Sandra Bouguerch is an interdisciplinary artist exploring an ongoing enquiry into the ‘Notion of Self’. Her practice incorporates an array of media such as video, installation, photography, sound, performance and text through which she creates atmospheres. Since achieving a first class degree in Fine Art (2012) Sandra has been included in several art prizes alongside invites from numerous group shows and invited to exhibit at the Marrakech Bienniale 6.
She is a studio holder and member of the Northwest art collective NEO:ARTISTS and has recently won an AIR Award and first prize in the Waterside Open.
1. What was it like to win the AIR Award in March for your moving piece IM-PRINT and your first prize at Waterside Open in the same month with ‘Tarred’ a portrait of your late father?
I was surprised and thrilled because the artworks I create are not particularly aesthetically pleasing to the viewer because they are concept driven. Often they are based on relationships and issues in an attempt to push the boundaries of self-discovery, which possibly makes ‘for some’ uncomfortable viewing. Being awarded two prizes the same week re-enforced my value and success as an artist and the artwork I am creating.
2. How has your practice changed over the years?
I graduated in 2012 and became a Neo:artist studio member, prior to that I was a graphic designer for 22 years stuck in a rut. I had always been interested in art albeit in a naive way, having limited knowledge of contemporary art before I studied at Bolton University in 2009.
My practice is becoming clearer and less distilled, however I am a person who enjoys trying various ways of working rather than focusing on one thing at a time, mainly because generally I have an abundance of ideas. Perhaps people see me as a self-absorbed person coming form an only child background it was ‘all about me’. Initially I involved myself physically within the artwork and then took on other roles or positions. I do also enjoy working, sharing ideas and collaborating with others.
3. Does being a female artist impact on your work?
Yes because my artwork is from my own perspective of life.
4. Can you describe a specific piece of yours and how it relates to your personal life?
The work I collaborated with my father from 2012 to 2015 has been the most significant due to the situation I was placed in, from being free and single to becoming a full-time carer. Dad moved in with me due to a decline in his health displaying early signs of dementia the same month I graduated. So as a way of coming to terms and processing my situation I began to record our relationship using various forms of media. I asked my father to sign a document in which he stated he was “supportive and happy to collaborate in my ideas and artworks”. I felt this was necessary due to the risk of being accused of manipulating a person who would be future classed as a vulnerable adult.
5. What are you working on now?
I have had a month rest after organising and curating ‘INTERFACE’ an ambitious and challenging 23 artist group exhibition at Neo:gallery23 collaborating with two other neo:artists.
Beginning in July I have booked a 5 day National Summer School opportunity delivered by artists Priska Falin and Helen Felcey at Spode to discover more about clay and ceramics having recently become seduced by clay and the process of using it.
AIR Gallery in Altrincham has approached me to be one of the Judges for their ‘Summer Open’ which will be a valuable new experience. Plus I have been invited to participate in a group exhibition ‘Self and Other’ at Neo:gallery23 in August and will be developing new work using fabric paint as my chosen medium to work on concepts of conversations, narratives, the ‘said’ and ‘unsaid’ and perhaps a performance collaboration.
In September I will be participating in ‘Part2 of Corduroy’ a Swedish and Neo:artists group exchange based on Globalisation and Industrialisation, and I have made numerous works about consumption. Part1 was a 5 day visit to SK44 in Stockholm in August 2017 where we all presented new artworks in 2 locations within the city.
Although successful in terms of exhibiting nationally and internationally, my practice is financially non-profitable and I have a studio, materials and travel costs to pay for. Therefore I recently set up Sandra Bouguerch ‘Creative Companion’ a business using art to enhance and inspire lives. I especially enjoy working with older people and my personal experience is an asset which will enable me to focus on people and carers living with dementia.