Interviews

Meet LA’s Art Community: Carolina Caycedo on Understanding That Her “Voice as a Woman Is Very Valid”

An interview series spotlighting some of the great work coming out of Los Angeles. Hear directly from artists, curators, and art workers about their current projects and personal quirks.

Carolina Caycedo (photo by Ruben Díaz)

Welcome to the fourth installment of the interview series Meet LA’s Art Community. Check out our past interviews here.

This week, we interviewed Carolina Caycedo, an artist working with performance, drawing, photography, and video. Her work engages with environmental justice, historical memory, and housing as a human right. Recent solo museum shows include Care Report at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź and Wanaawna, Rio Hondo and Other Spirits at the Orange County Museum of Art. Caycedo has upcoming shows at the Institution of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston and Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago.

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Carolina Caycedo, “Thanks for Hosting Us. We are Healing our Broken Bodies” (still) (2019), HD video, sound, and color, 8 min 49 sec. (image courtesy the artist)

Where were you born?

London, UK, but born from Colombian parents. I grew up in Bogotá.

How long have you been living in Los Angeles?

I arrived in fall 2011. I moved from Puerto Rico.

What’s your first memory of seeing art?

As a little girl, my grandmother’s and her sister’s paintings. They were six sisters, all of them artistic in their way, one of them a poet; they always played music in family reunions. That influenced me to become a vocal person, to understand that my voice as a woman is very valid.

Do you like to photograph the art you see? If so, what device do you use to photograph?

I seldom do it, but when I do, I use my phone.

What was your favorite exhibition in Los Angeles this year?

George Rodriguez: Double Vision at the Vincent Price Art Museum (VPAM). It’s amazing, and surprisingly the first museum retrospective of this photographer that shows the diverse political and cultural layers of LA. It just opened! You will recognize so many iconic images!

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

Create Dangerously, The Immigrant Artist at Work by Haitian–American author Edwidge Danticat. It reconciled me with the fact that I have one foot in Colombia and the other in Southern California, and that it’s OK to speak up about both places.

Do you prefer to see art alone or with friends?

I prefer to see art with friends or with my 14-year-old daughter. I love to listen to her first impressions, she is very critical.

What are you currently working on?

With my partner, David de Rozas, I am developing a commission for Ballroom Marfa called “The Blessings of the Mystery,” which weaves environmental memories of the Transpecos region in Texas. I’m also preparing for two solo shows for next year: ICA Boston and MCA Chicago.

What is one accomplishment that you are particularly proud of?

The Serpent River Book that I self-published in 2017. I worked on it for over a year, many people and institutions were involved; it compiles visual and written research of half a decade. The most rewarding was being able to distribute it for free among the communities I have worked with.

Where do you turn to for inspiration for your projects?

La digna rabia, as we say in Spanish, to refer to indignation. The sense of injustice and oppression is my major drive. The resilience and resistance of those in the frontlines of environmental injustice is a major inspiration; it fills me with hope.

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