Artist | Tutor | Inclusion advocate
Ursula Christel (BA Majors in Fine Art & Art History, DipEd) is a multidisciplinary artist - art maker, art writer, teacher, curator, and social practice artist. Born in South Africa of Irish/German descent, she immigrated to Auckland, New Zealand in 1996. As a member of the University of Kwazulu-Natal Alumni, Ursula is well travelled, and maintains a wide network of academics and artists around the world.
Ursula is particularly drawn to collaborative projects with fellow creatives and diverse communities. Projects often combine art making, environmentalism, social & political activism, community organising and cross-cultural networking. This participatory art tends to flourish outside the gallery system.
In 2016, she represented Yllwbro - an anonymous sibling duo - for the New Perspectives show at Artspace in Auckland and is now honoured to be included in the Mokopōpaki whānau. Mokopōpaki is a unique art-promoting entity based in Auckland City.
Ursula has three sons, one of whom lives with a rare disorder called Angelman syndrome. Being personally involved in the disability sector in New Zealand for over 27 years has made her acutely aware of disability as a social construct that (even in the 21st century) causes a large percentage of the population to remain alienated, every single day of their lives.
Ursula is an advocate for inclusion in its broadest sense - from human rights to environmental conservation, and the holistic practice of permaculture.
'of phantom bridges and spirit birds' 2017
Inclusion, social cohesion, interconnectedness, and environmental concerns are topics that strongly influence my concepts and creative output. I work mostly as a social practice artist - addressing these topics through research, activism, networking and collaborations; using art to help foster an understanding of each other and of our environment.