The Curated Fridge: Meraki Vagary: The Art of Slowing Down
When jurying The Curated Fridge Exhibition and selecting artists to be featured on Lenscratch, I wanted to showcase work by photographers I was unfamiliar with and whose work peaked my curiosity. Meraki Vagary shared intriguing images of snail-created art as part of her project, The Art of Slowing Down, which not only made me laugh and ponder the process, but more importantly, it was a delightful metaphor for what we all need to do.
Vagary shares that the project was created in direct response to the pandemic and global lockdown:
“2020 was a strange year for us all. The global pandemic and national lockdowns have caused losses to lives and jobs as well as having a huge detrimental effect on mental health and well-being. But it also asked us to slow down and pause for a while; giving us an opportunity to focus on our own well-being and take some time to identify our societal issues and learn how to manage the stress and anxiety that we deal with daily.
‘The Art of Slowing Down’ is a personal journey that I have been on since March 2020 when the first lockdown begun and I realized I no longer had control over my life. I had to release some of that tension by learning to let go of my need to have complete control as well as learning patience; something I have never had much of.
By experimenting and making my own, organic pigments I reconnected with my ancestral routes and this encouraged interactions with older family members who imparted their knowledge to me. It also opened me up to an entirely new way of being creative and a synergistic relationship between myself and nature.
My tiny zen masters have been guiding me into a slower way of living and in doing this I learnt to let go of pain and trauma that I had carried for a very long time. This journey is one of well-being, calmness and acceptance as I let go and evolve. It is full of ups and downs, but is something worth reflecting on.”
A somewhat nomadic artist, Meraki Vagary works with ecological and sustainable practice within contemporary art to explore the connections and relationships humans have with each other as well as the natural world.
Moving from the Marine Biology sector into Education and the Arts, this miscellany of interests often converge to produce interesting questions which are responded to by the artist, in an interdisciplinary fashion and largely using somatic-led performance; interacting with flora, fauna, organic materiality and found objects.
Her project, The Art of Slowing Down, is on Virtual Exhibition through Kunstmatrix.
Follow Meraki Vagary on Instagram: @merakivagary
The Art of Slowing Down
I have spent the past 3 years working with nature to explore drawing and painting techniques, the land-based skill of making my own pigments (learning from my Aunt and Great Aunt to understand their ancestral wisdom) and how to work sustainably whilst gaining an insight into a slower pace of living. The outcomes of this experimentation in materiality were far more than I had anticipated and I have glimpsed a new language of symbolism and belonging that surpasses our human instincts to hate and hurt. The works I have produced on paper are unique and created over long periods of time.
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