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

Hi Liene, how do you think about risk?
The creative field is risky because we are working from the unknown and cultivating new ideas. Oftentimes, the idea is something that has not been established, so I believe we artists are constantly taking risks. This instigates experimentation, but also failure. In my artwork, I deal with risk various times throughout the production process and actual duration of the piece. It exists not only with the conceptualization of new ideas, but also in terms of the medium used. I first come up with the concept for the work and then find what technique and which materials will best convey that idea. This means that I often have to learn a new technique by using a new tool. With my works that are site-specific (in conversation to the space around it), sometimes the installations are not in ‘art spaces’ and I have to ask for special permits through persuasion. When the installations are outdoors, then there is the risk of natural elements interfering with the work. I also work with socially engaged art, and then the work depends on interaction with participants. The risk here comes from not knowing how the public will react, and thus, how the outcome will evolve.   

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Part of my artistic practice is motivated by working with public participation to discover new relationships between people and the spaces and materials around them. Furthermore, my work, which includes sculpture, installation, and socially engaged projects, brings people together to consider these connections to place through memory and tactility. It is through touch and material exploration that I am able to communicate and connect in deeper ways to the audience. I am interested in materials that hold memory and are also already saturated with meaning. The materiality of my work happens in conjunction with the concepts behind my sculptures and installations, and so mold making and imprints are at the core of my process. Primarily, I use architectural elements as a mold, and have recently been focusing mostly on my three-dimensional work. My artistic practice deals with the investigation of the sensorial experiences within architectural, urban, and personal spaces. Through the process of creating traces, shadows, impressions, imprints, and reflections, I explore notions of negative space—both physical and emotional. In this way, whether it’s through creating an object, a site-specific installation, or a socially engaged project, my work emphasizes elements of history, context, and immigration. Echoing the methods of archeologists and anthropologists, I begin by collecting information on buildings through book research, onsite investigations, and by conducting interviews with locals. These pieces of “evidence” are then implemented into my work, conveying new meanings, but still referencing their source. My process is similar to an archeological dig, where uncovered remnants teach us about the past and hold the possibility to reshape the future. My latest socially-engaged project “HamacaS” explores the cultural dissonance and emotional displacement of immigrant communities through craft. The project consists of an interactive installation that is activated through collective weaving sessions and workshops that aim to build a complex narrative around immigration from Latin America. The idea is to empower participants to engage with craft, bring them closer to their Latin American roots, and build a connection between the cultures they navigate daily. In terms of encountering challenges along the way, it has been a challenge being an artist. Even though I do what I love, the reality is that it’s not just made up of the exciting creative process that happens in the studio, but also dealing with the administrative tasks like marketing, financials, writing grants and constant applications, which most of the time drains me and prevents me from creating. Another aspect is that it is hard to sustain a practice, and the truth is it only happens for very few artists. It is like any freelance job—you never really know how much money you will be making each month. To overcome these challenges I have been looking for alternative ways to earn money through grants and stipends that help me to accomplish specific projects. I’m also finding that teaching art is not only a financial relief, but that it also complements my studio practice and my general mission. The most recent challenge has been becoming a mother and balancing that with keeping my studio practice. I have been getting through it for the past year-and-a-half and finally getting back in the studio more. Luckily, having a family and being part of an art community that helps each other makes my life as an artist possible! Along the way, I’ve learned that for most artists, it takes time. Time to mature the work, time to make connections, time to build your reputation. Network and patience are the key. Also, don’t wait for opportunity to knock on your door. You have to find opportunities by applying to residencies, writing exhibition grants, and persisting when getting rejected. If you see that the opportunities are not coming, create your own opportunities to exhibit the work, network, and exchange with the community. And last but not least, don’t rely on expectations—for me, this is the best way of not being constantly disappointed. In addition, I’d like for people to know that even though my work has some beauty in it, it also has a lot of conceptual layers. I invite the audience to spend more time with each piece so they can unravel it and find a narrative beyond the surface. Also, I’d like to say that I am actually excited about teaching online, something I could have never imagined doing after 10 years of teaching hands-on studio classes. I have recently been teaching at Florida International University and Miami International University of Art and Design, and was forced alongside all educators to learn this new trait when the pandemic hit. I finally feel comfortable doing so and see the advantages that it can have. I even accepted a new endeavor to co-coordinate the International Lab for Art Practices (ILAP), a program created by Uncool Artist which is an entirely online school. Having been able to teach and exchange with artists from all around the world has been rewarding and has allowed for new possibilities.

