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Series of works developed during the La Wayaka Residency

November 2023, Atacama Desert, Chile


La Wayaka Current is an artist-led research residency curated in close relationship to remote natural environments, rich biodiversity and indigenous knowledge, working to develop new perspectives through creative practice and critical thought at a time of ecological and climatic crisis.


During my time in the desert, I developed a series of paintings and installations using only natural materials and local resources. Through paused and extended observation and research, the close relationship between the surrounding land and indigenous knowledge became the main motif of these works.

The following projects are the result of this process of cataloguing and understating the traces that a place leaves in its culture and vice-versa.



broken 'tacita'

locally sourced clay site installation, Atacama Desert, 2023 


'Tacitas' in the Lickanantay culture were carved stone bowls usually filled with water and used as astronomic mirrors. The astronomic culture in the Andes is tied to its cultural origin since this knowledge was necessary for the agricultural activity and domestication of nature. Using the 'tacitas' as pratical tools, they recognized the cyclical nature of time. This site installation reflects on the effects of time and environment on matter. The starting point was to offer a ceramic 'Tacita' to the desert. Build with the soil collected from the same location, this tacita would hold water and mirror the skies above. The material though had other ideas. The unexpected rain and cold nights didn't allow the clay to properly dry and the form disintegrated and broke into different pieces. This is the inevitable risk when working with a natural material and in an open-air environment. Once fired (in a pit fire that used mainly lama manure as the combustible material) these pieces were put together on a circular shape in the desert. The resemblance between these pieces and the clay soil patterns is not surprising. Both are formed from fractures that result from the lack or abundance of water. Expansion and contraction. The result is a piece that lost its form but carries its meaning.


There is green in the desert I and II

Made from natural pigments from local soil, rocks and plants on cotton canvas



This is a series of two paintings made from natural pigments collected and processed in the Atacama Desert. These works explore the diverse and vast landscape of the desert seen from the eyes of an outsider. They reflect on the colors, shapes, textures, sounds and paths that co-exist in this natural environment.

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All photographs are by Dasha Cheremisina
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