November 15, 2021
This week we recognize the work of artist Beverly Naidus.
EXTREME MAKEOVER: Reimagining the Port of Tacoma Free of Fossil Fuels is a community-based art project. The Port of Tacoma is an industrial port built on tribal land in violation of the Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854. The soil and water have been contaminated by years of dumping and now host several designated superfund sites. In recent years, the community has been fighting the installation of new and dangerous fossil fuel projects in the Port and Extreme Makeover arose out of that resistance.
MAP OF THE 3-MILE BLAST ZONE (CREATED BY THE PUYALLUP TRIBE)
"Extreme Makeover has been hosting art workshops (most recently with the support of Tacoma’s 350.org) to engage the public in a reconstructive visioning process. The questions we ask participants are: what would the Port of Tacoma look like if the toxic superfund sites are healed as much as possible via permaculture design and the port becomes a showcase for green, renewable energy? What would happen if the Puyallup Nation's vision for a restored estuary is made tangible through multidisciplinary art projects so that the public will get behind it? How can this project help the community prepare, both emotionally and pragmatically, for the impact of rising sea levels on the Port of Tacoma and the local ecosystem?"
"After some meditation exercises, participants make collages, digital images and drawings as part of their visioning process. Our art making can be powerful medicine. It can awaken people to their power and motivate them to take action. It can be the glue that brings together strangers when they sit in workshops making art together. Participants have come to various public locations and community centers to discuss the questions above and create images that will be eventually projected onto walls in their neighborhoods, captured on social media, and shared virally."
"Scientists, activists, artists, and members of the Puyallup tribe have been developing performance interventions for different public events. Those events will eventually be videotaped and shared online. The goal will be to awaken a typically uninformed citizenry and help them become stakeholders in their shared future.
We want to reach people who have given up hope and have succumbed to dystopic views of the future. This is an intergenerational project so that stories about getting through hardship, healing from trauma, and recovering from depression and difficult circumstances will help younger participants believe that we can shift things."
Beverly Naidus's art and life have straddled the art world's socially engaged margins, artful activism collaborations, and community-based art projects. Much of her work deals with ecological and social issues that have adversely affected her and those around her. Naidus has taught art as a subversive activity at NYC museums, the Institute for Social Ecology, California State University, Long Beach, where she had tenure, Goddard College, Hampshire College, and Carleton College. She’s been a tenured member of the UW Tacoma faculty for the past 16 + years, where she's shaped an innovative, interdisciplinary studio arts curriculum in art for social change and healing. She is the author of Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame (a book that is shifting studio arts curriculum around the world) and has written & published many essays on eco-art and social practice, as well as a few works of speculative fiction. She recently published a limited-edition artist’s book, Not Just Words: A 30-Year Exhortation to Love & Resistance. faculty.washington.edu/bnaidus
Featured Images: ©Beverly Naidus, EXTREME MAKEOVER: Reimagining the Port of Tacoma Free of Fossil Fuels, 2018-2020.