Your Interview Gabriela Tapia Lara
Introduce yourself (name, company, position, country) and tell us how you got into lighting design (including education/qualifications).
My name is Gabriela Tapia Lara, I’m 26 years old, and I’m from Bolivia, proudly Latina. I started working in lighting when I was studying at the National Theater School of Santa Cruz - Bolivia, where I had the opportunity to receive specialized training workshops in stage design-lighting with teachers from France and Brazil. Once I graduated and thanks to the agreements to my National Theater School, I completed a training as a Teacher in Stage Management with teachers from the ENSATT of Lyon-France. This was very important to me because it allowed me to meet a great Master who helped me a lot, and also made me carry out an exchange in the ENSATT lighting department.
Tell us about your work – is there a specific type of project you like to work on or an area you specialise in and why?
Now I am working on exploring light as my own language, as an artistic tool for social criticism through installations, urban interventions, etc. Along these lines, in this past April 2020, I was going to inaugurate "En Llamas", an Interactive Installation about the Chiquitanía and Amazon fires that occurred in my country in 2019. This project was suspended by Covid-19.
What project are you most proud of and why?
In 2019 I was hired to create, design and perform the lights and stage for “Grito Mundo”, a FemPower music festival, where I was recognized as the only woman in Bolivia who is entirely dedicated to lighting design right now.
What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?
The biggest challenge is probably the machismo and patriarchal prejudices. In Bolivia, machismo is very strong, and I have experienced it in many dimensions, from my family who thinks that this is not work for a woman, to co-workers. I feel that this diminished, ‘cause my colleagues now knows that I have no problem with loading equipment, climbing stairs, getting dirty, etc. This is something that we have all won and makes it visible that women can dedicate ourselves to this, to think, design, create and work in lighting, and that this it isn’t a job only for men.
How does light inspire you?
For me, light is one of the first languages we experience as human beings. During pregnancy, the stimuli we receive are sound and light. Light is creation, it’s what not only allows us to see shapes, colors, volumes, but also allows us to feel, live, and experience the world as we know it.
What is your message for other Women In Lighting?
In Bolivia there are very few women who are dedicated to lighting-design. It is important to make ourselves visible so that we can show the new generations of women that they can be and work as women in lighting.
Gabriela Tapia Lara
“Light is creation, it’s what not only allows us to see shapes, colors, volumes, but also allows us to feel, live, and experience the world as we know it.”