Chelsea Canavan is a multidisciplinary artist interested in exploring acts of agency, inclusivity, and interactions within the in-between and playful. Their practice is underpinned by a strong process-led and collaborative approach. They use methodologies that involve research and active learning, observation, documentation and collaboration; followed by reflection and (co)production. Outcomes are rarely preplanned, but are always meticulously reflective of and shaped by research, group interaction and encountered spaces. Production of artwork(s) is equally informed by Chelsea’s own response to participants, past and present encounters, and reflection on the creative process itself.
They ask: How can agency and inclusivity use a multi-species perspective to view what is possible? What can we alter by advocating non-human agency? Where does the deconstruction of power and decolonisation bring us? Why do we reinforce differences and nationhood within belonging?
The artist Chelsea Canavan enacts a socially engaged practice, also referred to as social practice or socially engaged art. This practice and methodology involves people and communities in conversation, collaboration or social interaction together and responding creatively or in a co-creative situation. The artist hosts gatherings, meet-ups and workshops that are often organised as the result of a shared interest and connected network with the engaged community group. The participatory element of socially engaged practice is key to the development of reflective research and co-creating within a space. The artworks created often holding equal or less importance to the collaborative act of creating them. Canavan continually adheres to the fact that interactions, communications and relationships building within this social practice is ‘art that’s socially engaged, where the social interaction itself (defined as – meeting, conversation, connection making and active listening with reflective research and creative response) is at some level the art itself.’
Chelsea’s practice is generously supported by the Arts Council, Creative Europe, the Limerick Arts Office, Creative Ireland, Centre for Creative Practices, Creative Schools 2022-23, TAP Residencies, BLAST Schools Residencies, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in ‘23, and the Ilen Community Engagement Programme. Chelsea is a member of the VAI, the Limerick Printmakers and has received a First Class Honours MA, in Social Practice and Creative Environment from Limerick School of Art and Design. Chelsea also is the lead artist for a National Children’s Charity, Helium Arts – @ the Limerick Health Hub.
Instagram: @chelsea_canavan , @waterpathsproject