Ursula Moira Christel, née Badstübner (previously Cranmer) b. 1961, South Africa
Artist | Tutor | Writer | Inclusion advocate
Born in Durban, South Africa of Celtic/Germanic descent. Fluent in English, German and Afrikaans.
Immigrated to New Zealand in 1996
Participates in the arts sector as an independent Art professional - as artist, art writer, tutor, curator, photographer
Identifies as a social practice artist - particularly drawn to collaborative projects with fellow creatives and diverse communities. Combines art making, installations, social and political activism, community organizing and environmentalism. This participatory art often flourishes outside the gallery/museum system.
'My art embraces the fluidity between everyday life and Art - creating
connections between academic disciplines and the diversity of the human
condition with a primary focus on interconnectedness and inclusion.
Collaborations with liked-minded artists and marginalised groups, and
community projects that inspire new possibilities and activate more
inclusive communities, are where my heart lies. Art is life | Life is art."
Ursula is a member of the University of Kwazulu-Natal Alumni, is well travelled, and maintains a wide network of academics and artists around the world. In 2016 she came to represent Yllwbro (an anonymous sibling duo) for the New Perspectives show at Artspace in Auckland and is honoured to be part of the Mokopōpaki whānau (wider family). Mokopōpaki is a unique art-promoting entity based in Auckland, New Zealand.
Ursula has three sons; one of whom has a rare condition called Angelman syndrome. Being personally involved in the disability sector in New Zealand for over 25 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. She is an advocate for inclusion and human rights, focusing on accessibility for all.
Interconnectedness, environmental concerns, community, diversity and inclusion are topics that strongly influence her concepts and creative output. Ursula works mostly as a social practice artist - addressing these topics through research, networking, helping people express themselves and find their voice - or by bringing people together, using art to help foster an understanding of each other.
Ursula is actively involved in several non-profit organisations - for environmental conservation, museums, the arts, and the disability sector. She is also an experienced art teacher and offers inclusive art workshops and classes, providing support for adults and children with a range of different abilities.
'of phantom bridges and spirit birds' 2017