In the leadup to ArtPrize Nine, we're catching up with artists who've won grants to bring their work to the event this fall through the series, "5 Questions with...".

Today we're hearing from Eva Rocha, an artist from Brazil who won an Artist Seed Grant to bring "Object-Orientalis," to ArtPrize Nine. Read on to learn more about this project, what inspires her, and more.

1. Describe the project you’re making for ArtPrize. What will visitors see?

"Object-Orientalis" is a work that includes the filming of 16 women nude and in positions of constriction inside crates. The videos are mapped to fit the 16 crates, giving the illusion of the women being trapped inside the crates, ready to be “shipped.” The crates are filled of packing materials. The viewers will see the women slowly moving inside those crates. They will have an experience of encountering these bodies and reacting to them - with rejection, attraction, compassion, disgust; humanizing or objectifying them.

2. How does this piece fit into your past work? Is this an extension of an existing body of work, or something new?

Much of my work explores personal and collective trauma. Many comment on the implications of seeing the human in an objectified way, or looking at art objects as distinct from the human context. I see the devaluing of subjective human experiences as having led to consequences as historically seen in mass atrocities such as slavery, the Holocaust, human trafficking, refugee crises, etc. I created this work a little bit over a year ago. I initially filmed and projected myself into four crates. After that, I submitted a proposal to a light-based art festival  “Inlight” (of 1708  Gallery in Richmond, VA) of filming six women for their event, but I ended up filming 16 and had their approval and support to display it all.

3. What’s your favorite artwork (by someone else) and why?

I have many favorite works! But not in order of importance necessarily, I would mention a work by Colombian artist, Doris Salcedo (many will remember her work composed of women’s shoes inside transparent boxes) because I can say I wish I had done that work. For me, it is all I think a work can be: concise, well done, perfect in terms of message directed and open at the same time, and social. As I mentioned, in my work I am concerned with personal and collective trauma. I know what Doris is referring to in her work, especially being from Latin America.

4. What inspires and informs your practice besides other art? What do you pay attention to? What do you research?

I am fascinated by everything. I pay attention to my surroundings: to the news, to the tragedies that don’t make it to the news and happen silenced under our eyes. I pay attention to the philosophers of our time and how these thoughts are being reflected in our art, our literature and in our media. I have an undergrad degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in which I combined Cultural Studies, Anthropology and Art. I am interested in what the art of our time is saying about us, about the historical moment we are living.

5. What is your dream project?

Many, I have many. But in a fist instance, there is one in particular I would like to develop. I would like to work in an old church using digital video, self-recorded performances inspired on Byzantine iconography, and project mapping these videos of the female form into the architecture.

By Kevin Buist on