Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your practice?
I'm Catalina Renjifo. I am an artist teacher living and working in Oxford. I am interested in what makes artmaking a cognitively rich task and I explore it in a subjective and embodied way. My work stems from a dialogue between materiality and handling from which visual narratives are formed. This influences my practice as an artist and the pedagogical choices I make as an educator.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on a new visual project that has to do with the ways in which we understand time and systems we employ to plan the future. Funnily enough, this takes time. What I have been showing more recently, at Ovada Open 2017 and Beyond Surface at the Glass Tank is part of an ongoing project about communication and how we make meaning or derive knowledge from objects.
How do you spend your time when you are at the studios?
Lately I spend most of my time reading and writing a dissertation to complete an MA in Education at Oxford Brookes University and I use artmaking as respite to the hard work of writing! I also enjoy chatting to my fellow studio artists, and this is a great way to exchange knowledge and plan exhibitions and collaborations.
What are your other (work) commitments if any?
I have two children who keep growing, which means I have to keep updating the parenting programme!
I am on the last year of an MA in Education at Oxford Brookes University, researching my practice in order to apply artist pedagogies in educational settings, so this takes a lot of my time.
Since 2010 I have been involved in expanding extracurricular provision of art education for primary schools and I now lead an Art Club and Enrichment for Key Stage 2, and a Craft Club for Key Stage 1. As an artist I am concerned about a political climate that allows the arts to be sidelined and devalued, so I try to counter it locally by creating opportunities for children to make more art and find about other ways of knowing.
I recently applied and was voted in to become an artist trustee of MRS. I am looking forward to encourage all artists associated with the studios to become more engaged to fight against the perceived insularity of the art world.
How does having a studio at Magdalen Road support your work?
My studio at MRS is absolutely invaluable. I have been at Magdalen Road Studios since September 2015 and was then working on an action research project that lead me to read a revelatory article by geographer Alison Bain, which charted the ways studio space affected artist identity. The studio has definitely strengthened mine, it is my both my workplace, and the site where I experiment and materialise my thoughts. But it is also a community and I am very excited about sort of things that come out of interactions with colleagues, from residencies to exhibitions, workshops, open days...
What are you hoping to achieve over the next year?
Good question! For now I have been mainly focused on finishing my MA work, but personally the plan is to get more projects off the ground, to collaborate, show my work more widely in the UK and abroad and perhaps even go back to study in September. Because I am also invested in the studios as a community I am we are looking at creating new opportunities and making the studios better engaged with other art organisations in Oxford.