Virtual Studio Visit

IIn these times of Covid-19 when studio visits seem like a thing of the past, this is a virtual studio space for discovery. Like while visiting an artist studio, this space is full of gestures and ideas that are slow cooking, slowly gathering depth of flavour. This is a virtual space for curators & friends to dream possibilities and offer their knowledge.

-Current Projects-

Toxic Waves. Research Fellowship at SECP & Despite Extractivism Exhibition

January 25, 2019, Córrego do Feijão iron ore mine, east of BrumadinhoMinas GeraisBrazil. A tailings dam belonging to Brazil’s Vale, the world’s largest iron ore producer collapses and tones of toxic mudflow are released into the valley killing 272 people. The remains of Eliane, the sister of engineer Josiane Melo, who works for Vale mining company, were found 68 days after the catastrophe. Eliane was five months pregnant and had just started working for Vale thanks to a recommendation from her sister.

Prosecutors said in a statement that there was a relationship of “pressure, collusion, rewards and conflict of interest between Vale and the german company TÜV SÜD”. They alleged that Vale hid information about the dam’s instability to avoid hurting the company’s reputation, and TÜV SÜD issued reports saying it was safe.

The rest is history, 272 people dead.

Exploring Empathy – mind and body must be incorporated into ritual systems in order to facilitate healing, as well as transform and motivate the individual and the group towards a different behaviour, a much more empathetic one with nature

I have now been awarded a Visiting Fellowship at SECP, University of Brighton, to work on this project.

“A Visiting Fellow in SECP for the next few months, Arabel Lebrusan is a Spanish-born artist working in sculpture, drawing, jewellery, and site-specific interventions. Focusing on materials and material culture – such as metal from knives confiscated by police, or mercury used in small-scale gold mining – her work investigates wider issues of power relationships, exploitation and inequality, and her artworks function as social commentary.
Arabel is currently exploring notions of extractivism, ecofeminism and ecological grief. During this fellowship, she will research how art-making – drawing, sculpturing, performing, moving, acting – can help us engage with ecological and social tragedies happening thousands of miles away. That is, objects and materials have the potential to hold memories (Object Reminiscence framework), or be “vibrant matter” (see Jane Bennet, 2010, “Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things”) and in both perspectives, handling the material plays a crucial role in unlocking those narratives.
Arabel asks: can art-making activate our empathy at a deeper level than our rational understanding of events, and urge us to act?


Toxic Waves I @ Brighton CCA

28 Sep 2021

4.00 – 6.00pm Book Now

As part of her research fellowship at the University of Brighton, Arabel Lebrusan is inviting guests to take part in a drawing performance at Dorset Place, both as physical attendees of the gallery space and via an open Zoom call.

To the beat of a metronome with 272 different movements, the participant will be invited to draw waves, using charcoal and the movement of their body. Whilst 5-10 of these participants will do so in the gallery space, the rest will join remotely via Zoom. The collaborative performance will last around seven minutes, with additional time allocated beforehand to set up and cover explanations, and afterwards to discuss the performance as a group.



Update | Visiting Research Fellow Arabel Lebrusan – Toxic Waves workshop, September 2021

… Arabel felt that the workshop opened several themes. For instance, people’s perception of disasters/crimes changed due to the focused activity, as time slows down through the movement and there is time to think and reflect. Secondly, participants reported that they felt the performance became a kind of ‘collective grieving,’ which was an unexpected outcome. Thirdly, the performance had a powerful symbolic aspect, as these wave represented many other waves in the world.


Toxic Waves II @ Despite Extractivism Online Exhibition

Despite Extractivism assembles expressions of care, creativity and community in relation to diverse extractive contexts. The exhibition is both an exploration of extractivism, and of the already-existing alternatives. Collectively, the works in this exhibition illuminate and explore ways of questioning, subverting and resisting the violent logics and impacts of extractivism. We ask:

How do communities and creatives (struggle to) cultivate care for nature and for each other despite extractivism

How can sites of extraction be a fertile ground for alternatives?  

How do artistic interventions help foster new sensibilities and solidarities with distanced extractive contexts?

Like weeds growing through the cracks in concrete, and in their flourishing slowly forcing the cracks to widen, how do the artworks brought together in Despite Extractivism suggest other ways of being in the world?



