How I Basel: Featuring Dejha Carrington of YoungArts

Dejha Carrington works for the National YoungArts Foundation and is a firm believer in providing valuable opportunities to emerging artists at pivotal stages in their careers. When it comes to Miami Art Week, she writes, “Meet the artists, take the time to ask questions and, as cliché as it may sound, buy for love.”  Here are her tips to making the most of the week and the events she’s most excited to check out.

Dejha Carrington

How to Basel best:

  • Load up on snacks and stay hydrated at all times
  • Do the mainland or the Beach for large blocks of time
  • Look out for exhibitions extended beyond Basel—The Bass, ICA, PAMM, etc.—that you can visit minus the crowds
  • Be unafraid to ask an artist or gallery for information or pricing
  • Don’t just do it for the gram. Make sure you’re seeing and feeling the work first. (But when you do take that snap, credit the artist and their gallery.)


What: IMAGINATION LAND: Fantastical Narrative
Who: Curated by Derrick Adams
When: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Where: National YoungArts Foundation, 2100 Biscayne Blvd.
How long: On view through Dec. 15
Why it’s special: In a recent interview with Derrick, he described how the art world sometimes gets it twisted. Using the metaphor of the carrot and the stick, artists are often seen as the cart driver instead of the reward at the end of the stick. As a multidisciplinary artist and YoungArts master teacher, Derrick’s curatorial debut with the organization has been about exposing the constructs of the art industry and working with alumni artists to showcase their painting, photography, sculpture, video and more.

What: Opening Reception for Black White and Brown
Who: Solo exhibition by Derrick Adams
When: 5 – 8 p.m.
Where: Primary, 15 NE 39th Str., Miami Design District
How to go: Email [email protected]
Why it’s special: Too low to get under and too high to get over, this solo exhibition by Derrick Adams is boldly all-encompassing, fully immersive, and graphic black, white and brown. It’s fun, it’s self-referential and it’s smart. As an added bonus, Jai-Ali Books will also be popping up in the PRIMARY. space throughout Basel, which means that while you may not be in the market for contemporary art, you can still invest in an objet d’art, zine or chapbook for less than $50.


What: Design Talk
Who: Mwabwindo School, winner of the Panerai Design Miami/Visionary Award
When: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Where: Design Miami at Meridian Ave. & 19th St., Miami Beach
Why it’s special: Learn more about how the Mwabwindo School will serve primary students in southern Zambia, located in a rural area where travel distance to school is one of the biggest impediments to quality education. And then take your time to walk the fair and shop the bookstore.

What: Interactive Sound Installation
Who: MDC Live Arts presents Tania El Khoury: Gardens Speak
When: 9 – 10 p.m.
Where: Gleason Room at the Fillmore at 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
How to go: Buy tickets
Why it’s special: Reimagining how we experience empathy, internationally acclaimed live artist Tania El Khoury implements two interactive performance pieces using innovative forms and the real oral histories of ten ordinary people who were buried in Syrian gardens.


What: Searching – a YoungArts alumni exhibition
Who: Curated by Helen Toomer
When: On view through Dec. 10
Where: PULSE Contemporary Art Fair, Booth S-212, Indian Beach Park at 4601 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Why it’s special: I bought a piece from Glenn Espinosa at the YoungArts booth last year because it felt like the best kind of accessible, encouraging and rewarding purchase I could make. We often talk about YoungArts’ emerging artists as the future luminaries of the world. With time, I’ve learned to support early and as often as possible.

What: PRIZM Perform
When: 5 – 8 p.m.
Where: PRIZM Art Fair at 145 E. Flagler St, Downtown Miami
How to go: Buy tickets
How long: On view until Dec. 17
Why it’s special: While PRIZM Art Fair’s exhibition will remain on view until Dec. 17, their performance series is a one-time only engagement highly recommended by Director Mikhaile Solomon. Performances include, “When Drowning is the Best Option” by Tsedaye Makonnen, focusing on the African refugee crisis and the forced/enforced migrations of the Diaspora; “Gatekeeper” by Helina Metafaria, ongoing work around transnational identities and migration; “Lest We Forget” by Nyugen Smith and Marvin Fabien, a multi sensory performance derived from their ongoing dialog related to the impacts of hurricanes and climate change in the Caribbean.


What: Fair.
Who: Curated by Zoe Lukov
When: During fair hours
Where: Brickell City Center at 701 S. Miami Ave., Downtown Miami
How long: On view through Dec. 10
Why it’s special: An all-new all-woman art fair where admission is free and nothing is for sale. In an interview with The New York Times, curator Zoe Lukov explained that Fair. aims to challenge and upend the traditional commercial model during Art Basel Miami Beach. “She said, ‘just one more step forward in the dismantling of the patriarchy.’”

What: New Art Dealers Alliance Fair
When: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Where: Ice Palace Studios at 1400 North Miami Avenue
Why it’s special: NADA, aside from Design Miami, is one of my favorite fairs. Think lesser known galleries, artist-run spaces, and dope merch. According to ArtNews, this year, NADA will present booths by 108 galleries from 16 different countries, including 23 galleries that have never shown at the fair before.


What: Artists’ Influencers Talk: Black representation, the roles of music, news media, television and the Internet
Who: Cinematographer Arthur Jafa and pianist and composer Jason Moran
When: 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Where: Miami Beach Botanical Garden at 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach
How to go: ABMB VIP cardholders
Why it’s special: So it’s Saturday and about time to do the main fair. Arthur Jafa has become the go-to video artist and filmmaker for Jay Z and the Knowles Sisters, while Jason Moran is an award-winning jazz composer and pianist. Albeit from different mediums, their artistic practice is fluid, multidisciplinary and intersectional. Fun fact: Moran is a 1993 YoungArts Winner in Jazz.

What: Opening Reception for Baby, I Want Yew To Know All Tha Folks I Am
Who: Christina Quarles
When: 7 – 10 p.m.
Where: David Castillo Gallery at 420 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
How long: On view through Jan. 31, 2018
Why it’s special: I first learned about Christina’s work at Studio Museum in Harlem and simply want to know more. In her words, “As a Queer, cis-woman who is black but is often mistaken as white, I engage with the world from a position that is multiply situated. My project is informed by my daily experience with ambiguity and seeks to dismantle assumptions of our fixed subjectivity through images that challenge the viewer to contend with the disorganized body in a state of excess.”


What: Scope Contemporary Art Fair and Untitled fair
Where: Both art fairs are conveniently situated around 12th street and Ocean
Why it’s special: Stuff a beach towel in your artsy tote and head to the water after hopping between fairs.