Like her multidimensional creations, artist Eloa Jane Pereira's life has been recycled, upcycled and reimagined. A lifelong architect by trade, she left her home, her career and her comfortable routine behind in Brazil after a divorce, a transition she describes as seeing her life "torn apart like a piece of paper." She started over in the United States as a single mom with three children, a different vocation and a longing for a place to put down roots. It took 10 years, she says, of new beginnings for her to come home.
Eloa Jane's current exhibition at Art Ventures in Fayetteville pays tribute to the world she found just outside Fayetteville and the people who welcomed her to it. "Neighbors & Neighborhood: Beav-O-Rama Park" is a collection of 12 works that "depict life in ... a small rural community on the banks of the White River." Beyond that, it also her effort to "be the change you want to see in the world." Simply put, she says, "I transform recycled paper waste into art."
"From an early age, I had a lot of interest and ability in the arts and crafts," Eloa Jane recalls. "I sewed my own clothes, painted, sculpted, played the guitar and even toured local churches with my all-female quartet at the height of the bossa nova days. My father had a great influence in my future choices as well. He was a violinist and a master at creating toys using scrap metals. His creativity and the artistic aspect of my personality influenced me to choose architecture. In the same way that my dad was resourceful, I, as an architect in a poor country, learned to explore local resources and find economically viable solutions. My constant search for low-cost materials played a large role in my choice of the recycled paper medium."
The catalog accompanying her exhibit recounts how Eloa Jane "began to incorporate unwanted paper from junk mail into her compositions, making the useless useful, the worthless desirable, transforming trash into beauty in a way that resonated with her personal journey. By reusing office paper, magazines, newspapers, phone books and even coffee filters she has learned to take advantage of the inherent properties of junk paper -- with its varied textures, patterns, text and colors -- as a means of self expression. ... Upcycling is now not just her art but also her way of life."
It took hundreds, sometimes thousands, of paper tubes layered together to create images like "Waves of Music," "Moonlight Paddle," "Kathy's Clothesline," "Picasso the Pet Pig," "The Boat Ramp" and "Dogs and Chickens, Squirrels and Birds." They are vibrant, colorful, as alive as the "real-life people with real stories, backgrounds, hopes and dreams" she introduces as her neighbors at Beav-O-Rama Park.
"Moving to a place with such exuberant nature after living years in small apartments in big cities was an inspiration in itself, " Eloa Jane says. "I was in awe of the birds' symphony at sunrise. Seeing the green grass, Bella the horse, many other small pets and friendly neighbors made the 'Neighbors and Neighborhood' series take shape in my mind and my heart."
Not satisfied with simply letting them inspire her, Eloa Jane also invited her neighbors to open studio days where they could be part of the process and celebrated the completion of the collection with a party at Beav-O-Rama Park. She hopes viewers will themselves be inspired to "see the qualities instead of imperfections when looking at their own neighbors and family"; "find creative ways to reuse, upcycle and remake things before quickly discarding them into the garbage bin"; and "understand that community is not something we build by scheduling meetings and activities."
"Community is out there," she says. "We can choose to ignore it, criticize it or be a part of it. I have chosen the latter."
‘Neighbors And Neighborhood:
WHEN — Through July 28; hours are 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. & 4-7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 1-3 p.m. Sunday
WHERE — Art Ventures, 101 W. Mountain St. in Fayetteville
COST — Free
INFO — ArtVenturesNWA.org, eloajane.com
BONUS — Eloa Jane is also participating in a three-day event July 19-21 at the Crystal Bridges Museum Store.
NAN What's Up on 06/09/2019
Print Headline: Upcycled