Julia Cseko

Umbrella Art Center Artcubator Residency

September 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021


Csekö was born in Colorado and grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is currently a visiting artist at Emerson College for the Summer of 2020 and has a public mural on view, commissioned by the Boston Downtown BID, and created in partnership with the Boston Literary District. In 2018 Csekö was invited to the Assets for Artists MassMoCA residency program where she further investigated her multi-disciplinary practice as a sculptor, painter, and performer. In 2010, she moved to Boston, Massachusetts to pursue an MFA at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University

Her most recent work gravitates around social experiments grounded on a paradigm shift from competitive to collaborative mindset in social actions and interactions. Csekö is the recipient of a 2016 Walter Feldman Fellowship, awarded by the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston. She divides her time between being a Practicing Artist and an Art Administrator, and is currently working as an Adjunct at Montserrat College of Art.

Artist Statement

Having grown up in Brazil, my work is deeply influenced by the colorful Brazilian culture and landscapes, in the same measure that it is marked by the country’s violent and convoluted history, and the recent spiraling degradation of its environment, natural resources, democracy and politics.  Since my BFA I have learned to select the media for each of my pieces to best establish a dialog with the space/audience I am addressing. I strive to engage viewers ranging from art enthusiasts to those who have never been exposed to contemporary art.

Through the use of written word, I am able to disseminate and preserve ideas — of social, philosophical and emotional importance — that would otherwise remain in the privacy of my mind’s internal dialog. My performances are inspired by the notion of the ancient Greek Agora, where performer and viewer, creation and consumption occupy the same space. Be it through the familiarity of the symbols I chose to work with, the use of language, or tactile and sensorial experiences, I strive to seduce and hold the spectator’s gaze onto the intricacies of collaboration, love, justice, and identity in the era of instant communication. My work as both an artist and a curator is designed to create Temporary Autonomous Zones* where critical thinking and constructive criticism are encouraged and amplified.

By experiencing the present with a sense of wonder we become able to achieve a shift in paradigm, propelled to construct a future grounded in collaboration, tolerance, diversity, fraternity, equality, and beauty.

I am fueled by the thought that fatalism can be overcome and that alternatives abound.

I am still trying to figure out which box I should check when asked who I am, and I know I am NOT alone. No matter the story behind a person's gaze, I strive to reach out to them. I want to propose instead of scream against (but I'll scream my head off if the time is right). I want people to respond as much as I want them to ask.

I want a future where no one will dare say, "it has always been this way" to justify the unthinkable.

Residency Goals

I would like to focus on my text-based paintings and the color studies that are inherent to their creation. Honoring my multidisciplinary practice, I plan to work on several projects and media, such as performances for the camera and sculptural work (fiber arts). The immersive nature of this residency will be a unique opportunity to focus on art making and will fuel my studio practice. In addition, I look forward to meeting The Umbrella artists and community members, to new friendships and networking opportunities.

Read the article on Julia Csekö by Margie Weeks