Franklin Furnace Fund Recipients 2020-21

Panel Biographies

Francheska Alcántara

b. 1983, Santo Domingo
An Afro-Caribbean-Latinx-queer-woman raised-by-their-grandmother and hailing from The Bronx, Francheska explores slippages in-between memories, fragmentations and longing. Their aim is to explore the specific social meaning within the realm of domestic and public life of artifacts and interactions such as: hand-washing their underwear with cuaba soap while taking a shower, setting up buckets to catch rainwater to wash their hair, and peeling plátanos with the knife that has the right sharpness to follow the platano’s curve without cutting their hand. Francheska wants to use these subjective experiences to expand our capacity for pleasure, love and intra-connection.
Francheska graduated with a MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University, a BFA in Painting from Hunter College, and a BA in Art History from Old Dominion University. Alcántara has shared their work at the Brooklyn Museum, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Queens Museum, La Mama Theater, Grace Exhibition Space, and BronxArtSpace.

Hector Canonge

Hector Canonge is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, and cultural producer based in New York City. His work incorporates various forms of artistic expression: Performance Art, Dance, Multimedia Production, Installation, and Social Practice to explore and treat issues related to constructions of identity, gender roles, and the politics of migration. Challenging the white box settings of a gallery or a museum, or intervening directly in public spaces, his performances mediate movement, endurance, and ritualistic processes. Some of his actions and carefully choreographed performances involve collaborating with other artists and interacting with audiences. His performance art projects, films and media installations have been presented and exhibited in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
As cultural entrepreneur, Canonge is the founding director of the performance festivals: ITINERANT, the annual Performance Art Festival of NYC (2011-present); LATITUDES, the International Performance Art Festival of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia (2018-present); and AUSTRAL, Performance Art Festival Buenos Aires (2019-present) in Argentina. He is responsible for initiatives such as ARTerial Performance Lab (2013-present), PERFORMEANDO (2014-2017), a program that focuses on featuring Hispanic performance artists living in the United States and Europe; PERFORMAXIS, an international residency program in collaboration with galleries and art spaces in Latin America (2014-present). Under his creative vision the following performance art platforms and programs were created: TALKaCTIVE (2015-2018), LiVEART.US (2016-2019), and CONVIVIR the international residency program at MODULO 715 (2016-2018). In 2017, Canonge launched the performance art platform, NEXUS, premiered during Miami Art Week. Canonge is currently at work in the development of an online platform for the exploration and experimentation of Live Art.

Anya Liftig

Anya Liftig is a writer and performer. Her work has been featured at TATE Modern, MOMA, CPR, Highways Performance Space, Lapsody4 Finland, Fado Toronto, Performance Art Institute-San Francisco, Queens Museum, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, The Kitchen at the Independent Art Fair, Performer Stammtisch Berlin, OVADA, Joyce Soho and many other venues. In “The Anxiety of Influence” she dressed exactly like Marina Abramovic and sat across from her all day during “The Artist is Present” exhibition. Her work has been published and written about in The New York Times Magazine, BOMB, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue Italia, Next Magazine, Now and Then, Stay Thirsty, New York Magazine, Gothamist, Jezebel, Hyperallergic, Bad at Sports, The Other Journal, and many others.
She is a graduate of Yale University and Georgia State University and has received grant and residency support from MacDowell, Yaddo, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Hambidge Center for the Arts, Franklin Furnace Fund, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, Atlantic Center for the Arts, The New Museum, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Flux Projects, University of Antioquia and Casa Tres Patios-Medellin, Colombia. She is currently working on her first short film and her first book, a memoir, is forthcoming.

Shaun Leonardo

Shaun Leonardo’s multidisciplinary work negotiates societal expectations of manhood, namely definitions surrounding black and brown masculinities, along with its notions of achievement, collective identity, and experience of failure. His performance practice, anchored by his work in Assembly – a diversion program for court-involved youth at the Brooklyn-based, non-profit Recess – is participatory and invested in a process of embodiment.
Leonardo is a Brooklyn-based artist from Queens, New York City. He received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, is a recipient of support from Creative Capital, Guggenheim Social Practice, Art for Justice and A Blade of Grass, and was recently profiled in the New York Times. His work has been featured at The Guggenheim Museum, the High Line, and New Museum, with a recent solo exhibition at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). From fall 2018 through spring 2020, Leonardo enacted socially engaged projects at Pratt Institute as the School of Art, Visiting Fellow.

Carmelita Tropicana

Alina Troyano a.k.a.Carmelita Tropicana is a LatinX multi-disciplinary artist who has been performing since the 1980s, straddling the worlds of performance art and theater. She began performing at the WOW Café, a feminist theater collective where she created her Carmelita Tropicana persona. Since then her performances have been presented/produced in museums, theaters, alternative performance spaces including: The Studio Museum of Harlem, The New Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Leslie Lohman Museum, Performance Space 122, Kirk Douglas Theater CTG, Institute of Contemporary Arts (London) Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, (Sevilla) and Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin).
Tropicana’s fellowships/awards/residencies include: Park Avenue Armory Residency (2018-2020) Guggenheim Fellowship (2017), Creative Capital Award for a collaboration with Branden Jacobs Jenkins, Performance and Activism Award from the Women in Theater Program, ATHE (2015), Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2005), Obie (1999), NYFA Fellowships (Performance Art (1987) Playwriting (1991, 2006). Select performances and notable works include two collaborations with Ela Troyano: Schwanze-Beast (2015-19) a play presented at Progressive Ideas Festival and Post Plastica (2012) a theater/installation/performance/photo exhibition commissioned by PS 122 and presented at El Museo del Barrio, Memorias de la Revolucion co-written with Uzi Parnes, and the highly anthologized Milk of Amnesia (1994).
Her book I, Carmelita Tropicana: Performing Between Cultures offers a collection of plays, performance art text, short story, and essay. Other publications include Memories of the Revolution: The First Ten Years of the WOW Café edited with Holly Hughes and Jill Dolan (University of Michigan Press, 2015). Tropicana has taught at numerous universities including Queer Cabaret at Harvard University. She sits on the Board of Directors of New York Foundation for the Arts and is a member of Actors Equity Association and the Dramatist Guild.