At Coast 2 Coast we have the wonderful opportunity to work with artists motivated by marine conservation, such as Sofia Magdits. Sofia is a visual artist and musician - she grew up in Lima and currently lives in Düsseldorf, where she studies fine arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf.
Identity, culture, sensibility, and our connection with ourselves and the outside world, are the themes that are reflected in my visual and sound work.
Despite living far away from the sea, in Düsseldorf, Sofia has the ability to transport us with her works to marine environments - reflecting the importance of a healthy relationship between humans and the sea.
What motivated you to become an artist?
First I wanted to be a musician, since I was a little girl, until one day my dad enrolled me in painting classes and there, I discovered oil painting on canvas. I liked it a lot. And well, at the same time I felt that I didn't have the necessary discipline to be a musician hehe, so I went for the fine arts. It was clear that I wanted a career where I could express myself artistically. I entered the fine arts world without really knowing much about it. And I'm very happy to have ended up on this path. Even now, with performance art as part of the visual arts, I can include music as part of my work and combine everything in different ways, playing at exhibition openings, producing videos, etc. There are so many possibilities, so many projects to create!
What are some of the materials you usually use? Why do you use them?
The medium I am currently focusing on is textile art, especially weaving. I learned to weave by myself, just driven by curiosity. Over time, my works grew in size and complexity. I work with different types and thicknesses of wool and yarn, as well as with the natural fibre jute, tree branches and dried straw. I also develop sculptures that exist in space as woven objects. Here I also include wire and metal mesh. In the near future I want to explore more with materials found in nature, perhaps dried leaves when autumn comes. I am especially interested in the contrasts between soft and rigid materials, natural and artificial ones.
What influence does nature have on your work?
In my work there is a strong reference to nature and its elements, especially water and earth. The sea, for example, is a recurring motif for me. I choose, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously - certain colours of wool, certain materials or even certain figures to transport me to it. A couple of years ago I made a weaving called "Mermaids in Paracas" of two mermaids with a broken heart. Or the last weaving I made, which is a portrait of the sea. I want to explore more about the fragile relationship between man and nature. For me, caring for our planet and its natural resources is a central political issue.
Tell us about your connection to the sea! Where does it come from?
Well, I've always loved going to the sea, to the beach. I love that feeling of infinity that you get when you look at the horizon, the peace that you get when you listen to the waves, and the freedom you feel when you swim. It's super revitalising for me. I don't know if it's my mum's influence, who also takes every opportunity she gets to go to the beach. Or maybe it's the nostalgia of not living (for now) in a coastal city, which makes me miss, appreciate and love the sea even more.
Why do you think a healthy human-marine relationship is important and how do we maintain it?
More than half of the earth's surface is covered by water, oceans and sea...how could we not want to create a healthy and caring link with something that surrounds us and gives us life! I believe that due to different factors such as industrialisation, technology and globalisation, human beings have moved far away from their roots. I think the capitalist world we live in has accustomed us to many things that prevent us from being able to easily develop a relationship with the environment. The chain is cut and we are only aware of part of it. For example; we all know tomatoes, but do you know what a tomato plant looks like? Or its flower before the fruit comes out? I think it is possible to regain that connection. Maybe start by being more aware of where the food you eat and the things you buy/use come from - who worked it, how far they had to travel, what that transport involves, etc. And also being more aware of where everything you throw away goes: what happens to all that rubbish? I have been growing my own peppers and tomatoes for two years now, and that has made me create a much deeper connection - understanding nature, its fragility and its wisdom. Speaking specifically about the sea, when I am in it, I feel such a beautiful, peaceful and powerful sensation and I am so happy that I want to take care of it. You have to create a loving relationship with people, you can't take care of and maintain anything that you don't want.
You are going to have a new exhibition very soon, what can you tell us about this event?
Yes! This exhibition was born out of exactly these feelings! Out of my love for the sea and my desire to do my bit to help raise awareness of the importance of caring for it. In January I started a weaving which is an Ode to the Sea, a portrait of the sea, a portrait in an old style, thinking of those oval format studio photos of our grandparents. More or less when I was about halfway through the loom, it occurred to me to make this exhibition. I decided that my homage to the sea would not remain in the work alone, but that I would make an exhibition with this theme. I wanted to share my homage. Researching, I found that the 8th of June is World Oceans Day, and that was the signal to land all the ideas. Then I got the place, a small Off Space in the centre of Düsseldorf called Das Odradek. So here I am now, days away from the opening of my first solo exhibition. There will be the sea weaving, a video and audio projection, and other little surprises. The opening will be on Tuesday 8 June at 6pm German time, but there will also be live streaming from my Instagram for those of you who are not in Düsseldorf - I hope you like it!
What motivates you to be part of C2C Movement?
I love the idea of combining art for social purposes. I've always wanted to do that. I think it is important and I think art is a super powerful tool. With art you can move the masses, you can connect with people in a unique and intimate way. Art transforms. Art helps. Art heals. And I think that's reflected in Coast2Coast, where they use art to bring people closer to the sea, teaching them about its diversity, the care needed and the ecosystem that exists not only within the sea but with coastal communities. I think they do a great job and I'm so happy to be a part of it! <3
Discover more of Sofia Magdits' work in her website and Instagram