Artist Statement

I see my art practice as an investigative tool, as a way to engage in dialogue, a platform for thinking and a means to develop knowledge. My work has evolved from figurative and symbolic explorations in painting to a variety of modes that include drawing, video, performance, installation and public intervention projects. Therefore, the emphasis of my work does not lie in the medium, but in creating a space to explore social contexts and collective narratives. History, film, soap-operas, fairy-tales and mythology all inform my work in that they are both narrative modes that I use as well as sites of investigation. I look for the narratives inscribed in various objects and places and find ways to add to them and at times subvert them. Because I live in the Virgin Islands, a place that has changed colonial hands seven times, the longest being Denmark and the last being the United States, I am particularly interested in the colonial and neocolonial narrative and how it shapes identity, memory and reality. (return to website)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Huffington Post article: "La Vaughn Belle's Contemporary Art Practice of Speaking in Layers" by Jacqueline Bishop

I was recently interviewed by Jacquelin Bishop for the Huffington Post. Here is an excerpt:

Not many people start their art career being mentored by world-renowned artist Tania Bruguera, but La Vaughn Belle has been one of the few lucky individuals to do so. "To understand how I ended up working with Tania," La Vaughn told me in a recent interview, "you have to first understand how I ended up studying in Cuba in the first place." As a junior at Columbia University in New York, Belle realized that she wanted to be an artist, but she was too far into her undergraduate college career to switch majors. She decided, a few years after finishing her undergraduate degree, that if she really wanted to make it as an artist she would have to return home to the Caribbean, where she would have family support to pursue a visual arts career.

Back home in the Virgin Islands she started researching art institutions in the Caribbean and found out about an amazing art program in Cuba, where she would eventually enroll for her MFA degree. "The campus of the school was an old country club," she informed," and, like so many things in Cuba, it is beautiful but run down. What is particularly important about this school, though, is that it caters to all the art forms: music, dancing, visual arts. You would enter the gates of the campus and be greeted by the sound of drums. All of that infused the work I began doing."

At the same time that she was getting her MFA degree in Cuba, Tania Bruguera was starting an experimental program on the island, which Belle loosely described as a "behavior art" program. And by that she means "art that somehow connects to everyday life."

To read the entire article click here.