RE-MAPPING the AMAZON : Hand with Triple Border Polaroids taken by youth, Leticia, Amazonia. Collaborative photography using creative ethnography inquiry approach during workshop
2018, Mounted photograph, 36 x 72 in
Vera Schoepe is a Spanish-German multimedia artist based in Vashon Island, WA who uses Photography and other Art media to document questions of memory, identity, and territory, with emphasis on in-situ designs co-created with communities living in borderlands. In her research, she seeks to explore the poetry and politics of shifting hybrid identities in public and private spaces. With her workshops, she ultimately seeks to encourage participants to assert and co-create meaning as they map out their bearings. Her art-o-cartographies are informed by interviews and local histories and are the root of her creative inquiry.
Vera'a mission is to create artwork and community-centered Art projects that encourage dialogue, healing, and understanding through creative collaboration. Inspired by my trip upstream the Amazon river in 2018, she created two paintings - one depicting a foot in the midst of tidal waves and the other representing a layered exploration of the Amazonian myth of the Kurupira - wild woman with crisscrossed feet who protects the rainforest from those who seek to destroy its resources by making them get lost in the depths of the jungle they are trying to eradicate. This painting-based reflective work was nurtured by recent photographic creation and workshop collaboration with locals. In 2018, she conducted UT-Austin sponsored Education research that sought to decenter Eurocentric ethnographies by applying decolonizing and critical place theories. Led by Luis Garcia, a local Leticia elder, we fostered the emergence of collaborative Photovoice workshops that featured first person representations of local youth voices living and traversing the triple Amazon border between Brasil, Colombia, and Peru. This whole body of work took shape in 2018 after seeds were cast in 2015. More recent art pieces include cyanotype images of underwater roots and a large mural piece of a barnacle-covered stone heart. Underwater roots have been at the heart of her creation for the past two years.
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