We spoke to Natasha following her placement to discuss her artistic practice, what drew her to curation, and her experience with East Street Arts.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your artistic practice?
My creative practices explore themes of identity, ethnicity, and belonging. During my degree in Fine Art, I began painting and drawing, however, over the past couple of years my work has grown in scale and I’ve traded canvases for walls. My paintings are usually figurative, depicting iconic women of colour in empowering stances.
By using imagery, scale, and colour, I create harmony between black beauty and power. Street art, I believe, is a fantastic tool to eliminate barriers and bring art to people. By taking art outside of the gallery space, it allows for a wider audience to engage, who would not normally visit galleries.
Why did you choose to study your MA?
While studying for my undergraduate degree at York St. John University, my interest in curation grew. I am inspired by street art and accessibility and creating work that can be appreciated by the masses. I prefer learning with a more hands-on/practical approach which is encouraged on the course.
Leeds Arts University also has great contacts with galleries and arts organisations which has provided me with four different work placements over the course. This has allowed me the opportunity to try different placements and experience which methods of curation I am drawn towards.
What attracted you to a placement at East Street Arts?
I am drawn to your alternative curation style. As you do not have a traditional gallery space, and many of your arts events involve community engagement, I was interested in seeing how you deliver these programmes.
What are the key things you will take away from your placement?
I am inspired by the way East Streets Arts displays a continued commitment to engage communities using art. During my placement, I had the pleasure of assisting the team to safely distribute, ‘The Mabgate, Lincoln Green, Burmantofts Zine’. It was great to see a project in action and share what is happening in the area.
I am also interested in what the future of curation looks like after COVID19, it was interesting to note how you have adapted during these uncertain times. Creating digital workshops, Google Meets Calls, and a focus on your social media and website content shows heightened attention towards online and digital platforms.
What areas do you hope to explore further following your placement?
Following my placement, I am interested in exploring further community engagement and the arts. I’m particularly interested in how art and culture can create a sense of unity and togetherness in a community.
How do you see your future within the arts industry following your graduation?
Following my graduation, I hope to continue curating exhibitions that are socially aware.
Find out more about Natasha Clarke and her art at https://notjustblackandwhite.co.uk/