María Paloma Velázquez was TAKU's spring time intern 2021. Get to know María a bit better!

Who are you?

My name is María Paloma Velázquez (my preferred pronouns are she/her), and I professionally define myself as an art worker and researcher. I've been doing an internship with TAKU for the past months, while simultaneously finishing my studies at Aalto University's Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art Master's programme. I am originally from Hungary, and partially Cuban, so I carry a culturally mixed heritage.

What has been your career path like?

I studied Photography for my undergraduate degree in the United Kingdom, so visual arts has been my main path. Afterwards, I worked in a contemporary art gallery, as well as a design studio in Budapest for a few years. When I moved to Finland to continue my academic education, my focus was more on curatorial practices and art writing, as I have worked in exhibition production earlier.

However, as I have started to take on some active roles in the student community (including being a board member of TOKYO student association), I have discovered my drive for advocacy and diversity work. These experiences led me to TAKU as well, as professional wellbeing and fair working conditions in the arts are areas that I now wish to dedicate more of my work to.

What drew you to the arts and culture?

I was fortunate to grow up in an environment surrounded by art, so I knew I wanted to be in the creative fields from an early age, I just didn't know what medium suited my practice the most.

Through my studies and work experiences I have realized the power that arts and culture have in cultivating knowledge and facilitating wellbeing, which is what I would like to further promote and enable access to through my privileges.

What is the best thing about your job?

The hope that it may support or empower others, and the connections it can create between people, which allows me to learn about and from their perspectives.

For example, through the projects I was involved in at TAKU I had a chance to pay attention to members of the foreign-born or English-speaking arts community in Finland and the challenges professionals face in not only finding suitable work opportunities but being treated equally in them. As devastating as it is to be faced with that, it also gave me the opportunity to work with the team in voicing these issues and finding ways to support them.

What do you dream about in your job?

A more inclusive society that operates on supporting its members and cherishing their differing skills and knowledges. The arts and culture sector is just slices in that cake, so I wouldn't isolate it as a distinct case. I think that this kind of intersectional approach could lead to this field to be recognized for its infinite possibilities.

Fun fact about yourself you would like to share?

I am most happy when I can live by a waterfront.

We will introduce our members and other interesting persons from arts and culture sector in TAKU's career story -series.

María Paloma Velázquez