Nashville, TN | Sculpture, Mixed Media, Photography, Printmaking, Time-based, Sound, Performance, Installation, Video
Jana Harper is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores the themes and tensions between materiality and transcendence, chance encounters and human willfulness, relationships and connectivity, and human acts of meaning making. Originally trained as a printmaker, her work takes many forms, and she works both individually and in collaborative settings. Her work is held in several public collections including the Library of Congress, the Sackner Archive for Visual and Concrete Poetry, J.S. Blanton Museum, Proyecto Ace Print Collection, and the Janet Turner Print Collection. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award in support of her project This Holding, which premiered online via OZ Arts Nashville on May 29, 2020. Recently, her collaborative performance Cargas was the closing event for Intermittent Rivers, the Matanzas portion of the Havana Biennial. Jana is Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of Art at Vanderbilt University.
A collaboration between Jana Harper, Liliam Padrón, her dance company Danza Espiral, and singer Moksha Sommer, Cargas is an hour-long performance that addresses the burdens we carry and how through empathy and community we might eventually transform them. During preparational workshops, performers came up with a list of 100 words that describe the weights they experience as Cubans. These ranged from everyday local concerns such as food shortages or caring for one’s family to global issues like migration and climate change. The words were painted on ration bags and carried through the city of Matanzas, from the sacred Ceiba Tree to the Palace of Justice.
Cargas was performed on May 12, 2019 as the concluding performance for Ríos Intermitentes, a project for the 13th Havana Biennial in Matanzas, Cuba.