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Reconnecting with Janice Mascarenhas: Braiding Art, Culture and Community
NCO 027

N: Hi Janice! It's a pleasure to have this interview with you. You have been part of our community since the inception of our app Newlife ... you've come so far since then!

How are you doing, and what have you been working on recently?

J: Hi everyone! I am still working with AD, but now in different positions. However, hairstyling is still my passion. So when I'm in Brazil, I have more opportunities in this market, and when I'm around the world, I do more creative directing and research.

N: AI has become a part of your creative practice. How do you envision this new medium shaping the future of the fashion and art industries?

J: I have used AI as a tool for research. Now, with the hype in Brazil, some brands have invited me to include it in their identity. But it's not actually an integral part of my creative practice.

I hope this new medium can grow more and more to revolutionize the market of electronic equipment, not just laptops but also cameras, sewing machines, drones, etc.

N: Your journey into the spotlight began in 2021 when you won the Dazed Prize, which funded a project of your choice. Now that you've completed your film "Anatomia de Diaspora," how does it feel to have reached this milestone, and what is your fondest memory from the process?

J: For sure, the part where I traveled between America, Europe, and Africa unifying the narrative around the globe is my favorite memory. I feel proud of myself for building something memorable for my team and my people. And not just for the internet. I really understand the importance of this platform, and I love the universe around here.

But I learned so much about life between the web and the real world. We build the internet, but sometimes we forget the people behind it.

N: Over the years, your work has evolved to include sound and immersive experiences. Could you elaborate on how you integrate sound with hair sculptures and the interplay between these two elements in your art?

J: I see hair as a brain performance, and my ancestors gave me the heritage of the afro-memory. My people were specialists in art in all mediums, and I try every day to show it to people. We can have music without a beat, we can have a canvas without tints, or we can be the real art piece every day without being in a museum. I like to make people aware of this narrative. 

N: Your foray into the crypto world has involved creating NFT collections, particularly with your AI-generated digital works. What are your thoughts on how cryptocurrencies can empower artists from underrepresented regions to access funds and opportunities without being constrained by their geographical location?

J: I don't see NFT just as a way to make money, but as a way to make your algorithm work in your favor. I mean, the internet is here to be the memory of our generation. If you can't tell your narrative on this platform, you might not be considered real in the future.

Just see how people search on Google to prove their words. The money could just be a positive consequence for artists who don't have the opportunity to thrive in the traditional art market.

N: Janice, your passion and sincerity in creating art is truly inspiring. As you continue to grow, what does success mean to you, and how do you envision achieving happiness in your artistic journey?

J: I have to say my work is a gift from my past. Some people know that my grandfather was never appreciated as a painter.

Success for me today is the evidence of historical repair.

I will have happiness in my artistic journey when I can see people like me growing without difficulty, without the need to humiliate themselves for the market. I know this is a big dream, but I still have faith in this world.

All images courtesy of Janice Mascarenhas.
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