We had the good fortune of connecting with Ana Kamiar and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ana, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Twenty years ago, I was teaching full-time at the Miami International University of Art and Design, and attempting to be a full-time artist, yoga practitioner, family member, and friend. I was 27 years old and freaking out about time and its passing. I felt this overwhelming urgency towards wanting to accomplish everything and to accomplish it all at once; and yet, I felt suspended between all the pushing and pulling. I didn’t understand that my perception of time passing, the sense of urgency I wove in, was the very thing, harmful to my goals. I thought instead, it was my inability to pick and choose one thing over another. To help organize time investments, I learned the idea of prioritizing my passions into sequential order. But, try as I might, this served to create more apprehension. I just couldn’t form a value sequence to help me move along. They were all; after all, my number one. I needed a map to help me toggle through all these number ones continually and in all directions without having to list a sort of value order; if that was even possible. I imagined standing strong with this golden tower of books resting upon my head. They became my crown; actually, as each book I chose to carry with me, functioned in a very real way, to become a crown jewel. If I could just focus on moving forward with all my books in one graceful balance; eventually, I imagined, I would also be able, as the cliches claim, to run, skip and maybe even do a nutso dance. And through the while, each book would be held up and right. Settled, I made a resolution to balance; and a sort of experiment was inspired. With balance as my agency, my intentions did grow into all the directions I chose to develop; and happily without actively having to create priority within my golden tower. Operationally; however, as my book metaphor attempted to illustrate, balance became my primary, that which I sought to consciously activate, and everything else, all my passions, one tall tower of secondary. I made sure to do something from the stack of books I was learning to carry; though, they were already in my life in one way or another. But the aim towards balance helped to relieve the time pressure I associated with each particular book. I came to a practical realization that each crown jewel was in fact something I chose to carry and access for the rest of my life. Huge relief. I just had to do those things which I wanted in my life. That stack of secondaries, each passion became an experiential tool that would help me understand the very qualities of balance I sought. In a sort of elegant reciprocal, my visual works became invested in some visual or conceptual exploration of balance and; certainly, a balance map was accessed and developed in my yoga practice. They worked together well. Eventually, a focus on balance as my primary intent actualized with a cyclical practice of all my secondaries. A sort of win/win. Twenty years later, in tune with the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, I am humbled to look back and realize that I did in fact learn to walk in balance with my stack of books. Focusing on balance as a primary goal did allow me to practice time devotion to all the things I wanted to have in my life. A little or a lot, first or last; however cyclical, time dedications do accrue. And in the end, you will be the balance; a culmination of all you have devoted your time to. Thankfully, I am still learning. The feeling of toppling over, especially from new additions, is a very real thing. And that feeling of urgency from the pushing and pulling that can happen all at once, is also very real. But, I am quicker to recover. I have learned that imbalance, after all, is the very thing to propel movement in one direction or another. And this too is necessary, to create strength. Trust your fulcrum and balance will be created as a natural reaction. As my exploration of balance through both visual and the movement arts has taught me, balance is not always symmetric, nor is it always equally distributed. It is experienced; however, in quite a beautiful way, through equal tension. And that feeling of suspension, I once believed to be counter to my goals, I now recognize as the gift only balance can offer. For in the feeling of suspension, gained from equal tension, is the ultimate freedom, an apex for flight.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I carry an overarching sentimentality within my psychology and so I carved this concept of preservation through image pretty early in my formative years. I think what drew me to the medium had to do with this idea of being able to touch something that no longer exists. As a young child, whenever I had the blessing to be home alone, my secret activity was to climb precarious furniture to get to the top shelf of my parent’s closet. Stored there, would be two leather briefcases. In them were all the negatives and photographs that never made it to the photo albums. These briefcases were magic, the end of the roll light leaks, the blown-out exposures, the half frames, the strange double exposures, all were a sparkle-filled path to time travel. I know my time with those secret briefcases of adventure, imbued the way I think about photography. For me, it is easy to fall completely, head over heels, into a photograph, and replay the reality I initially constructed. I designated photography to hold what I want to be a memory. And rarely do I remember anything that I have not photographed. For better or for worse, I have been very good at outsourcing this vital memory of mine. My art using photography has changed in a lot of ways and I am sure it will continue to do so. I have made projects that attempt to recreate the pictures not good enough to be in family albums of the past, I have documented melancholic children at Disney World. A good portion of my past work was devoted to using my body as object in an attempt to figure out my own gaze relating to it (kinda impossible to step outside of societal constructs but the attempt is worth the work). Currently, my work is about exploring time and space as a way to consider a balance beyond duality. And this has taken me to create various and currently ongoing projects/explorations. Without going into each project, I want to recognize how each work does feel like a confirmation, that beauty is a thing to behold, and I am grateful for the expansion the simplicity has offered. In every way, photography is always a document allowing light to write the frame I construct. And I always seem to use it to preserve the fleeting. But what is fleeting includes more than just physical experience, fleeting too, is inner experience. And inner experience for me is vital to document especially when I am learning something. The quest towards and/ or the many answers become my photographs. Those magical revelations that we have as people. I want to remember mine, so I photograph with them. In the end, I love to try and document the feeling I have towards something, not just a representation of a thing.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh. Well, I lived in south beach for over 10 years. and though many things have changed, the majority of my favorites to do are there and in wynwood. La Sandwichere. South Beach. (smoked salmon and camembert sammie. Super fresh ingredients. I take everyone. Especially good if hungry from a hot day at the beach). Glaser Organic Farms. Coconut Grove. Saturday Farmer’s Market (super fun to try a bunch of healthy yummies) A La Folie. South Beach. (best pea soup and a garden alley atmosphere) The Frieze. South Beach. (best ice cream and sorbets. mix coconut icecream with a sorbet and bam) Porta Sagua. South Beach. (a long time loved and devoted to Cuban cafe) Corner store/Bodega’s for regular precooked Cuban food, and the quick empanada and cafe con leche fix) Shiraz Cafe (waaaaay down US1 but worth it for reasonably priced quality Persian food) The Ocean! ( I would try north beaches, south beaches and the first street beach/newer park. But really, any beach access depending on your preference for crowds) Skating on the walkway along the beaches Yoga on the grassy noll near ocean. Lots of Art and spoken word, places. I would just say to look up while there but always worth it to me: Rubell Family Collection The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse PAMM, Perez Art Museum Miami

