Nava Waxman is an Israeli-born Canadian artist who lives and works in Toronto. Drawing upon diverse means of expression, including painting, drawing, photography, performance, video, objects, and installation. The main themes in her work are movement, temporality, and gestures. Her work examines how notions of liminality, diaspora, and in-betweenness are experienced in the perspective and context of culture, identity, and the creative process.
Her current research has been granted a York University’s Graduate Scholarship and the Joseph Armand Bombardier Scholarship Award from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada. In 2016, Nava was awarded the Canada Art Council Travel Grant for her collaborative project “Elements Of Chance”. In 2018, she was awarded the Ontario Art Council Exhibition Assistance Grant for her solo project “Choreographed Marks” at the Varley Art Gallery of Markham.
I carry with me three different cultures: Arabic, Israeli, and Canadian. I am the second generation of Moroccan immigrants who were deported from Morocco in the late 1950s. After wandering through several countries, they were eventually deported by sea to Israel. I was born in an immigrant town in the Negev Desert of Israel. In my late adulthood, I became an immigrant to Canada. I have been questioning my sense of belonging since early childhood, trying to find my place between the Israeli and Arabic cultures at home. I experienced the conflict of being a child growing up in Hebrew culture, while at the same time carrying the culture of my family.
Across all my works, there is an attempt to translate forms and gestures. I explore various choreographic methods for the camera, to generate movement, and to explore notions of visual translations and an aesthetic of in-betweenness. My interest in choreography, then, is tied to themes of movement, residue, repetition, blurred gestures, traces, erasure, shadows, and temporary marks across multiple surfaces. My work emphasizes process, gesture, and documentation. My performative research is engaged with experimental and research-based collaborative practice with artists. My intention is to explore multiple modes of inscription, their marginality, (im)materiality and (in)visibility through performative interventions, and interrelations between movement, time, space, place and the presence of the body.
In my recent work, I have encountered the archive of several female Jewish choreographers and their interdisciplinary practice that is situated in between visual art and choreography. I have analyzed various sources from anthropology, dance, and visual art to explore tensions between performative practices and visual art media. I examined the role of documentation, records, and archival material of performative work to explore modes of reconstruction, visual translations and transmission of historical and personal context in performative artwork.
As I further explore the migrations of gestures across disciplines, I also recognize the potential of gestures to tell a story and how they become a way of mirroring or describing the liminal self. I see the gesture not just as physical, non-literal, but intellectual and emotional as well, and through this understanding, I explore both cultural and personal knowledge as they come into expression in ritualized physical acts.