Hannah Chalew


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Hannah Chalew
About the author

Hannah Chalew is an artist living in New Orleans. She was raised in the city and returned after graduating from Brandeis University with a B.A. in the Fine Arts. She is one of the founders of T-Lot, a studio and installation space for emerging artists in the St. Claude Arts District. She works from direct observation to bring the experience of place to the viewer, with a focus on the post-Katrina landscape emptied of human life. My work explores the continual tension between humans and nature. Since moving back home to New Orleans after going away for college, I have been particularly struck by the open spaces left in transition that are so prevalent in the post-Katrina landscape. The number of blighted and abandoned spaces has increased exponentially since before the storm, and though these places seem to be frozen in time they actually display an incredible amount of change as they are being reclaimed by local flora. I work from direct observation to get the most truth and create a map of time as I document the experience of being in these environments. Emptied of human life, these vistas speak for their inhabitants or lack thereof. I invite the viewer to examine these sights that seem to exist outside the fast pace of contemporary living. Time beats differently in these zones as nature slowly creeps and begins to reclaim the human-made. Often overlooked, these environments become statements about the inextricable link between culture and nature, our past and inevitably our future. Her work has been featured in Art Voices, The Oxford American, Pelican Bomb, Satellite Magazine, Designtripper, NOLA Defender, and the Times-Picayune. Hannah has exhibited work at Octavia Gallery, the Acadiana Center for the Arts, and T-Lot, the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, and the Asheville Art Museum among numerous others.