Chaveli Sifre is a Puerto Rican artist based in Berlin. Sifre’s work centers healing practices, the sense of smell, botany, and the belief systems constructed around them. Interested in intersensorial entanglement as knowledge production, she creates installations, scents, paintings, and performative rituals that recover the long-lost intersections between science, spirituality, perfumery, medicine, magic, and care.

Sifre has exhibited in TBA21’s Meandering, Cordova; Welt ohne Außen, Martin Gropius Bau; Perspektive Wechseln, Hamburger Bahnhof; Natur Nach Humboldt, Botanisches Garten, Berlin; Welt Bilder, Salon Sophie Charlotte, Berlin; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, San Juan; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan; Herbaria, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuale, Habana, Cuba; Bienal Tropical del Caribe, I &II Puerto Rico;  Las Antillas para los Antillanos, LACE, Los Angeles; Josh Lilley Gallery, London

The artist co-curated Peripheral Intuitions, a two-week-long program focused on the regenerative power of nightlife, and co-founded La Escuela del Olor, an artistic collective charting the olfactory landscape of the Caribbean.

Chaveli Sifre’s practice merges installations, scents, objects, paintings, interventions, and performative rituals enacted by people from her close personal life. Care, soft power, and ancestral Caribbean wisdom are used as starting points to offer a critical reflection on inherited colonial hierarchies through syncretic depictions that revert that which is considered holy, worthy, or significant. This intersensorial approach aims to highlight that emotions and knowledge are not mutually exclusive, while understanding their correlation as an active part of a decolonizing practice.

Through her scent-based works, Sifre brings smells of the Caribbean into the exhibition arena. Smells rising directly from folk medicine are a key element of her practice which explores access to health and its symbiotic relationship with believe in puertorican history.

“My practice has centered on rehabilitating our sense perception, approaching the senses as a political, cultural and personal arena that exposes us to multiple worlds and facilitates the process of dis-othering. Our lives have become immersed in communication and consumption technologies that alienate us from direct, somatic experiences. Art offers us a space to reintegrate our senses and connect with ideas, materials and with one another. By mindfully approaching these sensual encounters we rediscover dormant ways to to appreciate the world around us, generating spaces of kinship, collective reflection and new appreciations.”

© Chaveli Sifre