Nicole Awai

Nicole Awai is a multi media artist. She earned her Master’s Degree in Multimedia Art from the University of South Florida in 1996. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture residency in 1997 and was artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2000.

Awai was a featured artist in the 2005 Initial Public Offerings series at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Awai was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2011 and an Art Matters Grant in 2012.

Her work has been included in seminal exhibitions such as Greater New York: New Art in New York Now, at P.S. 1/ MOMA (2000), the Biennale of Ceramic in Contemporary Art (2003), Open House: Working in Brooklyn (2004), Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art (2007) both at the Brooklyn Museum and the 2008 Busan Biennale in Korea. Her work has also been exhibited at the Queens Museum, Kemper Museum of Contemporary, The Vilcek Foundation, The Biennale of the Caribbean in Aruba (2013) and Susan Inglett Gallery.

Recent exhibitions include SHE: Deconstructing Female Identity at ArtsWestchester and Splotch at Sperone Westwater. Awai was a Critic at the Yale School of Art in the Department of Painting and Printmaking from 2009-2015. Awai is currently faculty in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin.

The book mentioned in the interview is Imagery, Presence and the Location of the Caribbean Figure by Roshini Kempadoo.

Vista 4: Emerging Properties B – Midnight Cami Acrylic paint, paper, nail polish, resin, horticultural charcoal, nylon mesh, graphite on synthetic paper Approximately 22” x 18” 2013
Vista 7.2: Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t (To Haiti With Love) Nail polish, acrylic paint, reflective paper, polyester mesh, horticultural charcoal, construction foam, molded plastic forms on synthetic paper 7″ x10″ x 5″ 2015
Specimen from Local Ephemera: Castle Nut and Drama Queen Graphite, acrylic paint, nail polish and glitter on paper 50” x 38” 2008
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  1. […] Nicole Awai is a Brooklyn-based artist. She is presently exhibiting works at Lesley Heller Workspace. The exhibition is titled Vistas and it involves pieces that are a hybrid between painting and sculptures. Awai is a multi-media artist though her background is in painting. The works in Vistas are relief works that sit on the wall but that come from “painting gestures.” Often Awai works with nail polish which has led her to study the naming of colors as they have evolved over the years. She finds that some of the names themselves sometimes speak to the spaces in which she is exhibiting. She notes a color called “I am not a tourist” which is suited in a way to the Chelsea art scene. Her interest in nail polish colors was at first incidental but she then began to pursue this avenue as it relates to the evolution of social context. Awai received an Art Matters Grant which she used to travel to her native Trinidad where she investigated lakes of asphaltum and their potential influence within her body of work. […]