Black Art at Night: NAT Chantel

I'thandi Munro
Posted on February 16th, 2021
by I'thandi Munro

It's me, I'thandi, to bring you another blog about an artist whose work has a focus on healing.

Let's talk about NAT Chantel. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature, was chosen for the VANS Mentorship Program, the Summer Professional Development Residency with NSCCD (2018), and the Centre For Art Tapes Media Scholarship Program (2018-2019.) She is a Nova Scotia Talent Trust scholarship recipient (2017 & 2018) and a member of Black Artists Network of Nova Scotia. She is a Certified Yoga Teacher and Reiki Master focusing on energy systems and sound healing. She continues to study and learn new techniques in many forms such as craft, art, yoga, and reiki. She is primarily a self-taught artist and her practice uses elements of sound, performance, craft, delicacy of movement, repetitive processes, memory, personal history, language, and land displacement to heal and "reclaim the body and voice".

NAT performed her first Nocturne piece with us during the 2019 festival Nomadic Reciprocity, curated by Raven Davis. This piece was titled Black Soap, it examined the erasure of self in relation to human interaction, and the diminished sense of belonging that occurs as a result. This was an interactive performance that used handmade African Black Soap to cover the body which simultaneously made it visible. This daily wash routine has great healing properties, which was the basis of her concept.

Black Soap
NAT Chantel performing in Black Soap during Nocturne 2018: Nomadic Reciprocity. (photo by Topher And Rae Studios)

She participated again in Nocturne with The Silence and Sound After during the 2019 festival Scaffold, curated by Tori Fleming. This was a vocal sound performance that examined what is housed in the body after structures are built, and populations take claim and displace bodies of people.

The Silence And Sound After
NAT Chantel and attendees participating in The Silence And Sound After in Nocturne 2019: Scaffold (photo by Kylee Nunn)

During this same festival NAT was a panelist on How We Build: On Craft and Blackness, which was presented by Visual Arts News in partnership with MSVU and Nocturne.

How We Build: On Craft And Blackness
Painting by Letitia Fraser

This talk was held at NSCAD's Art Bar +Projects and also featured artists Letitia Fraser, Sobaz Benjamin, Juanita Peters and was coordinated and moderated by Francesca Ekwuyasi. Based on curator Pamela Edmond’s quote “I am no longer interested in a seat at the table. I now want to build my own table” this panel focused on the concept of Black artists creating work for a Black audience.

You can find her on Instagram at @nat.chantelle, and her website at www.natchantel.com.