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Art Watch : Bea Camacho

Bea Camacho is in focus for our Art Watch for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across any discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by. Or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch.

Visual artist, Bea Camacho, has created art that focuses on the art of knitting, and wide thread crocheting. Bea Camacho, a visual artist was based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she studied at Havard. Her performance art piece revolved around the art of knitting. Crocheting continuously without breaks, it is a feat of perseverance and patience and immense physical toil.

Bea Camacho art deals with much more than those driving forces. The artist explains talking about her video performances where she has worked for 11 hours as a part of the performance – “This video work deals with ideas of isolation, security, shelter and of shaping one’s own environment. To me, crochet is associated with home, warmth and security.” For her this is her was of  isolating herself in a protective cocoon that ensures she is not tainted by outside dangers, she is safe and free in her own space. Bea makes a powerful statement using her own body.

Over ongoing projects she has placed emphasis on the space around the body, which becomes an integral part of the work as her body slowly disappears into the architecture. A thought that many would resonate with – the very idea of exercising the right to the body and the mental space of the individual. Her craft is the externalising of an internal thought.

Why Bea Camacho?

Camacho said about previous projects, that the work deals with ideas of isolation, security, shelter, and of shaping one’s own environment, which gains great relevance in contemporary context. Simply put – while the viewer is observing. They are also being gradually being cut off, since she too is working to separate herself from the gaze.

Working with different elements around this theme, in another work, Camacho crocheted herself into yarn that was the same colour as her surroundings. In this case, the idea was not just about wrapping herself up, but also about disappearing into her surroundings.

Talking about material, Camacho’s work is about blurring the lines between what fiber can be, as can the amalgamation of art, clothing and architecture. The formation of a chrysalis echoes the ICA exhibit’s exploration of the material as an organic medium, pliable to the artist’s will—and to the audience’s interpretation.

Born in the Philippines, this young artist officially began making her wonderful cloth-pods, the cocoons, while she was in her senior year at Harvard University, in 2005. This is where she majored in visual and environmental studies, with a focus in studio arts.

According to Camacho, speaking about her unusual representation – says that she gained inspiration for her cocoons while on her many travels as a child, when she bounced between the Philippines, London and the United States, often yearning for her family and friends.

“Having lived in so many different countries, I always had to create a home for myself. It’s the idea of creating your own environment. I use crochet because I really wanted it to be a very intimate material, and the act of crocheting is meditative and contemplative.” said Camacho

The artist spends much of her time in Shanghai.


For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – explore the ART WATCH archive.

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