Interview: Cultura Orquídea
Luca Curci talks with Claudia Isabel Navas from Cultura Orquídea during BODIES+CITIES SKIN, the 1st appointment of BORDERS ART FAIR 2021, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
The workspace and brand Cultura Orquídea, a vision of art, nature and well-being was born as a result of a field experience around orchids living in the wild in the different ecosystems of Colombia, co-directed by Claudia Isabel Navas and the scientific team of the Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle of France in 2017. Cultura Orquídea is entitled to connect professionals of nature, well-being and art. They welcome Artists, Designers, Creators, Artisans, Scientific experts in natural or food sciences, practitioners of therapeutic care or any other practice that improves the physical, mental and psychological well-being of human beings through art.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Claudia Isabel Navas – Art is the energy that keeps the beauty of the world alive – no matter how tiny its particle may be – our imagination keeps the world spinning around. Without this creative input our lives, regardless of the shape they may take, would be denatured from the world that we evolve in. Art is that flow that connects us all together in a meaningful way.
LC – What’s your and other artists’ background?
CIN – We all come from various cultures and have been rooted in our art, making use of diverse disciplines or techniques. Our paths have crossed each other’s and we have stayed connected in spite of the physical distance or the time. Our common ground is the interest that of humankind evolving in different ecosystems and by different means.
LC – What are the experiences that have influenced your work the most?
CIN – Travelling and meeting wonderful people. People who strive to survive as we see in Wes Pope’s “Pop66 Project” or just people who live their lives inside their communities like Yvette Marie Dostatni’s or John Lee’s portraits. People who act upon others giving from their social positions to children and women like “Dona Rita” from Guapi, Colombia, or like McManus’s portraits: people who look into others’ naked eyes. Those are the artists and experiences that have touched me deeply throughout my life. The mission to Colombia with the team of the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle and Enlaces Artisticos while searching (‘hunting’) with cameras and video cameras for orchids living in the wilderness enhanced my perception of the beauty of the natural world. Both in a profound manner and in a utopic way too: it reinforced my dream for a better world without violence, hatred or natural destruction.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society?
CIN – I cannot say for sure what is the role that an artist plays in society but as I understand this world, I believe that artists from the beginning of our human history have had the potential, the gift, to communicate with others in subtle ways: through their art-making. Speech is a wonderful communication tool but an artist’s language is a personal one: an alphabet that each artist constructs with an intimate grammar. This particular language unfolds through the artist’s life and owns growth/evolution. And whatever it is that an artist has to say – in the mean that he or she chooses – has the benefit to touch others in a more subjective way than common language and sometimes an artist’s work can be a departure point for others’ paths.
LC – And contemporary art?
CIN – Contemporary art will stop being contemporary art one day. So, to me art is timeless: look at Lascaux’s rock paintings. How can you go more contemporary than that? Art is timeless. The role of art has always been the same: the expression of human souls through different means: music, painting, drawing, ceramics, photo, film, performance, theater, dance.. that moves people’s sensibilities in different ways.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
CIN – In everyday gestures.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
CIN – Antonio Machado said: “Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar”. I completely feel connected to his poetry and that of Calderon de la Barca: “?Que es la vida? un frenesì. ?Que es la vida? una ilusion, una sombra, una ficcion, y el mayor bien es pequeno. Que toda la vida es sueno, y los suenos, suenos son”. I love images that speak by themselves, dreams of beauty and a better world. And, we are the makers of our lives and dreams with everyday gestures. My artworks focus on that part of our common histories and stories that have been untold. I am a curious person who likes to inquire about our common grounds and try to better understand our history and human geography always through an art discipline.