Spotlight: Human·Kind

Design as Social Practice

Anna Carnick

Deem’s Nu Goteh speaks with community-driven artist-designer Tanya Aguiñiga

In our special new series 15 Minutes on Design & Human·Kind, we connect with outstanding creatives to explore design-led visions for a more equitable and interconnected world. For the latest installment, Deem Journal cofounder Nu Goteh speaks with award-winning interdisciplinary artist Tanya Aguiñiga about her socially driven creative practice. Their conversation is presented by Deem Journal.

Known for melding craft, sculpture, and performance to address issues of migration, gender, and identity, Aguiñiga draws on her life experience as a binational citizen, who as a child crossed the U.S.-Mexico border daily from Tijuana to San Diego to attend school, and aspires to tell the larger, often invisible stories of the transnational community. ◆

For Hammer Museum’s 2017 Family Day: Art Beyond Borders, participants were asked to contribute to a giant weaving that would later be placed at the US-Mexico border. Photo courtesy of Tanya Aguiñiga

Two-spirit Earth and Hallowed Mound, sculptures commissioned for the Candlewood Arts Festival, which celebrates connections between art, community, and our shared environment (2019). Aguiñiga's Extraño series draws from the Spanish word extraño’s two meanings: the experience of missing (to miss) and the adjective, strange. The braided wall works were made in the company of grief, gratitude, rage, exhaustion, and worry experienced in response to the constant threats our BIPOC community faces and the diverse affects and losses of the pandemic. Photos © Volume Gallery

This series was conceived and curated by Wava Carpenter and Anna Carnick of Design Miami and Anava Projects as an exploration of the Design Miami/ 2021 curatorial theme Human·Kind.

About Human·Kind: As an antidote to our most pressing social and environmental problems, today’s leading-edge design thinking strives to empower traditionally overlooked perspectives while expanding the scope of valued narratives. The process begins with seeing the world for what it is: a network of beings entangled with other beings, whose future is entirely interdependent. The objective is to level hierarchies that elevate humans over other species and to subvert unjust systems that privilege certain people while denying others the full slate of human rights.