Destiny Mata: La Vida en Loisaida (Life on the Lower East Side)

Abrons Arts Center is pleased to be part of the Photoville Festival that will be held throughout New York City beginning on September 17, 2020. Together, both Photoville and Abrons Arts Center present work by Lower East Side-based photographer Destiny Mata.

Destiny Mata is a documentary photographer dedicated to capturing the Lower East Side and its longtime residents. For Mata, NYCHA buildings—like the Lillian Wald Houses where she grew up—represent the heart and soul of New York City, and many of her photographs prominently feature the iconic brick exterior of Lower East Side public housing developments. Taken between 2009 and 2020, La Vida en Loisaida (Life on the Lower East Side) considers how resistance to gentrification is expressed through play, presence in public space, and care for one’s neighbors.

Go behind the scenes and learn more about Destiny Mata with this Artist Profile, shot by Brendan Burdzinski. 

La Vida en Loisaida (Life on the Lower East Side) will be on-view on the exterior of Boys & Girls Republic (888 E 6th Street) and on the gates of Jobs Plus (24 Avenue D).

Exhibition Programming

Opening Celebration of Photoville Festival 2020
September 19, 1-3 PM ET at the Abrons Amphitheater
Stop by the Abrons Amphitheater and take a map so that you can take a self-guided tour of the exhibitionRSVP

We Built This City: Destiny Mata and Gogy Esparza in Conversation
September 27, 5 PM ET; Online
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 [RSVP]

IG Live Artist Talk: Destiny Mata and Jayah Arnett, curator of @my.projectsrunway
September 25, 1 PM ET. Join us on Abrons Instagram Live.
La Vida en Loisaida photographer Destiny Mata discusses her exhibition with Jayah Arnett, curator of the Instagram account @my.projectsrunway. Started in 2020, @my.projectsrunway documents the stories of NYCHA residents, with the goal of shifting stereotypes about life in public housing. 


Destiny Mata is a Mexican American photographer and filmmaker based in her native New York City focusing on issues of subculture and community. After studying photojournalism at La Guardia Community College and San Antonio College, she spent two years as Director of Photography Programs at the Lower East Side Girls Club Mata and has had work published and featured in Teen Vogue, Vice’s Noisey, Vibe Magazine, The Source Magazine, Mass Appeal, and Frank151. Mata has recently taken part in a group exhibition at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, Political Punk 2018, 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. She is currently preparing a series of documentary works continuing her exploration of the fabric of the communities around her.

The Photoville Festival, New York City’s FREE premier photo destination, returns for a ninth year in a different way – online community and artist programming plus photo exhibitions in public spaces throughout New York City. This annual community gathering features public exhibitions, virtual online storytelling events, artist talks, workshops, demonstrations, educational programs, and community programming. The Photoville Festival provides an accessible venue for photographers and audiences from every walk of life to engage with each other, and experience thought-provoking photography from across the globe – with free admission for all! The full public exhibition and online programming schedule will be announced on August 28, 2020. For more information please head to


La Vida en Loisaida (Life on the Lower East Side) is produced by Photoville Festival 2020, and supported by Duggal Visual Solutions.

Abrons Arts Center’s Visual Arts programs are made possible through the generosity of the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and other generous Henry Street Settlement funders. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and support from the New York State Council on the arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Image Credit: Destiny Mata