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December 06, 2021

A Conversation with Artist-in-Residence Faune Ybarra

[Image Description: Faune stands behind a wooden table on which her work is displayed. The work is a light beige blanket covered in multi-coloured embroidery. Photo credit: Mansi Patel]

In February 2020 we hosted Faune Ybarra in the ArtStarts Maker Space. The collaboration was part of the RBC Emerging Artists-in-Residence, which provides time, space, and money for artists to develop their practice. The residency also offered Faune and young people of all ages an opportunity to connect through textile embroidery. Faune’s exhibition, sewing from here, aimed to create a sense of belonging. We caught up with Faune, who will lead ArtStarts on Saturdays in January 2022, to reflect on her time in the Gallery in early 2020.

ArtStarts: In February of 2020 you began an artist residency in the Maker Space. You were also working on your MFA and research on the intersection of displacement and site-specificity. Can you tell us a little about your work since then?

Faune: When my residency started at ArtStarts, I was new to the city of Vancouver and its diverse communities. My project for the residency was collaborative in nature and before the initial shutdown, I got used to talking with folks visiting the Maker Space. I would ask them about their neighborhoods and their favourite places to visit while making lines in a shared blanket that I would later embroider on. With the shutdown, all these conversations came to a halt and I had to redefine my diasporic art practice from a place of stagnation, a first for me, someone who has moved every other year to a new house or a new city. Ever since March 2020 I've been wondering how to ground (contextualize my art making) in displacement while still iterating like a dandelion.

[Image Description: Four images featuring an embroidery and painted figures on a large cloth. L-R: Large cloth hung up on a wall. On it are various shapes drawn and embroidered on. Following image shows a close up of lines painted in green and blue. Heart shapes and hand prints are also stamped on. Another closeup shows a unicorn drawn in an orange outline with a rainbow mane. The word mania is written above the head. Finally, curvy lines in purple and pink are drawn on the beige fabric, and on top there is embroidery stitching in purple, magenta, and yellow. Co-created by Beatrice, Anika, Kushal, Matelle, Roi and other ArtStarts visitors.]

ArtStarts: For those who may not have gotten a chance to read our previous blog about your residency or engage your work in the mezzanine Gallery, could you describe your art practice?

Faune: I return to dandelions everytime I try to explain what I do. Like them, diasporas spread long and far across the land, iterating from flower, to seed, to weed. In my practice, I call attention to the distance between the places I've inhabited (Mexico City, Oaxaca, Corner Brook, St. John's, and now Vancouver) looking for ways to document diasporic motion. This documentation has taken the shape of performances, embroidery, photo-based objects, and creative writing. Most recently I turned books by diasporic, nomadic and/or Indigenous writers into pinhole cameras to document the Vancouver shoreline!

ArtStarts: What materials do you like to work with, and why?

Faune: This is such a great and fun question! I like to work and acknowledge materials and the more-than-human as I make. For that reason, I carry a collection of (dry) weeds, flowers, and leaves from my mom's garden and the neighborhoods I've lived in. Paired with some of my other favourite materials, organic matter is always featured in my work, somehow. I'm also an enthusiast of all-things photography: cyanotypes, different format film, photographic paper, and any other matrix-based printing like wood and fabric. In the end, I just like to pay attention to what's around me and think of ways to document it and carry it with me. I love easily transportable materials!

[Image Description: Resin balls hang from a wall. They contain scraps of thread from the fabric canvas. The materials were donated from a Buy Nothing Group.]

ArtStarts: Where did you draw inspiration from for the artwork in our mezzanine Gallery space?

Faune: When I first read about the opportunity to be in residence at ArtStarts I went in to visit the gallery to know more about the communities that would usually visit the space. At the time, Leah Horlick, former Program Manager, was a great guide into the amazing Maker Space and all its possibilities. I was very interested in the "rule" of the space where people couldn't take their material investigations home. I started thinking of the space as a collective knowledge-making hub so I wanted to add to all the wonderful creations. For instance, I drew inspiration from the mark-making of the drawings on the wall and pieces of paper with atendee's writing. I would respond to these mark-making in embroidery.

ArtStarts: What do you hope audiences will pick up on when they witness your art?

Faune: I avoid being prescriptive with my art in recognition of the diverse (cultural, ethnic, religious, artistic) backgrounds of the audience. However, I hope the importance of home and belonging are present when seeing the work and that my work poses questions around these matters instead of offering answers.

In 2022 we are launching ArtStarts Ignites, a new artist residency program. If you’re an artist in British Columbia and want to participate, apply by December 10. Faune will lead the next ArtStarts on Saturdays. Join us on Facebook starting on Saturday, January 29.

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