<< back to archives

Lichen Wigs: The New Eco-Vanity Accessory Natasha Lavdovsky

Fri. November 8th 2019 - Fri. November 29th 2019 *Please Note* Gallery viewing by appointment is welcome and encouraged. We are run and kept open entirely by the effort of volunteer labor. If you know exactly when you are going to come by the exhibition space and want to ensure we will be open, please send us an email or facebook message before visiting the gallery so we can confirm that we will have someone there to meet you.
The lichen wig provides a false hope for the existence of a truly eco-friendly consumer vanity product. Once an object becomes commodified, can it be truly sustainable? Can we accurately quantify the ecological value of natural resources used in consumer production within a holistic pricing model? Is consumer sustainability a fantasy, accessible only to the privileged?
Lichen Wigs is a satirical eco-boutique, welcoming the viewer to interact with the installation as though they were in a high-end consumer retail store.
Though these wigs have been ethically crafted, it would be unethical to mass-produce them because many lichens species are threatened, not possible to harvest sustainably in large quantities, and difficult to preserve, or transplant. This project was developed from my determination to establish an artistic methodology that would cause minimal harm to the environment. I collected these lichens from fallen trees, or after they blew to the ground during storms, where they would not otherwise survive. Even with the goal of creating a project consistent with my ideals of non-destructive peaceful coexistence, the act of displaying these lichen wigs in an exhibition required me to incorporate materials and processes that compromised the integrity of my initial intention.

Natasha Lavdovsky was born in Victoria, BC, and grew up in the suburbs of Saanich (traditional Tsawout First Nations unceded territory). She attended Princeton University, where she studied Art, Geology, Oceanography, and Environmental Studies, receiving a B.A. in Studio Art & Art History in 2009. Natasha returned to the West Coast in 2011, to pursue a self-lead investigation into how to live off the land. While living in Haida Gwaii, she gained a deeper understanding of the importance of decolonization and environmental stewardship, which has greatly informed her artistic practice.
Natasha is currently living by the river, in Tiohtià-ke (Montreal, Quebec), pursuing an MFA in Intermedia, at Concordia University.


the fifty fifty arts collective is comprised of individuals living and working on unceded and occupied First Nations Territories, specifically the lands of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, as well as the W̱SÁNEĆ, Sc'ianew and T'Souke First Nations.

The programming space itself is situated on Songhees and Esquimalt Territory but engages with individuals and communities across Turtle Island.

As a collective we endeavour to deepen our own understandings of how we are implicated in the history and in the present ongoing project of settler colonialism. As members of the fifty fifty arts collective we continually responsibilize ourselves to the complex kind of space that is the fifty fifty which hosts and facilitates the dissemination of the ideas and work of others.

Accessibility Information:
The entrance to the fifty fifty arts collective is wheelchair accessible, however the door is not automatic and we have no washrooms on site. A more comprehensive statement regarding our accessibility is in progress, specific questions or requests regarding accessibility can be sent to [email protected]