The Mud Project: Stadelbauer
CreateSpace Public Art Forum 2022
An artistic response to the 2022 CreateSpace Public Art Forum, a national forum virtually convening participants who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), racialized, rural and/or youth with disabilities and between the ages of 18-25. Participants were presented with online talks themed around public art practices, studio tours by artist facilitators, a Keynote Event by artist Lori Blondeau, and opportunities to engage with fellow peers to inspire their final creations.
Project at a Glance
This is a semi-ecological exploration (inspired by Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed’s lecture) of dirt, mud, and clay as a process of gathering and placemaking. I recently moved to the rural town of Beamsville in the Niagara Region from the Greater Toronto Area. While exploring the area around my new home, I was struck by the richness and variety of the earth. I began a process of collecting and categorizing different varieties of dirt and clay in the vicinity of the Stadelbauer Trail near my home. I wanted to experience the physical properties of the ground I was walking on and examine how the unique distribution of different kinds of dirt, mud, and clay creates a sense of geography and place.
For The Mud Project: Stadelbauer, I collected six specimens of dirt, mud, and clay from the Stadelbauer area. I worked each sample with my hands, feeling the texture, density, and composition as I rolled them into orbs. Working the mud, dirt, and clay for at least thirty minutes darkened the colour and polished the surfaces of the more clay-like samples. To document the unaltered state of the samples, I created a wooden mud press and six plaster moulds to create little bricks of the material. While working with the samples, I distinguished subtle differences in the texture of the dense reddish clay from the riverbank, the light crumbly sandy soil from the uprooted tree, and the springy dark mud by the grassy slope. Together, these samples create a unique snapshot of the Stadelbauer area.
About the Artist
Asha Cabaca is a Toronto-born artist whose appreciation of nature is reflected in her current practice. She completed her BFA at York University (Toronto) in December 2021 and as a sculptor, works with bronze, stone, mould-making, and plaster to examine the relationship between the found and the made, and the visible and the seemingly invisible.
For Cabaca, the process of finding and discovery is crucial, and the found natural object, be it an apple, chestnut, or mushroom, is transformed into sculpture and re-sited. The viewer is then implicated in the discovery and determination of the artwork. Through the process of examining the relationship between site and object, Asha Cabaca hopes to build a practice focusing on site-specific and public art.
Asha Cabaca has exhibited her work in Look what I found, a solo exhibition curated by the artist, at York University. Her work Shelves appeared in the 17th Edition of Fresh Paint/New Construction at Art Mûr in Montreal, Canada. She has been the recipient of the Philip Silver Scholarship (by nomination), the Joan and Martin Goldfarb Scholarship, and the Louis Odette Sculpture Award, among others. Asha Cabaca plans to obtain an MFA and further pursue her inquiry into the nature site and object in her practice.
CreateSpace Public Art Forum
STEPS Public Art believes public art has the ability to challenge the systemic inequities that exist in public space. In support of this important work, we facilitate artist capacity building programs that foster inclusive public art practices, build the capacity of underrepresented artists, and demonstrate how public art can help reimagine equitably designed cities.
CreateSpace Public Art Forum is a digital forum that virtually convenes participants who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), racialized, rural and/or youth with disabilities and between the ages of 18-25. This forum fosters connections, builds understanding across geographies and cultures, as well as provide emerging equity-seeking artists with the skills, relationships and support needed to develop public art practices. Visit the online gallery to view all artistic responses by the 2022 forum participants.