Local artist Nitin Mukul presenting his latest exhibit, "Heat Maps: Queens" at the Local NY. Photo by Epicenter-NYC

Queens-based artist and Epicenter-NYC co-founder Nitin Mukul’s latest project and exhibition Heat Maps: Queens, a new series of durational painting video works, is raising awareness of the climate crisis on a local level. The art project focuses on specific neighborhoods in Queens that have been rated high risk on a scale called the Heat Vulnerability Index (HVI), these include: East Elmhurst and Corona, Jamaica and Hollis, and Richmond Hill. The project was supported by a grant for Queens-based artists from the New York Foundation for the Arts. 

“It’s not surprising that neighborhoods such as Corona and East Elmhurst, which are just a few blocks away from my residence in Jackson Heights, were among the hardest hit during Covid are also the ones at high risk on the HVI. Art has an incredible power to influence activism and raise awareness on important issues––I wanted to tap into this to exhibit the inequities that New Yorkers experience. I used durational painting to show the effects of heat disintegrating the paintings in real time in these neighborhoods,” shared Mukul. “I am grateful to the New York Foundation for the Arts for supporting projects like Heat Maps: Queens.”

Durational painting of East Elmhurst by Nitin Mukul. Photo by Epicenter-NYC

NYC Council Member Krishnan, Chair of the Committee on Parks & Recreation, who recently visited the exhibit shared: “Nitin Mukul’s Heat Maps: Queens is a striking visual manifestation of something that so many New Yorkers sense but cannot see: our parks and trees are the silent guardians of our communities. Using durational painting and slow melting blocks of ice, his work shows how communities that lack tree canopy — East Elmhurst, Jamaica, Hollis — are most susceptible to the worst effects of extreme heat and climate change. It is a clear call to action: New York City desperately needs more trees and more public, green parks.”

The artworks themselves, painted outdoors in these neighborhoods, function as an index of the green space inequity and systemic racist policy in urban planning that ultimately lead to the formation of these heat islands. See full project overview and images here. Further, this project is another example of using art to help inform neighbors around important issues; Mukul led Epicenter’s efforts with local artist Heidi Howard to showcase vaccine success stories

Nitin Mukul is an American visual artist of Indian descent mapping spaces where painting and video intersect as a durational experience. He has lived and worked in Massachusetts, India, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and currently is in New York City. His work has appeared at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn and Lincoln Center, NYC. His work was included in the 2013 Queens Biennial at the Queens Museum. See more of his work at nitinmukul.com and his Instagram.

Carolina Valencia is longtime media and digital executive who has worked at The New York Times, Univision and The Recount. A native of Guayaquil, Ecuador who grew up in Queens, Carolina also worked for...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.