"Within complex and ever shifting realms of power relations, do we position ourselves on the side of colonizing mentality? Or do we continue to stand in political resistance with the oppressed, ready to offer our ways of seeing and theorizing, of making culture, towards that revolutionary effort which seeks to create space where there is unlimited access to the pleasure and power of knowing, where transformation is possible? That choice is crucial, because it determines “our capacity to envision new alternative, oppositional aesthetic acts” and “informs the way we speak about these issues, the language we choose."
[Bell Hooks Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics. Boston: South End, 1990. 145-53]
WAAM is dedicated to preserving and documenting the artist archives of women and female-identifying artists in Miami. The project is a response to a growing need to build an archival presence in Miami to record the artistic production that has taken place here since the 1980s and beyond. In particular, this project will provide a space for women artists who are marginalized, those who do not have access to mainstream art resources, and artists who are underrepresented.
To reposition archives that have traditionally operated as sites of privilege, to record the creative contributions of communities who have been left out of the historical record.
To re-examine archival practices and offer access points through multiple pathways that increase visibility for cultural practitioners through dynamic archival programs.
WHY ARE ARTISTS' ARCHIVES IMPORTANT?
Archives preserve different methods artists use to record process: sketches, notebooks, drawings, letters, photos, clippings, digital images, documents, sound recordings, etc.
Archives contain valuable primary source material for researchers, educators, students, historians & the community.
Archives provide a window into an artist's creative process and provide critical contextual and historical information.
Funding from the Wavemaker Grant will enable the building of WAAM Pilot Digital Archive. In the first year, WAAM will work with eight artists to preserve their creative contributions. Using an open-source platform, artists can create collections that preserve their living legacies. WAAM centers people first and emphasizes a participatory approach to archiving, where the artist or cultural producer is in control of shaping their living legacy. By creating peripheral archival access points within the community, WAAM will reframe how archives can engage and support local artists.
From summer 2020 to summer 2021, WAAM will be working on building the digital platform using Omeka, an open-source platform. Eight artists will participate in the pilot project. After the launch of the project, WAAM will launch the project to local artists in distinct phases through user contribution initiatives, oral history projects, online exhibitions, and physical exhibitions.
This site is the result of a communal effort, and we owe our thanks to the following persons:
- Anita Sharma: Founder & Archivist
- Devora Perez: Digital Archivist
- Alexia Avila: Archives Assistant
- Daniele Binaghi: Site Developer
Our gratitude goes out also to our advisors:
- Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova
- Dr. Elizabeth Shannon
- Beatrice Skokan
- Dainy Tapia
- Marie Vickles
- Rachel Komich
WAAM is supported by Locust Projects through the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’ Regional Regranting Program, Oolite Arts, Awesome Foundation & Dimensions Variable.
Special thanks to Angel Lauren Garcia, Frances Trombly, Leyden Rodriguez and Mathew Webb for their continual support and belief in the development of this archives initiative.