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Kenyan woman makes History in New York, USA

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A Kenyan-born, Yale educated woman has  made history after four of her majestic sculptures were unveiled last week on the prestigious facade of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York City, USA.

Wangechi Mutu’s work of art is making heads – many heads – turn in the city popularly known as The Big Apple.

This is the first time ever in the Museum’s 117-year history that an installation has been made at the entrance of the historical building.

Ms Mutu’s commissioned project, The NewOnes, will free Us, features four bronze sculptures, titled The Seated I, II, III, and IV (2019). They will be exhibited until January 12, 2020.

In their website, The Met said of Ms Mutu’s work: “As with all of her work, these pieces engage in a critique of gender and racial politics that is as pointed as it is poetic and fantastic.

“With The NewOnes, will free Us, the artist has reimagined a motif common to the history of both Western and African art: the caryatid, a sculpted figure, almost always female, meant to serve as a means of either structural or metaphorical support.”

Ms Mutu, a dual citizen (Kenya and US) who is is married to Italian Mario Lazzaroni, is known primarily for her painting, sculpture, film and performance work, in a career spanning over 20 years.

Last week, she said in a statement:

“The poised, stately figures I have created for the MET facade derive inspiration from my interest in ancient and modern practices that reflect on the relationship between women and power across various traditions….They look as if they are charged with a role and responsibility. They have come to look and bear witness, and to reflect back to us what we are.”

This important installation is part of a new series of contemporary commissions at The Met in which the Museum invites artists to create new works of art inspired by the collection, establishing a dialogue between the artist’s work, the collection, the space, and audiences.

Ms. Mutu, who has lived and worked from her Brooklyn residence since 2006,  told New York Times (NYT):  “I’m not back, I’m back and forth.”

According to NYT, their daughters, ten and eight, go to school in Nairobi, Kenya.

Designed by Richard Morris Hunt and completed in 1902, the facade features four niches that were always intended to house free-standing sculptures, but have long lain empty. In filling them now with Mutu’s extraordinary sculptures, the Museum brings to fruition a dream 117 years in the making.

Mutu stages a feminist intervention, liberating the caryatid from her traditional duties and her secondary status. Mutu does so, moreover, in the context of a Neoclassical facade, whose original architects sought to convey a far more conservative set of values.

Simultaneously celestial and humanoid, each sculpture is unique, with individualized hands, facial features, ornamentation, and patination. Mutu’s embellishments take a great deal of inspiration from customs practiced by specific groups of high-ranking African women. The horizontal and vertical coils that sheathe the figures’ bodies, functioning as garment and armor all in one, reference beaded bodices and circular necklaces, while the polished discs set into different parts of the sculptures’ heads allude to lip plates. Belonging to no one time or place, Mutu’s hybrid figures are invariably stately, resilient, and self-possessed. They announce their authority and autonomy. Appearing to have recently arrived on the facade of The Met, they are the “new ones” who bring word of new ideas and new perspectives.

The NewOnes, will free Us constitutes one of Mutu’s most important and remarkable bodies of work to date, the culmination of two decades of sustained artistic experimentation and rigorous research into the relationship between power, culture, and representation.

 

 

 

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Diaspora

USCIS Announces Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Opportunities

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it is accepting applications for two funding opportunities under the Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program that will provide up to $10 million in grants for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country.

These competitive grant opportunities are open to organizations that prepare lawful permanent residents for naturalization and promote civic assimilation through increased knowledge of English, U.S. history, and civics.

USCIS seeks to expand availability of high-quality citizenship and assimilation services throughout the country with these two grant opportunities:

  • Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services. (PDF) This grant opportunity will fund up to 36 organizations that offer both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services to lawful permanent residents. Applications are due by Aug. 13, 2019.
  • The Refugee and Asylee Assimilation Program. (PDF) This grant opportunity will fund up to four organizations to provide individualized services to lawful permanent residents who entered the United States under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program or were granted asylum. These services will help them to obtain the skills and knowledge required for successful citizenship and to foster a sense of belonging and attachment to the United States. This grant strives to promote long-term civic assimilation of those lawful permanent residents who have identified naturalization as a goal, yet may need additional information, instruction and services to attain it. Applications are due by Aug. 13, 2019.

USCIS will take into account various program and organizational factors, including past grantee performance, when making final award decisions. In addition, all funded grant recipients must enroll in E-Verify as a regular employer within 30 days of receiving the award and remain as a participant in good standing with E-Verify throughout the entire period of grant performance. Funded grant recipients will be required to verify all new hires at hiring locations performing work on a program or activity that is funded in whole or in part under the grant.

