NY Daily News, 09/20/11
Art group builds 'Thrust of Sorrows' catapault to relieve burdens in new show

By Tanyanika Samuels | web link

Perhaps it's a picture of your ex, a pile of bills, or that pair of too-tight jeans that taunts you from your closet.

Whatever the burden, the artists at the BroLab art collective want to lighten your figurative load - with a 12-foot medieval-style catapult.

As part of the Bronx River Art Center's four-part "Shifting Communities" exhibition series, the artists have built a catapult on display in the BronxArtSpace gallery in Mott Haven.

The idea is for people to bring in these unwanted objects - then launch them. Dubbed "Thrust of Sorrows," the catapult can hurl up to 50 pounds of "burden" as far as 200 yards in the spring event. Date and time aren't known yet.

"People have a lot of stressers in their lives and need to be relieved of that," said BroLab artist Ryan Roa. "So we want people from the community to bring in objects we can actually throw."

The current recession was the inspiration for the catapult, which is made of plywood and two-by-fours.

"It feels like there's been general hardship in our communities for the almost past decade," said Roa. "These are troubling times. There's a need for this release."

Curator Chad Stayrook invited artist collectives from across the city to show their works alongside borough artists.

"We charged the artists to create a piece that responds to a community need or that has some dialogue with the South Bronx or the Bronx in general," he said.

Artists must also host roundtable events for the community.

In addition to the catapult, BroLab has a video installation piece on display and is rehabbing the courtyard at the Mott Haven library.

The group has started a fund-raising drive at to raise money for the project.

Also participating in this first exhibit is Bronx artist Nicky Enright, who created a free international calling card called the Glocal Card. Community members can use it in exchange for filling out an anonymous survey.

In addition, Brooklyn artist collective J&J is looking after city trees, clearing away weeds and trash in Mott Haven as part of an art piece, "Web of Invisibility." A map at the gallery will chart their progress.

"Thrust of Sorrows" is on display through Oct. 8 at the BronxArtSpace gallery, 305 E. 140th St.

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This program is made possible with support from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, including Council Members Eric Dinowitz, Althea Stevens, Kristy Marmorato and the Bronx Delegation. Additional support is from Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, the NYS Council on the Arts with support from Governor Kathy Hochul and the NYS Legislature. Foundation support is from Con Edison: The Power of Giving, The New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund, The Lincoln Fund, and private donors.

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