Emma Akmakdjian

Everything we make uses something that already exists. As an artist living in the climate crisis, it is my responsibility to mitigate wasteful materiality. Artists, activists, and environmental stewards are a woven tapestry of cultural restoration.

About Emma

Emma Akmakdjian is an installation artist that collaborates with scientists to translate processes of complex ecosystems, scientific laws, and object personifications in her woven art. Her creative research draws comparisons between systems of the body and the environment to understand how we personify place and develop identity through our interactions with non- human nature.

Emma received her Bachelor of Arts from California State University Channel Islands and has studied at L’Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze in Florence, Italy. She resides in Southern California where she collaborates with scientists and cross-cultural communities to bridge Science and Art.

“My creative research draws comparisons between systems, primarily the body and the environment, to understand how we personify place and develop identity through our interactions with non-human nature.

My artworks use discarded artifacts that include old fishing ropes, nets, tires, and plastics, which I harvest from the landscape. I investigate the sequestration of natural resources and the interwoven dynamics of globalized ocean economics that permeate our daily customs. These projects take shape in videos, performances, and woven installations that re-evaluate our everyday habits of cooking, fishing, cleaning, weaving, and the subsequent roles we play inside various ecosystems.

Observing how American Indian cultures co-exist with nature inspires my inquiry of how other contemporary cultures create a divide between human and non-human nature. I juxtapose these environmental epistemologies in my woven installation “Anthropocene Kelp Forest” which mediates between the data of a marine debris researcher and a kelp forest biologist who study the marine ecosystem of the California Channel Islands. Each slender “Kelp blade” is woven with fraying nylon ropes that I collect during beach clean-ups with scientists on Santa Rosa Island.

I create these woven sculptures to immerse viewers in an aquatic environment that may otherwise be left unseen. In the act of putting people into the Kelp Forest, I hope to ignite relationships between human culture and algae. My installation art acts as a bridge between scientific data, history of natural resource usage, and interdisciplinary perspectives to foster a holistic dialogue of human conditions, expressed culture, adaptation, and Oceanic climate crisis.”

– Emma Akmakdjian


On display for one week beginning 1.1.21
Helms Design Center at 8745 Washington Boulevard 

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All artwork is copyrighted work of the artist. All rights reserved. Images not to be used without permission.