Destiny Mata is a documentary photographer dedicated to capturing the Lower East Side. In response to the rapid gentrification of the community, she began to use portraiture as a way to photograph her friends and neighbors, many of whom are residents of the Lillian Wald Houses where she grew up.
For Mata, NYCHA buildings like Lillian Wald are the heart and soul of New York City. The backdrops of her portraits often prominently feature the iconic brick exterior of the Lower East Side public housing developments.
Taken between 2009 and 2020, La Vida en Loisaida (Life on the Lower East Side) amplifies the pride of longtime LES residents, in the wake of the neighborhood’s rapid and difficult changes.
Destiny Mata is a Mexican American photographer and filmmaker based in her native New York City as she focuses on issues of subculture and community. After studying photojournalism at LaGuardia Community College and San Antonio College, she spent 2 years as Director of Photography Programs at the Lower East Side Girls Club. Mata has had work published and featured in Teen Vogue, Vice’s Noisey, Vibe, The Source, and Mass Appeal. Mata recently exhibited “La Vida En Loisaida: Life on the Lower East Side” at Photoville Festival 2020. She has taken part in a group exhibition at ICP, “Concerned Global Images for Global Crisis” at the International Center of Photography 2020, Mexic-Arte Museum, Young Latino Artists 21: Amexican@ 2016 and in 2014 she exhibited photographs of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy at the Museum of New York City’s, “Rising Waters: Photographs of Sandy” exhibition.
Abrons Arts Center is a home for contemporary interdisciplinary arts in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood. A core program of the Henry Street Settlement, Abrons believes that access to the arts is essential to a free and healthy society. Through performance presentations, exhibitions, education programs, and residencies, Abrons mobilizes communities with the transformative power of art.
La Vida en Loisaida (Life on the Lower East Side)
Featuring: Destiny Mata
Curated by: Ali Rosa-Salas
LocationsView Location Details Jobs Plus
4 Avenue D
E. 3rd Street,
Location open 24 hours
EDUCATION DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
This photographer makes photos of life on the Lower East Side, where she grew up. Why do you think it’s important to document your friends, family and community?
How do her photos of the Lower East Side differ from other photos you have seen of the neighborhood?
What emotions do you see in the people in the photos?
We Built This City: Destiny Mata and Gogy Esparza in Conversation
Photographers Destiny Mata and Gogy Esparza discuss their artistic practices and the role New York City plays in shaping their aesthetic perspectives. Moderated by Abrons Arts Center’s Director of Programming, Ali Rosa-Salas.Learn More