mural making understands the importance of math, science and reading comprehension a to ensure proportion, timing and proper paint applications. It further resonates when a child’s dream of meeting a police officer occurs during the creation of a mural as a form of mutual understanding​,​ mentoring​ and appreciation. This is why I am a staunch advocate for art as a universal language.


“My paintings, installations and experiences aim to inspire inquisition as to why art is important, why it matters, and to catalyze a transforming dialogue to build cross cultural bridges of understanding and promotion of unity.”



“The Sublimation: Ancestral Patterns exhibit refers to the order of change or expression of form, centered on the idea of acknowledging my ancestors in a way that expresses their diverse but shared accounts.


“The intricate geometric-laden layers formed through interconnecting lines and courses, ebb and flow as a current, speaking languages that parallel lives fully lived and stories told of political, cultural, religious and historical vernacular.

“The hybridity aspect of the pieces examine, in particular, the relevance of culture. It references the value of the coexistence and concurrent overlap of my path as a person of Caribbean descent and the sojourn to of my family to the United States.


“The layering, in essence, conveys the notion of mixing something that is old, deep and rooted with the creation of new lifelines and memories that remain central to how I am interlocked by this order as a perpetual feedback loop – combined, fused and bound by language, environment, consumption and music.”

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“For me, experiencing art is a lifelong treasure. Through its diverse mediums, it can inspire change, offer healing and unite people under a banner of collective appreciation and understanding.


“Through art, I seek to capitalize on its value as a universal language to challenge and revolutionize the social, cultural and historic context of the human journey.



“It is, in many ways, my purpose to create as many ideas as possible to challenge conventional thinking and engage in creative activism that’s citizen-centered, and community-focused, to inspire interconnectivity and a positive relationship with the natural world around us.”


Visit Yeelen Gallery for more on Ya La’ford’s upcoming exhibit:

Check out the artist herself at:

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