Art Speaks: Rotem Tamir, Making as Catalyst for Remembering

Thursday, April 8, 2021 • 6 – 7:30 pm CDT FREE • Via Zoom

Rotem Tamir in conversation with project collaborator Wendy Wustenberg and curator Mike Calway-Fagen

Coinciding with the challenges of the pandemic, artist, mother, and teacher Rotem Tamir wanted to employ the wool-mattress making craft of her ancestors to create a weighted sensory object for her son to help calm his fears.

Sometimes objects can be much more than what they appear to be. Certain utilitarian objects, such as baskets and blankets, as well as the crafts that wield them, carry powerful generational knowledge.

Tracing the original way of making, following the same path of her Libyan-Jewish Grandmother, embedded her in the collaborative relationships inherent in craft-making. The significance of story-telling, memory-sharing, and connection became inseparable from the process of creating Mattress.

In this special Zoom conversation, Tamir will be reflecting with collaborator Wendy Wustenberg of Windswept Hill Farms, who helped her through many facets of the project, and Mike Calway-Fagen, curator of the group exhibition Teachable Moments, held at Stove Works, Chattanooga, TN.

About Rotem Tamir:

Rotem Tamir’s work focuses on the objects we make and how they help in telling the complex story of relocation and shuffled identity. She is fascinated by the relationships between art, local and distant traditions, and migration. Migrations involve objects and traditions that, along with the people, morph and adapt as a result of the experience of the journey, the materials at hand and the new needs that arise. She dislocates and synthesizes the objects playfully and hybridizes them with personal stories, experiences, and the politics of the moment.

Tamir, an Israeli artist who lives in Minneapolis, teaches as an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota. Her work has been exhibited at venues including Locust Projects, Miami, FL; the Harn Museum, Gainesville, FL; Kav 16 Community Gallery for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; BCA Center, Burlington, VT; and Artists’ House, Tel Aviv, among others. Tamir has been awarded residencies at Sculpture Space, Utica, NY; Seven Below Arts Initiative, Burlington, VT; Art OMI International Arts Center and was a featured artist in residence at ARC Chattanooga, TN. She received the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship award; the Artis Exhibition Grant from artiscontemoprary.org, New York, NY, among others.

About the collaborators:

Wendy Wustenberg lives on Windswept Hill Farm with a menagerie that includes a flock of rare sheep, piles of salvaged material, studio spaces, and an endless supply of fine wool. A founding member of the North Star Farm Tour, she is currently designing a flex-use creativity center at Windswept Hill Farm that can welcome people to explore the farm’s mission, “Awaken Your Creative Spirit.”

Mike Calway-Fagen is an artist, writer, curator, and educator based in Tennessee. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions and is currently co-curating a symposium and contributing a catalog essay to I Forgot to Laugh: Humor and Art, a traveling exhibition that is currently staged at the Pensacola Museum of Contemporary Art–as well as finishing up another curatorial project, Phenomenology of Outer Space, which opens at SOIL space in Seattle this fall.