Beatriz Chachamovits

Beatriz Chachamovits is an environmental artist and educator from São Paulo, Brazil, living and working in Miami, Florida. Her work renders tangible the decline of the coral reef ecosystems and the role played by humans in it. Her intention is to share the majestic beauty of at-risk marine ecosystems as well as the concerning rate of their destruction. 

Carcass 2019 - 2023.

What about the ocean speaks to you as an artist and creative professional?

The ocean's vastness and ever-changing nature deeply resonate with me as an artist and creative professional. Its boundless horizon sparks boundless imagination, pushing me to explore new frontiers in my work. The rhythmic ebb and flow of waves mirror the creative process – a dance of inspiration and expression. Below the surface lies a world of vibrant colors and hidden stories, which I aim to capture and translate into resonant experiences. The ocean's resilience in adversity inspires me to confront challenges in my creative journey. Ultimately, the ocean serves as a constant muse, shaping my artistic lens and motivating me to create, reflect, and evolve.

What is your view on the role of art in activism, and how do you aim to create impact through your work? 

I view art as a powerful tool in activism, capable of transcending boundaries and sparking essential conversations. Through my work, I aim to amplify impact by translating complex marine issues into relatable visuals that engage both emotions and intellect. By intertwining art and activism, I seek to bridge understanding, encouraging viewers to reflect and take action.

My approach merges the emotive nature of art with societal awareness, inspiring tangible change through creative expression. I envision my practice as a catalyst for empathy and conscious thought, contributing to a larger movement of using creativity to drive positive societal transformation and cultivating a more informed and engaged global community.

Tell us about your exhibition, "Into The Great Dying." What inspired you to take the time to painstakingly create hundreds of coral sculptures only to have them be destroyed by the exhibition guests?

The exhibition "Into the Great Dying: Steps We Take" is a compelling and immersive site-specific installation that offers a stark visual representation of the accelerated destruction our natural world is undergoing, and the pivotal role we, as humans, play in this crisis. This installation functions as a microcosmic mirror, reflecting the larger-scale impact of our actions on the planet.

Into the Great Dying: Steps We Take, 2022.

At the heart of this exhibition lies a profound metaphor. The room is filled with meticulously crafted, unfired cast clay sculptures, each depicting various coral species. These sculptures serve as a poignant symbol of the intricate beauty and fragility of coral reefs. The inspiration behind this endeavor was to create a tangible, evocative representation of the natural world's vulnerability in the face of human influence.

The decision to invite spectators to walk across the room and interact with the sculptures was deliberate. It was an attempt to bridge the gap between awareness and action, inviting participants to physically engage with the installation and, in the process, become part of the narrative. The swift destruction of the sculptures in under thirty minutes by exhibition guests served as a powerful metaphorical act – a vivid demonstration of the rapid and often irreversible damage that can result from our actions.

Into the Great Dying: Steps We Take, 2022.

While the loss of the sculptures was a poignant moment, it was integral to the message of the exhibition. The transient nature of the sculptures' existence mirrors the impermanence of our ecosystems when faced with neglect or exploitation. It underscores the urgency of the need for collective action and responsible stewardship of our environment.

Into the Great Dying: Steps We Take, 2022.

Can you share a particular project or campaign that you are most proud of or one currently underway that our audience might be able to support? 

Absolutely! Currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art of North Miami is "Into the Great Dying: Roles We Play", the final installation in the three-part series that invites viewers to engage with an interactive coral reef. With much discussion centered on how human beings have contributed to damaging the fragile ecosystems, this installation instead encourages audiences to actively engage in coral reef restoration. Through a tactile experience, participants hold replicas of local at-risk coral species, fostering mindfulness toward our swiftly changing climate.

I've meticulously hand-cast numerous pieces that, when assembled by attendees, create a representation of South Florida's reef system. These five species, including Staghorn, Elkhorn Brain, Pillar, and Sea Fan coral, showcase local biodiversity and underscore the significance of those endangered or vital to restoration efforts. My blend of ceramics, drawing, and education intertwines art and science, enriched by video content featuring Miami marine scientists. This interactive exhibit challenges our response to the climate crisis, encouraging collaboration and construction amidst a backdrop of climate anxiety and alarm.

Into the Great Dying: Roles We Play, 2023.

What is the one takeaway message you would like audiences to leave with after viewing any of your work?

The core message I aim for audiences to take away from experiencing my work is a profound understanding of the delicate interdependence between human actions and the health of our ocean ecosystems. Through my work, I want viewers to internalize the critical role that coral reefs play in sustaining biodiversity, regulating our climate, and supporting livelihoods.

I hope that my installations convey the urgency of protecting these fragile environments, inspiring viewers to recognize their personal responsibility in safeguarding our oceans. By immersing audiences in the beauty and vulnerability of coral reefs, I intend to evoke a sense of connection and empathy, driving them to take concrete actions toward conservation, sustainable practices, and advocacy for the preservation of these essential ecosystems.


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