Aphra Shemza is a new media artist exploring the impact and legacy of technology in our world. As an artist and activist, her work sparks conversation and seeks to find solutions for sustainable creative practice. Shemza works predominantly with abstraction, interactivity and light. She uses traditional sculpting techniques, working with wood and plastic, combining them with the latest technology to create her work.
Solutions for a Sustainable Art Practice was created in response to the Art Council’s Developing Your Creative Practice Grant. Her bespoke artist development program ran for three months, allowing her the opportunity to pursue a focused investigation into finding practical, sustainable alternatives to the materials she uses to make her work.
Taking her two core materials of wood and plastic, Shemza participated in a number of workshops designed to teach her the skills she needs to work with sustainable hardwood and build her own plastic recycling machines, creating new materials from waste products. Through the workshops, she learnt invaluable skills which she not only used to create a series of new work but also created new ways of generating materials to sustain her practice for years to come.
Shemza also had dedicated research time under the mentorship of Levin Haegele, artist and mentor, and met with leading experts and industry leaders in the fields of the sustainable arts & new media art conservation such as Ian Garrett (Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts), Patricia Falcoa (Tate, Time-based media conservator) & Daniella Siembieda (Managing Director, Leonardo).
In June, in collaboration with FLUX Events, Julie’s Bicycle, Bow Arts, Arts Admin and Ugly Duck, she curated a talk and panel discussion entitled Radical Ecology: Sustainable Media Art with key artists and thinkers in the field. Featuring an exhibition of work and talks by Becky Lyon, Oskar Krajewski, Tilly Hogrebe, Aphra Shemza and chaired by Laura Pando, the event was attended by 80+ people and was a success, sparking a lively debate with the audience and creating a space for collaboration and exchange.
Her research and personal experience was well documented to ignite conversations across academic and community platforms in the new media art industry. The project not only benefitted her own artistic practice but through the use of resource sharing and peer networks she opened up her research to the global artistic community using her website ARTOLOGY as a peer tool for inspiring other creatives to become more sustainable in their own practices.