Women Crush Wednesday: Nashalina Schrape
Born in West Berlin, currently lives and works in New York City, Schrape received her Master degree in Science in Art Psychotherapy. She uses photography with her pediatric, adolescent and young adult clients. Schrape has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions and has been featured in many publications, the latter including SHOTS magazine, National Geographic Proof, Feature Shoot, Bird in Flight, Klatblutt, Private: International Review for Photography, FIAF, Crusade for Art, Dodo Photography, Platform, Arte Fotografica and The New York Observer. She is the recipient of Peoples Choice and Reportage GoSee Awards 2015 in Berlin. View more of Schrape’s work here.
Interviewed by Jing Zhao
I am taking Photography Workshop this semester and my professor Nathaniel Ward frequently mentions that art can be very impactful when you are honest with yourself and show the audience what you really care about. I can experience a sense of honesty that are not overtly tied to the mysterious and dreamy mood you create in your work. It’s more about the historic and culture context of this project, “True Fiction". Could you tell us more about that?
I really like what your professor says. YES!!!!! My mother taught me to "follow my bliss" and "listen to my heart". I have learned that running away from my own personal dialogue or story lead to disingenuous dialogue with myself and the world. I was very concerned about what was outside of me. I struggled with many shades of shame and self worth. It was important for me to discover my own internal voice and filter of seeing the world. If we follow our history, passions, and/or interest it leads us to our authentic, one of kind voice and expression. There is no one like you, if you truly listen to what your soul is telling you.
I was born in Berlin, Germany with the legacy of violence of World War II, the shame of Nazism and the separation of my family by a heavily armed wall that was fortified by a heavy Soviet occupation. As the Russian Army was invading Berlin at the end of WW2, my grandmother burned all of the photos of her husband in his German SS uniform, to protect her and her daughter from violent retribution. Using my art, I attempt to bridge the disappearance of the image of my grandfather and him to the representation of my families story and every person's story that is at once a myriad of feelings and laden with emotional material mostly outside the possibility of verbal articulation.
Initially I wanted to create a series about survivors and unlikely warriors. To take individuals out of their modern context and create a narrative which celebrated them as hero’s, royalty and /or otherworldly, suggesting that some may have special powers.
I love your black and white works, Nashalina! They are beautiful, haunting. I just can’t help going back and looking at them. So I am curious about your concept of color, because you work with monochromes as well as colors in your other series.
Perhaps in years to come, I will be more conscious about why I choose one over the other. As of today, I unconsciously lean one way or the other and it just 'feels' right.
To me, your work also incorporates notions of the relationship between human being and nature. Many of your subjects and the surroundings are sort of merged. What’s your thoughts on this?
I believe my and the entire planets salvation is through nature. If we do not learn to respect it, we will vanquish. Nature and all she offers, save me.
In your artist statement, you also acknowledge your influences from other artists. Could you talk more about influences?
Seeing Sallie Mann's 'Immediate Family' for the first time, was a game changer for me in terms of art and expression. It was like the light went on in a very dark room. I loved the concept that Diane Arbus managed to make the forgotten or misfit the hero. Josef Koudelka Gypsies transfixed me with it's tones and composition. All had a certain other worldly quality. Perhaps the mundane and brutal nature of the real world mandates that I create or look at other worlds. The guiding force is always beauty.
Would you say it’s necessary for contemporary art to harvest from the cultural richness of the past?
Exposing ourselves to history and the work of others makes us a more connected artist to the rest of the world. It offers inspiration, validation and support.
1. How would you describe your creative process in one word?
2. If you could teach one, one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
How to be still in nature and respect horses without riding them <3
3.What was the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
The book 'Horse, Follow Closely: Native American Horsemanship' by Gawani Pony Boy
4. What is your most played song in your music library?
5. How do you take your coffee?
A small with almond coconut milk