Juliana Irene Smith

As an artist, I have never conformed to a medium, but always used art as an access point to say something, to do something, because I was never going to be a politician, I was never going to be a human rights lawyer. But I had to do something. My focus has been on post-trauma, how it affects an individual (personal), the community and the physical place. The monuments must fall, finally. Often artists are faced with questions of responsibility, especially those who work with the public sphere, and it has always been an underlying inquiry within my practice. 

The work I make focuses on the desperation of humans and the politics of belonging. Living in post-traumatic, and traumatic places like South Africa and Palestine, the need is to be quieter, more humble and observant without being arrogant. The aim is to combine the exteriors and interiors of the place being reflected while incorporated with my personal narrative of trauma. It attempts at being raw and naked without being directly shocking or provoking. 

Often the work is masked in an insecure humor, which is meant to be transparent. I am a believer of Noam Chomsky’s theory of every man is an island, but even if we are islands, and alone, we need a purpose, relationships and to feel connected to something or someone. I like the duality of humans, the exterior of what the world sees and what we really think.


Photographer: Juliana Irene Smith