USCIS expects to announce award recipients in September.

Since it began in 2009, the USCIS Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program has awarded approximately $82 million through 393 grants to immigrant-serving organizations in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

To apply for one of these funding opportunities, visit grants.gov. For additional information on the Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program for fiscal year 2019, visit uscis.gov/grants or email the USCIS Office of Citizenship at citizenshipgrantprogram@uscis.dhs.gov.

For more information on USCIS and our programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), and Facebook (/uscis).

 

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Diaspora

US welcomed 756,000 new Citizens last year, set to welcome 34,000 this month

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WASHINGTON—Did you know that more than 756,000 people became new U.S. citizens in 2018? That’s one new citizen every 42 seconds! Share in the celebration during Constitution Week.

USCIS announced Friday that it will celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day by welcoming nearly 34,300 new U.S. citizens during 316 naturalization ceremonies across the nation between Sept. 13 and 23.

The USCIS Constitution Week activities will feature a naturalization ceremony at the DAR Constitution Hall on Sept. 17, where USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli will administer the Oath of Allegiance and provide congratulatory remarks to 1,000 new U.S. citizens. View a list of other notable 2019 Constitution Week-themed naturalization ceremonies.

“Two hundred and thirty-two years ago, our great country adopted the United States Constitution, and as we celebrate Constitution Week, it is important to underscore the significance of citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution,” said Acting Director Cuccinelli. “These nearly 34,300 new U.S. citizens followed the law on their path to naturalization and now call the U.S. home. I can think of no better way to celebrate Constitution Week than to welcome thousands of new U.S. citizens who have assimilated, made a commitment to our great country, and have vowed to support the Constitution.”

On Sept. 17, the nation observes Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, as part of Constitution Week (Sept. 17 to 23 this year). The commemoration honors both the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and an observance that began in 1940 as “I Am an American Day.” Citizenship Day began in 1952, based on a law signed by President Harry Truman, and in 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed the first Constitution Week.

This time of year serves as an opportunity to celebrate the connection between the Constitution and citizenship and reflect on the meaning of becoming a citizen of the United States. USCIS welcomes approximately 650,000 to 750,000 citizens each year during naturalization ceremonies across the United States and around the world. In fiscal year 2018, USCIS naturalized more than 756,000 people, a five-year high in new oaths of citizenship.

To help applicants prepare to become U.S. citizens, USCIS provides study materials and resources available through the Citizenship Resource Center. In addition, the only official USCIS Civics Test application, USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools, is a mobile app that challenges users’ civic knowledge and is currently available for download in the Google Play and iTunes stores.

Following each naturalization ceremony, USCIS encourages new U.S. citizens and their families and friends to share their naturalization photos on social media using the hashtags #newUScitizen, #ConstitutionWeek, and #WethePeople.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow them on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).

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Diaspora

SAD: Kenyan woman passes away in Seattle, Washington

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It is with deep sorrow and heavy hearts that we announce the untimely demise of Alice Nyambura Mbatia of Seattle, Washington which happened early hours of Friday August 9th 2019.

Alice was the daughter to Eliud Kibebo Mbatia and Grace Mugure Mbatia of Nakuru ( Kenya), sister to Eunice Mbatia ( Washington), Agnes Mbatia ( Washington), Nikita Mbatia ( Nebraska), Faith Mbatia (Nebraska) and Francis Mbatia (Kenya).

She was sister in-law to Pst. Obadiah Kamau ( Washington), Patrick Njenga  ( Washington), Jamleck Muja Maina ( Nebraska) and Gichuki Kenyatta of Nebraska.

Family and friends will be meeting daily from 7pm at the Tabernacle Temple of Praise, located at 2025 S 341st Pl, Federal Way, WA 98003.

A fundraiser towards funeral costs will be held on Sunday, August 18 at 6:00 PM at Fire flow Ministries International 3900 E Valley Rd, Renton, WA,98057.
Funeral service will be on Wednesday, August 21st from 10 am at Christian Faith Center, located at 33645 20th Ave S, Federal Way, WA 98003
We thank the Almighty God for your prayers, presence and support during this difficult time.

Cash App donations can be sent to
Patrick Munyua:425 984 4258

Contact persons:
Pst. J. Kahora (425) 633-6335
Mike Njenga (206) 551-2735
James Gatata (425) 772-2066
Jamlick Maina (402) 405-9198

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