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Adapting to Change: The Birth of Creative Sparks




In 2020, as physical programs faced restrictions due to the pandemic, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts sought out innovative proposals for digital experiences. Thus, the Creative Sparks program was born—a beacon of creativity that illuminated the path forward for artists amidst uncertainty. This stream of the program aimed to champion artist-led experiences that ignite inspiration and push the boundaries of artistic expression.

Semiotics of the Bathroom: A Digital Discourse

Amidst this backdrop of innovation, Sonia Ward's video work, "Semiotics of the Bathroom," emerged as a captivating exploration of contemporary identity. Drawing inspiration from Martha Rosler's iconic "Semiotics of the Kitchen," Ward's piece subverts and contemporizes the concept through a raw and intimate iPhone selfie-style performance.

Unmasking Identity in the Digital Realm

As the world grappled with the realities of a pandemic, Ward's work delved into the complex interplay between identity, performance art, and the digital landscape. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, where masks became symbols of protection, her piece provocatively questions the role of masks in shaping, concealing, or revealing identities. Through her performance, Ward prompts viewers to ponder whether masks, both literal and metaphorical, serve to protect, reveal, or obscure the true essence of the performer.

A Captivating Installation

From August 14th to September 27th, 2020, Ward's thought-provoking artwork transformed Umbrella's downstairs Vault space into a captivating installation. Projected onto the walls, her video performance invited audiences to immerse themselves in a journey of introspection and inquiry, challenging preconceived notions of self and other in the digital age.

Conclusion: Provoking Thought in Uncertain Times

Sonia Ward's participation in the Creative Sparks program stands as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of artists in the face of adversity. Through her exploration of identity in the digital realm, she ignites conversations, provokes thought, and pushes the boundaries of artistic expression. As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the post-pandemic world, Ward's work serves as a beacon of inspiration, guiding us towards a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.


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