Mikela Thrasher is an artist and educator living in Washington DC. Originally from Baltimore, she attended the Maryland Institute College of Art, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Arts in Teaching. Her art practice is an ever-evolving reflection of the relationship between the self and the natural world. Working primarily with 35mm film, she creates fragments and abstracted visual representations of place. The specific symbolic vocabulary of palm trees, mountains, and plants is referential to paradise. Through sequencing, she re-contextualizes place-based photography, entering the language of dreams, and the worlds in between reality and imagination. In her writing, she continually alludes to the body as place. She invokes the work of applied Buddhist teacher and writer Thich Nhat Hahn to call upon the concept of interconnectedness of the body to the surrounding world.
As an educator, she specializes in working with middle school students and has experience teaching non-traditional learners. She has taught overage, under-credited middle schoolers and students with learning disabilities, including ADHD, anxiety, and ASD. In 2017, she attended a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar for teachers in Helena MT, thematically called Re-Enchanting Nature. This learning experience emphasized how personal narrative and storytelling allows people to develop deep meaning and connection with places. She has since taught units in which students create personal narratives and learn perceptual skills grounded in the study of nature, landscape, perspective, and cultural history.
Throughout her years as a classroom teacher, she has prompted her students to have critical discourse using the study of semiotics as a foundation for learning. She utilizes media and imagery from visual cultural to inform her curriculum and build relevant and engaging units. She believes that all learning must first come from the self and therefore, invites her students to share their lived experiences through the process of making art.
She can be contacted at email@example.com