CALL Legacy Specialists Julia Rooney
Legacy Specialist with CALL Artist Tara Sabharwal
Can you share what you and your CALL Artist were able to accomplish through the CALL program?
We created a data inventory system that organized over 700 works by Tara from the 1970s to the present. We assigned each work an inventory number, and also noted its title, date, medium, size, documentation type, and provenance. The data inventory corresponds to the image inventory we created, which contains digital files (thumbnails, JPEGs and/or TIFFs), many of which were digitized from 35mm slides. Using the computer inventory numbers, we labeled each physical work in the studio, and organized them into archival storage boxes, flat files and/or polyethylene envelopes, making them easy to find and stay protected. From this thorough organization, we were able to begin designing a website that presents the range and depth of Tara's nearly 40-year career.
Can you give us a sense of how the CALL experience may have influenced you and your work as an artist?
Working with Tara has influenced me both creatively and professionally. Most inspiring has been seeing the evolution of her subject matter, use of materials, and source material as she traveled between England, India and the United States. Meanwhile, going through Tara's 35mm slides, photographs, and notes -- starting from her college years -- has motivated me to be more responsible in documenting my work early on. I have come to realize that organizing the work is not just about preservation, space management and one's presentation of it to the world. It is also a creative impetus: a way to see current projects in relationship to previous work.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of this work?
Getting to know Tara through her work and our weekly conversations has been the most rewarding part. While we are both proud of the studio work we accomplished, the relationship we developed feels really special, and something that will extend beyond the CALL program.
What has been most difficult?
Prioritization of tasks was an ongoing and challenging process. Each week we had to evaluate what needed our attention most based on deadlines, scheduling, work flow or simply our desire/interest. Balancing short vs. long-term goals required consistent evaluation.
What do you recommend to anyone assisting an artist in the career documentation process?
I think it's important to always be thinking about the work in relationship to the artist's life. Since CALL work is by nature meticulous and detail-oriented, it can be easy to lose sight of the work's context. But it is the stories the artist might remember, and the work's place in the arc of his or her life that is at the heart of the CALL work and partnership.