nicola van straaten
i am an artist who works across multiple mediums with a focus on the body, time, place, spirit and language. my work starts from the understanding that our material systems emerge from our belief systems and that effective transformation begins with investing in the working/updating/reconfiguring of belief systems.
i was born in durban, in 1990. growing up in the white suburbs of post(ish)-apartheid south africa, my childhood-world revolved around intense ballet training and the christian religion. god and dance was how i made sense of the world. with time, over a series of rejections, ruptures and schisms, i now find myself creating from the foundations of an embodied and spiritual practice. god and dance are still very much how i make sense of the world, although the gods and the dances look quite different now.
with the knowledge that part of my ancestral lineage includes a normalization of colonial projects as well as the invention of apartheid, the question becomes – where to from now? most of my artistic practice stems from a desire to collaborate with transformation towards justice. i am very curious about how a body with both the material and immaterial inheritances such as mine, can joyously and humbly contribute to the dismantling of white supremacy, eurocentric logic and various imperial structures that sustain ongoing injustices.
my main methods of doing/being (with) these topics are through reading, writing and conversing/communing with others. as well as through dancing, singing, music-making and performing. sometimes the only thing that makes sense is indeed poetry. i am a life-long student of plants and planets, and am engaged in more or less ongoing studies of both astrology and herbalism.
here are some keywords that may help locate the kinds of things i do / make / research / work with:
(dis)embodiedment – dance – poem – song – time – ritual – names – language – performance – experimentation – epistemology – (hi)story – decoloniality – god(s) – archives – ancestors – friendship – play – magic – love.
for the astrologically inclined, i am an aquarius sun and moon with a taurus ascendant. i shyly but accurately identify as a witch and i appreciate the ‘they/them’ pronoun.
if you have questions or want to connect, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at nicola.van.straaten(at)gmail.com or subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly museletter here.