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Dr. Paula Harper. My graduate-level art history courses were under her watch. She held a reputation for being incredibly difficult. And from her deeply intellectual manner in both appearance and her run of each roundtable discussion. I understood. She had high standards. And to me, they were for the right reasons, so I asked if she would sit on my graduate committee. I wanted someone with her standards to understand and accept my thesis. Through the process, she offered me texts like “The Power of Feminist Art” by Norma Broud and introduced me to the 70’s cal arts movement that created “womanhouse” which, she, as a dancer back then helped inspire. I was creating work at the time that was very connected to the process these women, she introduced me to, were using. And for me, as an artist, it felt so exhilarating and confirming to know that my process was connected to a very real line of art-making. She also created a pivotal turning point for me in regards to my faith in art history or any history for that manner. If not for her recommendations, I would never have known about the feminist art movements of the seventies, much less my connection to it. I took all the art history classes offered in my undergrad program, I read all the recommended books. They never strayed past the storyline of the white male. She taught me that history books better answer the questions of the present rather than simply culminate stories of our past. This perspective elucidates, so I keep it with me, especially through textbooks I review the classes I teach.

Website: https://www.anakamiar.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anakamiar/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ana-kamiar-8ab26011/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ana.kamiar/

Image Credits
Jesse Brantman: image credit for the portrait of me.

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