Las Hermanas Iglesias: CRS alumnae artists

The Iglesias Sisters, Janelle (‘96, ‘97, ‘01 - ‘03, ‘06), and Lisa (‘01 - ‘03), are an art duo whose work has recently been featured in various newspaper, such as the Phoenix New Times, and their work has been exhibited in various galleries and museums across the United States. Their current exhibit is an interactive installation titled Las Hermanas Iglesias: HERE, HERE, located in the Art, Community, Museum, Experience (ACME) Lab at the Utah Museum of Fine Art.

The CRS alumnae refer to themselves as Las Hermanas Iglesias when they collaborate on projects. Janelle and Lisa state on their website that the name “Las Hermanas speaks to our identity as woven into histories and philosophies of feminism and collaboration. As the children of Norwegian and Dominican immigrants who grew up in Queens, New York City, our project-based, trans-disciplinary work explores issues of hybridity, social participation and cultural fusion.”

Through employing playful structures that respond to the community and geographical context of each project, Las Hermanas create artworks that disrupt borders, engage absurdity, and promote the benefits of working together.

This exhibit manifests their moniker, Las Hermanas Iglesias, by asking visitors to create something in this space. “At the core of the project is an invitation for creative experimentation,” which is one aspect of the Camp Rising Sun program. Much like the Rising Sun program, “each element of the sisters' ever-changing exhibition is designed to be activated, handled, moved, altered, worn, and played. Make your own rules at the UMFA to re-imagine, re-create, and re-invent.”

The UMFA explains that the ACME Lab is “a space dedicated to community engagement and art experimentation,” and “to promote interconnectivity, build community pride, and advocate for organizing.”

The ACME Lab also promotes collaboration, a core element of the Camp Rising Sun program. Janelle and Lisa told us that “collectives, since the beginning, have always had a utopian air about them, and have been understood as places where modern ideas of labor, citizenship, and belonging can be put to the test and/or reimagined.  This is one of the reasons we loved and continue to love Camp.”

They also wrote “We think of collaboration as a flexible sensibility that encompasses cooperation, coordination, orchestration, collectivity (and more)… as a plastic material that we can question and play with. People often romanticize our working-relationship because we are sisters––but collaboration is often extremely difficult for us––geographically, emotionally, financially and logistically. We keep at it because we are invested in the practice of collaborating. We’re also mindful of the role collaboration has played in the history of feminist art in the 20th century and the ways in which collaboration allowed women artists to reject notions of the individual ‘master' genius and negate patriarchal notions of power in order to establish a more supportive, radical network of art-making. This is part of what brings us back to the table each time we work on a project together. Collaborating is then this deliberate choice and we take care to discuss the ethics and personal/community stakes of each opportunity.”

Because we can’t take anything for granted and we think and work very differently from one another, we experiment with and question strategies of collaboration and working systems each time we get together. We try to treat each new project as an opportunity to grow.

Las Hermanas Iglesias: Here Here runs until January 28th, 2018.

Janelle was a camper at CRS in 1996 and 1997. Both Janelle and Lisa worked as counselors from 2001-2003, engaging our campers in their creative, critical, collaborative approach to the arts. Janelle was also the Assistant Camp Director at our former location in Stendis, Denmark in 2006.

Currently, Lisa is an Assistant Professor of Drawing & Painting at the University of Florida, and Janelle recently relocated her studio to Southern California. To learn more about Janelle and Lisa’s artwork, visit their website. To catch a glimpse into their creative process, watch this video, created by Phoenix New Times, of the sisters installing one of their collaborative art exhibits. 

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