Jaz Graf

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The creative practice of Jaz Graf includes hands-on art making, archival and historical research, fieldwork, community-engagement, educational outreach, and the conservation of traditional knowledge. Graf’s body of work juxtaposes synthetic and raw materials, the virtual gaze with organic imprints, and satellite imagery with dust. After a decade of activism in freshwater awareness and then learning about river rituals of her Thai heritage, water became an increasing focus. Graf considers sediment as an embodiment of our ancestral past and the river’s delta as a repository of collected histories.

Thailand’s Chao Phraya watershed, where her ancestors’ ashes have been released, is a point of departure for Graf. She looks to the natural world for understanding the foundations of life and the essence of existence. Her work delves through the meaning of familial roots, reimagining humanity’s relationship to earth, ruminating on our connection to place, the location of identity, and the paradox of presence.

Handmade paper and the processes involved in its creation, reflect the connection of ancestral heritage to the land, the role of paper in bridging gaps between social strata, and paper’s capacity to record time, ecology and civilizations. Intersecting the endangered practices of paper, print and book making, the work of Jaz Graf functions to support future sustainability of cultural heritage and natural resources. Juxtaposing representations of the actual and the virtual, bridging ancient tradition with a contemporary art framework, Graf’s multifaceted practice celebrates hybrid modes of being and alterity.

Selected Works