Olivia Cueva at the Institute of Advanced Architecture in Barcelona
Olivia Cueva in Residence
December 20th - January 21st, 2024
Amidst the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, with discussions of land rights, belonging, indigeneity, ownership, and “land back” permeating the movement, Olivia Cueva sets out to explore these questions during her residency: What does building ‘right relationship’ to land look like in practice and in outcome? How can this relationship enhance our art and our work in ways that are nourishing and sustainable to the planet? How do we begin building this relationship as people who live on occupied land?
Continuing her research in bio plastic fashion, where she uses gelatin and natural dyes to create unique and vibrant wearables that can easily decompose back into the earth, Olivia will experiment with new methods to create biodegradable pieces that incorporate plants growing on the land where she was born and raised: Berkeley/Oakland CA, the Huichin Territory of the Chochenyo Muwekma Ohlone people. Each plant integrated into her pieces will tell the story of why it is significant and important to the work and to the artist. Drawing from her familial lineages (Mestizaje Peruvian and Ashekanzi Jewish) – which include histories of medicinal plant work and textiles creation – and paired with her love of texture and bright colors, some of the pieces created during the residency will include: bio plastic nail art and press-ons, bio fashion, and bioplastic “glass” tiles (think stained glass). In addition, and as an ode to Palestine, Olivia’s research into the plants and natural dyes connected to the land and textile culture of Palestine will also be incorporated into some of the pieces created, though all plants will be foraged locally here in the East Bay.
The residency will culminate in a mini exhibition - an open studio - of the works created and still in progress. The open studio is a glimpse into Olivia Cueva’s mind and creative practice with the intention that visitors will come away with insight into new uses for biomaterials, what they can look like and feel like, and practices for foraging with care and acknowledgment in one’s community. The opening will take place on Friday, January 19th from 5pm-8pm followed by daytime open studio hours from 12pm-4pm on Saturday and Sunday, January 20-21. During the residency, normal hours at Dream Farm Commons will be closed to the public.
About the Artist:
Olivia Cueva is an artist and community educator from Berkeley, CA. She makes work that weaves fashion, technology, storytelling, and sustainability. She is currently designing naturally dyed bio plastic fashion and footwear that can decompose safely back into the earth, engaging with what we consume, create, or discard & leave behind.
Her bio textile designs have been featured globally, including The Future Fabric Expo in London and the Institute of Advanced Architecture in Barcelona. Before entering the world of fashion & textile design, she was the Director of the David E. Glover Emerging Technology Center in Oakland, CA where she founded a creative studio for youth. She has over a decade of experience teaching media, technology, and sustainable fashion to youth throughout the U.S. Olivia is a 2023 graduate of Fabricademy at the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain. She received her Masters from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU and her Bachelors in broadcast journalism from Brooklyn College.
Bio plastics by Olivia Cueva
The contemporary form of exodus and the new barbarian
life demand that tools become poetic prostheses liberating us from
the conditions of modern humanity.
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri