Jessica Fairfax Hirst
Currently living and working in the Dominican Republic
When were you at Metàfora and for how long?
Academic Year 2009-10
What did you enjoy most about the course?
The people I met, some of whom are lifelong friends now, and the days of critique and exchange with one another about our work.
What were you looking for in a studio arts program at that time?
I was looking for a place to learn new skills, but more importantly to give me a container in which to develop my art practice.
What have you been up to since then?
I have developed a career as an internationally active performance, video and installation artist, and activist, with performances, residencies and projects in Thailand, Japan, Senegal, Serbia, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, all over Spain, Germany, the UK and more.
I studied for an MFA in Public Practice at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, but I had to withdraw due to institutional ableism and illness provoked by living in LA.
How do you describe your art practice at the moment?
My art practice is my primary tool to address and synthesize analysis pressing concerns like the climate crisis. I am increasingly bringing to bear my first degree and career in environmental science and climate change policy.
I approach my practice from a position of both privilege and disability, a refugee of sorts from my home country.
Jessica’s advice to future students:
First, enjoy what you do.
Second, in the contemporary art world it is no longer sufficient to make beautiful things or be technically proficient – the artist must both take thoughtful and well-researched positions with their work, and be aware of their own position within society.
Don’t be afraid of theory.
Seek out your community in unlikely places.