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.
I always tell my friends who are visiting Miami to go beyond the very touristic Miami Beach, so they can really appreciate nature and discover the cultural diversity and local art scene. I would propose enjoying the natural landscape and beaches by exploring Key Biscayne and Virginia Key. Crandon Park is my favorite beach in town, it makes you forget that you are in an urban area and really allows you to reconnect with nature. You can spend the day by the quiet sand shores, cycling, and practicing water sports. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is perfect for a walk around the shore, and you can also visit the historical lighthouse while you’re there along with the old Semiole grounds. As for the art scene, Pérez Art Museum Miami is a must visit, not only to appreciate its permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, but also its unique architecture and bay setting. I would also suggest getting to know the local art community by visiting my favorite alternative space, Dimensions Variable, and the local galleries in Little Haiti and Little River. Other art spaces unique to Miami are the private art collections that are on view to the public: The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, de la Cruz Collection, Rubell Museum, and El Espacio 23 (Jorge Pérez Collection). Another Miami neighborhood to enjoy is Coconut Grove. Visit the older part of the town on a Saturday so you can catch the Organic Farmers Market and delicious vegan treats. Walk through The Barnacle Historic State Park, which preserves a native hammock small forest and is the oldest house in its original location in Miami-Dade County. Not too far from there, in the City of Coral Gables, you can enjoy a stroll in its canopied streets and find the most lush banyan and oak trees. The best coffee place and book shop around there in my opinion is Books and Books. While in Miami Beach, experience the Art Deco Walking Tour in order to appreciate more of the architectural legacy, and then check out the Wolfsonian Museum for the art deco design collection to complement what you’ve learned about that time period. A great way to be exposed to the cultural diversity is most certainly through food. You have to taste Cuban and Venezuelan cuisine. Doggi’s Arepa Bar, Havana Harry’s, and Casa Cuba are my favorites. Enjoy/Desfrute Miami!  Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It takes a village to pursue a career as an artist! There are so many supporters of my work and mentors that I am thankful for. For the sake of this interview, I will stick to my life in Miami. Less than three years ago, I moved to Miami knowing only a handful of people. I am so grateful for the welcoming local art community here, especially some supportive organizations. By inviting me to exhibit my work in a few group shows and introducing it to the local arts community, The55Project has opened up doors that have led to other opportunities. The organization’s mission is to promote Brazilian visual artists and cultural projects in the United States. My shoutout also goes to some institutions that believed in my risky ideas, and gave me encouragement and financial support through grants programs to accomplish my socially engaged project, “HamacaS.” The first was Oolite Arts, an organization that supports visual artists in Miami and awarded me with their Ellies Creator Award. Another non-profit, Locust Projects, which creates opportunities for visual artists at all career stages, awarded me with their WaveMaker Grant. The last one is the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami who hosted this project right before pandemic. I am thankful for all of them, however, the most support I have throughout my art practice comes from my husband Philipp Muller and my mother Aely Bosquê. Without them, I would have already given up my artistic career.

Website: https://www.lienebosque.com

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

Facebook: @lienebosqueart

Other: https://vimeo.com/lienebosque http://uncoolartist.us

Image Credits
Philipp Muller, Eliseu Cavalcante, Pedro Tropa, Erica Petrillo,

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