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Interview with Carol Antezana, 2020 Darkroom Artist Resident

March 8, 2020

For three months this winter, CHAW’s 2020 Darkroom Artist Resident Carol Antezana worked in the darkroom and digital photographic facilities at CHAW, dedicating time to a project about motherhood, womanhood, and the aguayo -- a traditional Bolivian carrying cloth. Her exhibit is on view in the CHAW Gallery from March 9 to March 28th, with a reception and artist talk on March 21st from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at CHAW! Free and open to all.

2020 Darkroom Artist Resident Carol Antezana

Our Photography Chair Katherine Akey recently interviewed Carol and we're excited to learn more! For more info on Carol, follow her on Instagram at @carol_antezana or visit her website at  http://www.carolantezana.com/.

Carol, tell us a little bit about you! How did you come to be an artist?
I had always had an affinity for art making- even as a child. From the age of 4-12 I remember spending new years eve drawing in my sketchbook alone at these huge Bolivian parties my family used to host/attend. Throughout my public school education I loved all the art classes I took and was always encouraged by my art teachers to keep creating. It wasn’t until my photography class in high school where I felt I found my preferred method of creativity and realized It was something I wanted to pursue in higher education. After receiving my BFA in fine art photography, I found myself taking a step back and allowing myself to take time to create work for myself. I have recently started to try to be part of the art community byt applying for art residencies and grants.

Why did you choose a residency at CHAW?
The residency at CHAW had been floating around my feed on my social media and thought this was a really unique opportunity since it included access to a darkroom. I thought I could incorporate the use of the darkroom for my proposal, but also felt I had other options since the residency also had access to a film scanner and large format printer. I also figured I wouldn't have to commute very far if I was fortunate enough if I actually got it. 

What was your initial proposal for this residency and how did your work change over the course of it?
My initial proposal was to create a body of work that explores the relationship between Bolivian mothers and their first generation American daughter(s). I had the intention of photographing all these women with different colored aguayos that best matched each one's personality and region from bolivia their family was from. The whole inspiration I had for the project came out of my own personal need to connect with my own mother, so I decided to focus on self-portraiture. I tried shooting black and white film and color film, but the nature of self-portraits made it super difficult to capture the perfect image. I decided to go with digital photography, that was I can shoot as many times as I needed to capture the right essence for each image. The use of the actual aguayo in the series has also changed drastically. I initially wanted to use the woven fabric as the backdrop for all my images, but I opted to use the color (magenta) of my own mother’s aguayo as inspiration for the series. I would say that my initial proposal was a way to hide what I was actually afraid to showcase- learning to mend the estranged relationship with my mother through our culture and loss of child. 

What’s next for you now that the residency is coming to a close?
I am currently working on sequencing and framing my images for the exhibition coming up at CHAW. However once this residency and show is over, I plan to continue developing this project. This residency has helped me explore many ideas and directions, but I feel like this is a starting point for something bigger.

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