ziREjA is an award-winning photographer and performance artist, based in Tenerife. Through multidisciplinary activist art projects she tackles socio-political issues surrounding the environment, mass consumption, climate change and gender.
ziREjA began her career as a professional actress and dancer, performing in the theatre. She then translated the concept of using her body as a tool for social change into contemporary art.
During a residency in Ghana, from 2011-2012, she collaborated on the eco art installation and project ‘Inside the Moskito Net’. Touring to Holland and Spain, this powerful project raised awareness about the issues caused by waste and landfills, as well as disease prevention, embedded within the symbol of the net.
ziREjA is one of a number of contemporary eco artists who use their practice to comment on local and global environmental situations, using art as a means for activism.
As part of her environmental photography work, she has reformed found objects of waste, recycling them through the powerful aesthetic of trash art.
In 2013 she received an award from the European Environment Agency for ‘The Waste Coast’: photographs, and an accompanying installation, pictured the harmful waste which collects on the shores of places like Spain. In other series, such as ‘iTrash’, the moving human body is positioned against scenes of accumulated waste, highlighting our complicity.
Gender constructs and voyeurism are a recurrent theme throughout her environmental portrait photography and dance photography. In series such as ‘La maga vestida’ staged photographs picture the female form in prettified, traditional folkloric dress adorning mountains of garbage.
Her more recent performance piece ‘uN pACKAGING’ also shows her using art as a form of protest. Selected for a residence at the Teatro Leal in Tenerife, it highlights the excess of containers and packaging that we use, and that consume and cover our bodies. ‘Happy Trashmas. Where do your Christmas presents go?’ invites viewers to reflect on the waste that the compulsion of buying so many presents can lead to.
There is a potency and immediacy to ziREjA’s performance art which creates a relationship between artist and audience, making visible our contribution to excessive waste, which is often removed from view.
Performance and street art interventions have been exhibited both locally and internationally.
The urban installation ‘The Garbage returns to the city’ created a monument-like construction of garbage, with 6,500 kg of trash being dumped as if at a landfill, onto the street, at the NATURMAN Festival in Tenerife in 2014. In 2017 she performed as part of TEDxLaLaguna in Tenerife, unpackaging herself from a costume created from waste.
Within an increasingly virtual world, she has also begun to connect contemporary art and social media, moving her trash art message online to invoke reactions and actions in digital viewers. In 2016, she started the hashtag #YesWeTrash on Instagram, inviting users to collaborate by reporting waste problems across the planet in their own images, with more than 2,000 uploaded to date.
ziREjA is co-founder of the collaborative art project ‘Acción Experimental’, which provides an experimental space for artists who value the body as a tool of action. From this, she was able to set up the group ‘¡Qué te performen!’, performing with them in ‘OverExposed’, a show exploring overexposure to new technologies, in the Auditorio de Tenerife and TEA space of the Arts. She has also developed a collaborative and pioneering art project with other artists and TEA Space of the Arts, during which she will take contemporary art to six public schools on Tenerife, breaking down the traditional boundaries between children, museums and art. Through international exhibitions and residencies ziREjA continues to perform and share her activist message on a global stage.
ZiREjA collaborator, art-mediator, researcher and communication facilitator specialized in Movement Arts