This year’s winner of the Dazed 100, Janice Mascarenhas creates multimedia art inspired by her life in Brazil. We talked to Janice about the development of her creative practice, current projects, and why championing individual stories through art is paramount.
Can you tell me a little bit about your creative background - did you always think that you would make art?
Yes, my grandfather was a painter working on restorations in churches on some of the most famous paintings in Brazil. Since childhood, my dad always taught me the importance of art.
Can you describe the different mediums you use in your work?
Officially, I am a sculptor, but I started my research on hair. At 15 I just had some natural hair to base my sculptures around, and today I use many different techniques and materials Including ceramic, plaster, and latex - I’m even learning how to carve on crystal.
What are the main themes behind your work?
The history of the world and Africa as the beginning of everything. I'm also inspired by finding ways to survive in a post-colonised world.
You're the winner of this year's Dazed 100, what was the inspiration behind your winning project, and what did it feel like to win such an amazing accolade?
My inspiration was my ancestry, I went through life trying to understand my roots, and as an Afro-Brazilian I always ask myself, where can I find the details? After years of looking and researching on that topic, I wrote a script about being born as a body into diaspora. I’m so happy that the world is interested in my vision!
Do you have any other career highlights so far?
Yes, I’m currently organising a hip hop festival in Brazil with a female only line-up, for black and queer people.
Are you in the process of working on your Dazed 100 project, if so, how is that going?
Yes, I’m the art curator of the team, and the project is a film about the Afro diaspora in Brazil and the main character is a robot made of clay. I connected the narratives by using one part of the body from 13 different people. I'm looking for people who will let me use their body as a mould, so that I can build the clay robot's body around that.
How do you see your creative practice growing in the future?
I want to do more work as a researcher and curator. I think it’s necessary to use the opportunity I’ve been given in order to access space allowing me to open more space for other people's narratives.
What piece of advice would you give to any young people wanting to start out in the creative industry?
Be patient and always look at how to make your narrative stronger. You just need to believe in your ideas.
Are there any ways that you would like to see the art world change?
I want to see Black stories from around the world given more space within the art world, and for these artists to be given the opportunity to make money from their artistic work.
You can check out Janice's work here
Words: Grace Goslin