Despite Extractivism is part of the ongoing ‘Extracting Us’ collective journey exploring the  diverse, uneven but sometimes connected ways in which resource extraction also extracts from communities. The collective is connected to the  EU-funded WEGO-ITN network for Feminist Political Ecology research, which informs our theoretical approach, and curatorial principles and practices. We also work with and receive support from ONCA, a Brighton based arts charity that bridges social and environmental justice issues with creativity, and with the research Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics (SECP) based at the University of Brighton.

-Studio Practice-

Electrical Apron

Around 1200 copper components, copper cable, fused plug.

Symbols: Traditional Viana’s heart – Knives featuring Laidlomycin & Tylosin, antibiotic formulas to treat beef cattle and chicken respectively.

Waximus Propietary Formulae. Wax apple

Disaster capitalism. Politics of food. Ecological grief. Feminism

“Be fruitful and multiply; and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”…“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.” The Bible. Old testament. Genesis 1:28
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” The Bible. Old testament. Genesis 3:6. The Fall

“For many years now, giant retailers have been putting local farmers out of business in their drive to increase profits. Policies such as flying English apples to South Africa to be waxed and polished before returning to the supermarkets to be sold as “local” English produce are commonplace in supermarkets and mock the “food miles” debate”. The Guardian
“The materials used to wax produce depend to some extent on regulations in the country of production and/or export. Both natural waxes (carnauba, shellac, or resin and petroleum-based waxes (usually proprietary formulae) are used, and often more than one wax is combined to create the desired properties for the fruit or vegetable being treated. Wax may be applied in a volatile petroleum-based solvent but is now more commonly applied via a water-based emulsion. Blended paraffin waxes applied as an oil or paste are often used on vegetables. ” Wikipedia

mercury & silver/ Mercury & gold amalgam explorations

Supported by Professor Mark P Hector
Dean of Dentistry and Boyd Professor of Dental Surgery. School of Dentistry
University of Dundee. Scotland

“Much of the mercury released into the environment is the result of small-scale and artisanal gold mining (ASGM). Mercury used in the gold separation process (known as “amalgamation”) results in the discharge of an estimated 1,000 tons of mercury annually, representing about 30% of the world’s anthropogenic mercury releases according to United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)… Once mercury pollution reaches waterways, it is transform into methylmercury—one of the most toxic organic compounds and a powerful neurotoxin. According to UNIDO, as much as 95 percent of all mercury used in ASGM mining is released into the environment.”

Global Mercury Program

Tiles, made out of broken crockery plaster and ash

‘Domestic Homicides’ is a wall piece of 81 tiles made from broken crockery that are rooted in plaster with concrete. They represent women deaths from domestic crime from year 2019 to April 2020. As an indexical sign, the broken plates are a signifier of being abused. Each tile is made of different broken china with varying designs to personify the uniqueness of the individual victims. Emotionally, the paradoxical beauty of sharp edges reinforces a sense of malice while serving as a reminder of the marks that trauma leaves on one’s psyche.

Reading & Listening


The Octopus in Love. Chus Martínez

e-flux . Journal #55 – May 2014

Read here +

Interim Report on the Connections between Colonialism and Properties now in the Care of the National Trust, Including Links with Historic Slavery

National Trust

Read here +

The patterning Instinct

Jeremy Lunt

Read here +

The great women artists podcast

Listen here +

Momo, Michael Ende

Read here +

The energy‐extractives nexus and the just transition. Conflict minerals.

Read here +

About intangible cultural heritage. UNESCO

Read here +

Minería Artesanal Ancestral Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de Colombia (MIAA)/Artisanal mining and intangible cultural heritage in Colombia.

Read here +

Talking & Brainstorming With

Neila Castillo. Antropologist. Colombia. “Artisanal mining and intangible cultural heritage in Colombia.”

David Hargreaves. Chartered Mining Engineer, Fellow of the Geological Society and the Institute of Mining, Minerals and Materials, and a member of the Royal Institution. He was a representative to the House of Commons Select Committee on Strategically Important Metals.

Marlene Melo, Josy Melo, Joanna Melo, sisters of Eliane Melo, killed in the dam disaster in Brazil (see project above).

We have created a chat to see how they can support me with knowledge and materials.

Quiet Down There. Art organisation.

Facilitating conversations with Women Support Centre Surrey and Brighton Women’s Centre.

For the “Blunt blades Exchange” project. See above for info on the project.

Charlie Levine. Curator.

Mentoring support

Art, Ethics and Social Change.

Online Short Course. Central Saint Martins. Sara Shamsavari

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