Interview: Tara A. Chadwick
Luca Curci talks with Tara A. Chadwick during CONSCIOUSNESS and VISIONS, second and third appointments of ANIMA MUNDI 2022, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello, and during the 10th edition of CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2022.
Tara Chadwick enjoys engaging global and local communities with visual, vocal, and interactive installations in both rural and urban settings. Her work has been presented in Miami, Toronto, Belize, Minneapolis/ Saint Paul, Sydney, Hong Kong, Mexico City and now Venice, Italy. After pursuing studies in socio-cultural anthropology and professional practice in archaeology and museology spanning over three decades, Tara is returning her focus to a childhood passion for creating and sharing art. Tara is an Indigenous woman, a member of the African Diaspora, grandchild of the Maya and Mesoamerican People of Belize, Mexico and Central America, and a granddaughter of the original people of the land we now know as Western Europe. Her vision is for all humans to build a regenerative lifestyle, restoring harmony with the cycles of nature.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Tara A. Chadwick – Art for me is inseparable from what it means to exist as a human being within this living womb we call Mother Earth. Who we are and how we relate to the world around us; the universe itself and everything within it is art. Art is life and life is art.
LC – What are you currently working on?
TC – After two decades of mentoring emerging artists and educators, I am celebrating my 50th dance around the sun by revealing a few of my own perspectives for the first time. It’s difficult to see through another’s eyes, but I am sharing a portal, a brief glimpse of micro and macro observations, documenting hopes for a post-Anthropocene future. The new work I am developing integrates elements of my digital and performance art into an interactive audience engagement experience. Eventually, I would like to scale this concept to a large, building-sized activity exploring relationships between people, architecture and the environment from the perspective of a nonlinear past, present and future.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
TC – The most important part of an artist’s work is to make tangible some message, memory or vision for the future. In this sense, artists serve as intermediaries between realms of the physical present and a potential future which has not yet materialized. The artist intermediary often skillfully translates between diverse groups, geographies, languages and epistemologies. Contemporary art provides a framework by which we create a world where many viewpoints and perspectives can find common threads of understanding. Where we co-create a world of equity and respect across the differences we think to divide us. …A place where artists, collectors, curators and curious passersby connect. And in that connection, we remember, repair and restore our sense of responsibility and kindness as beings within this sacred space and time known as creation.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
TC – My artistic inspiration comes from a deep love and admiration for the beings and elements that surround me, from the microscopic creatures that keep our water and soil health to the immeasurably large bodies of water, ice, air and stone that sustain our delicately balanced life on Earth. My current #Matriarch and #GoldenHour series reflect a sense of purpose, responsibility, urgency and hope. They are markers of this moment in time when we humans begin to integrate regenerative systems into all of our technologies and daily practices. From a commitment to move forward with respect, we will be able to tread a path that leads to eternity.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
TC – The idea of bringing together artists from around the world to consider and celebrate the connectedness of all life both surprised and inspired me. As an educator, historian and active practitioner and advocate of my Indigenous Mesoamerican culture, I have an innate understanding of some of the ways in which we are all related. However, I was astonished to learn that there are many people who share this worldview across the globe. I am excited to contribute to this important discussion with other artists and art advocates with a shared interest in ensuring our sense of interconnectedness are strengthened and restored.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID Group can represent an opportunity for artists?
TC – This was my first time participating with ITSLIQUID Group and I was very excited and nervous at the beginning! It takes a large amount of trust to allow a stranger to take care of your art. The process of sending my work across the ocean to a curatorial team I’d never met, in a city I’ve never even visited before taught me a lot about the important bond of trust that artists gracefully extend to curators in hanging, labelling and describing the work to the public. It was a great experience participating in the exhibition, seeing photos of visitors enjoying my work and learning about different styles of art, curation, promotion and collector cultivation. I am looking forward to the next time ITSLIQUID Group produces Anima Mundi and plan to apply again. I will also integrate many ideas I learned from ITSLIQUID Group into my artistic and curatorial process and practices.