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Laura Caseberry is an English Art Historian, specialised in the contemporary visual arts and ecology. She studied Art History at the National Taiwan University, receiving her Bachelor degree in Art History from the University of Manchester, specialised in Chinese art and Ecology. She received her Masters in Art History from the University of Liverpool. She has eagerly applied ecological critical ideas to arts and visual culture. We interviewed Laura in regards to her curating the solo exhibition of Marko Klomp for Gallery Sorelle Sciarone. Through her answers we will gain insight to her trajectory that brought her to the point of curating this show.
Interview: Curator Laura Caseberry
Who? Laura Caseberry
What? Art Historian
When? Early Twenty-First Century
Where? The U.K.
Why? Curator for Gallery Sorelle Sciarone. Marko Klomp's solo show 2022 Perseverance
Curator Laura Caseberry. Interview with Laura Caseberry for Gallery Sorelle Sciarone.
The Arts and Nature
Please tell us something about yourself.
If I couldn't work in curation and the arts, my next dream choice would be as a national park ranger among plants and animals.
How did you get into what you do right now? Please tell us more about your journey.
I have always had a great passion for the arts. In school, I studied art, music and drama, and in my free time, I would always be drawing or doing something arty. After finishing school at 16 years old, I studied music and visual arts but felt unsure about the direction I should take. Many of my friends who were practising artists and working in the arts were endlessly struggling to make an income and pay bills, so I chose steady office work. In my mid-20s, some friends and I decided we needed change and applied to teach English in China. This was when things really started to change in my mindset. After 18 months of living in China, I returned to the U.K. and began my undergraduate degree. I decided to do my B.A. in East Asian studies as I was able to continue learning Mandarin alongside classes around culture and arts. During my time at The University of Manchester, I studied some fantastic subjects such as contemporary East Asian arts, visual culture, including disaster photography and photo-journalism, eco-criticism in literature, film and arts and more. I spent year three of my B.A. abroad attending The National Taiwan University, where I studied East Asian art history, from ancient artefacts to 20th Century art practices.
Following my B.A., I completed my M.A. in Art History and curated back in my home city of Liverpool. Towards the end of my M.A., a Dutch friend offered me an opportunity to return to the Netherlands with them. I jumped on the chance to do more travelling and experience a new country and culture. Unfortunately, Covid hit just after I arrived in the Netherlands. I was only able to obtain freelance and volunteer arts-related work; this is how I came into contact with Gallery Sorelle Sciarone. However, I had a wonderful two years in the Netherlands despite restrictions. I returned to the U.K. once again in February 2022, where I am now hunting for a new arts-related role.
Who are your role models?
My family and my friends are certainly on this list, as I've seen their dedication bring positive results over the years. I've also met many great professionals along my journey in arts, curating and research. I am an open-minded person and feel there are always things we can learn from each other. When I was younger and doing office work, I was also a volunteer artist with a group called V-Involved, painting murals in charities and community centres. The person leading the project was actually a great motivator and role model to me; they instigated a real change in my mindset. One day they questioned why I wasn't working in the arts sector with my skills. They then sat and listened to my concerns over not earning enough to live, the debt I would accrue attending university and other issues that felt like barriers to me. Their understanding and discussions with me about how I could meet those challenges in life and overcome them with hard work, endurance and proactive behaviour really inspired me to fight harder for the things I wanted. I would never have moved to China, attended university or pursued a career in arts if not for that volunteer project leader.
Arts and Ecology: instigating change
Detail "Anthologima 4: It's not your fault" (2021). Marko Klomp. Oil on Linen. 100cm x 120cm.
Part of the Exhibition: Perseverance curated by Laura Caseberry.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by art that has a real emphasis on social-political change. So artworks that are a form of art activism. For example, my past research involved looking at the value and impact of ecological paintings. Artworks that not only have an intention of raising awareness about the environmental crisis our planet faces but, more so, artworks that become active tools in educating and shifting perspectives toward a sustainable future. Artworks, community art projects and activities that actually change behaviours and practices. In addition, I am also inspired by interactive works. Personally, I enjoy multi-disciplinary artworks, tactile artworks, light, sound, temperature, touch etc. Artworks that make you a participant rather than an observer.
Please tell us about your work.
My recent curating work has involved, of course, my work with Gallery Sorelle Sciarone. Before that, I did a 3-month placement at a contemporary Chinese art gallery in Manchester, U.K., working on an ecologically driven exhibition and an archive and library exhibition. Plus, during my studies in Liverpool, U.K. I collaborated on the design of a multi-sensory and tactile exhibition; everything was targeted at those with visual impairment or blindness, so touch and sound drove the selection of works. Aside from curating, I have done a fair amount of research and writing around art theory, visual culture, East Asian arts and ecological arts. Recently I did a research and writing piece for a Vietnamese art documentary company called Nghe.doc, writing an analysis of an artist and their artwork for an English publication.
Laura Caseberry. Art Historian and Curator.
Art and China
What's your most memorable experience in your field?
While attending University in Taiwan and studying East Asian Art History, I spent time with the staff at the National Palace Museum. This museum houses an enormous Taiwanese, Chinese and Asian art collection. I had already studied ideas of alternative and non-Euro-American art history and theoretical approaches, and my time at the National Palace Museum allowed me to see some of those practices. The discussions I had with the curators were really insightful. I must also mention that I remember so many of my visits to independent Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese galleries while I was in those countries. Features of those independent galleries, exhibition choices and their research approach were often unique and different.
What keeps you going when things get tough?
Being outside in a more natural space always makes me feel better. A walk in a green space will make me calmer when I'm stressed make me more energized when I'm drained; no matter the mood, it's always an improvement. If I cannot go outdoors for some reason, I retreat to my first love as a child, animation, comics and computer games. I love really old animation and lots of classic comics. There are some fantastic independent animators, illustrators, graphic game designers and story writers out there. My advice is to always check the indie sections, not just the mainstream titles.
What is the one thing you wish people knew more about in the arts?
Returning to my earlier point, I wish more people acknowledged the arts as a tool for change. Humans generally agree that we gain knowledge, gain insight, and develop ideas from other creative fields, such as reading books and reading fiction. Yet, I often feel people only consider visual arts as something nice or interesting to look at, simple aesthetic pleasure. The area of arts and culture holds massive influence on our perspectives and actions. I would like people to understand how that influence can be used for positive change.
Laura, thank you for doing this interview. It was extremely lovely to get to know you in this way. You really hit a lot of intersections in the art world, with community work, ecological aspects as well as a broad study of the arts in Europe as well as China. Thank you for applying your skills in using art to implement change and activism.
Lots of Love,
Art Historian and Gallery Manager at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone.
In front of Marko Klomp's newest paintings from his series Antholigima.
Postscript: Dutch translation will be updated shortly.