Mikhaile M. Solomon M.Arch. ’11 is the mastermind behind the Prizm, a one-of-a-kind art fair with a mission to promote artists of color.
The art fair was founded in 2013 after Mikhaile noticed a lack of visibility for artists of the African diaspora during Miami’s biggest art festival, Art Basel. Since Art Basel is regarded as one of the most prestigious art festivals in the globe, Mikhaile is hoping to use it as a platform to highlight the talents of these magnificent local and regional artists.
We conducted a Q&A with Mikhaile to learn more about her years at FIU and how PRIZM came to be. Catch it below:
- Tell us why FIU is important to you.
I found my creative self at FIU. My career path and my passions are a reflection of the years I spent at FIU discovering and unearthing latent talents I didn’t know I had. FIU has also been a great support in my professional endeavors, with partnerships that have facilitated the growth of my networks and business. I’m grateful for my time there, and look forward to many years of partnership. FIU and The Green Family Foundation have been deeply supportive of Prizm since its inception. The Green Family Foundation and FIU African and African Diaspora are supporting our Prizm panel programming during Basel week which will bring thought leaders in contemporary African Diaspora Art to Prizm to share their ideas with the community. Also, as an alumni of FIU CARTA, CARTA has also played a key role in the foundation of my growth in the past decade. I’m so grateful and thankful for their investment in my energy and vision.
- Tell us about your favorite memory at FIU.
Late nights in the studio at the Paul Cejas Architecture building with my fellow classmates. We motivated each other to get the job done.
- What does Prizm Art Fair mean to you?
Prizm gives me an opportunity to nurture my creativity whilst working with others who have committed themselves to doing the same. It took me a while to figure out the right path for myself, and developing Prizm into a cultural experience that Miamians and its visitors can enjoy has been a simultaneously challenging yet fulfilling experience.
- What motivated you to start Prizm?
A few years ago, after graduating from Florida International University’s School of Architecture, I was working on a few projects that very quickly sparked my interest in becoming involved in the arts. Many of these projects focused on the African diaspora visual arts and aesthetic landscape, which deeply resonated with me. I didn’t really see much of the work I was discovering in my research at Art Basel and felt that I could work on an event that would feature these works and include many of the talented artists that I have the pleasure of working with locally in the project. I was also deeply fascinated with Afrofuturism which is a cultural aesthetic that marries elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of people of color, but to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past and imagine the future of people of color. I found the work created by artists working in this mode visually seductive because I’ve always enjoyed science fiction, and all things celestial. It seemed to deify subjects in the work that looked like me. Realizing I couldn’t ground an entire fair in Afrofuturist work, I decided to utilize Afrofuturism as inspiration for Prizm’s branding. There’s nothing more diverse and bountiful than the universe. Our mission is to promote the work of artists of color, who reflect global trends in contemporary art. I hope Prizm will be a continued reflection of that mission.
- If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for PRIZM, what did we achieve?
In 2015, Prizm produced a full season of events that included an exhibition, Divinity Revealed, at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, an exhibition in Brooklyn, NY titled My Big Black America at Corridor Gallery, and produced the most compelling and thought provoking Fair during Basel season featuring local, and international contemporary artists from the global African Diaspora. All of Prizm’s exhibiting artist’s works will be collected and Prizm will receive extensive coverage in major global art publication.
- Who is your role model, and why?
I have really great parents. They have supported me through all of the twist & turns in my life. My mother was a nurse for many years and my father is an entrepreneur. I realized not too long ago that a lot of who I am I’ve gotten from them through osmosis. My mother is the nurturer, my dad is the business mind.
- In one sentence, what advice would you give a current student at FIU?
Use your college experience to employ what I call “targeted exploration”. Finding a career path that feeds your passions is important. For my personal growth that has been important. You work every day at least 8 hours a day, and more, depending on the demands of your industry. Spend your time in college discovering the ideas that are deeply interesting to you. If the career or industry that gives you the opportunity to continue that exploration does not exist, create it.
This year, Prizm will be open to the public from Dec. 1 – Dec. 13 at 7300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138. Click here to view their schedule of events so you don’t miss out!