National Museum of Women in the Arts selected Livaudais for ‘Women to Watch’ exhibit

Joli Livaudais with her installation of paper beetles on display in the Windgate Center.

Joli Livaudais, assistant professor of photography at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, is someone to keep an eye on in the art world. The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) has selected Livaudais as a featured artist in the “Paper Routes-Women to Watch 2020” exhibition series premiering Oct. 8 in Washington, D.C. 

Showcasing contemporary artists, the sixth installment of NMWA’s “Women to Watch” exhibition series features up-and-coming or underrepresented artists. This year’s theme, “Paper Routes,” presents the versatility of paper, not merely as a support for drawings, prints, and photographs, but as a rewarding medium itself. NMWA is the only major museum in the world dedicated solely to championing women through the arts.

Livaudais will exhibit her installation, “All That I Love,” at NMWA from Oct. 8 to Jan. 18, 2021. The installation consists of 1,500 origami paper beetles of varying sizes made of aluminum, pigment ink, resin, and mulberry paper that will be installed floor to ceiling by the artist.

“I am a professor of photography, so each of those beetles is folded from a photograph,” Livaudais said. “The idea is that each image captures a special moment of beauty, something that you care about deeply. That’s why the installation is called ‘All That I Love.’ Some of the images are recruited from other artists. When people send me images, it’s of things they love, like their kids.”

For Livaudais, creating the art installation has been a meditative process that allows her to appreciate the important things in life. She was inspired to create beetles from Egyptian mythology, where the scarab beetle is a symbol of the transformation of death.

“This art piece is about transformation and appreciating the beauty in life before it ends,” Livaudais said. “Each photograph represents a precious moment of something that you love and find beautiful, but you can’t hang on to it forever. You fold it up into a beetle and then let it go, because that’s the way life works.”

The international exhibition features artists by participating committees in Argentina, Arizona, Arkansas, northern and southern California, Canada, Chile, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Texas, and the United Kingdom.

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