Tanya J. Matthews is an ethnobotanist, multi-media artist, and filmmaker currently residing in Los Angeles.  Of El Salvadoran-Mayan and African-American descent, Tanya has spent the past decade piecing together a sense of belonging in the African diaspora. Her devotion to repairing fragmented historical narratives by venturing to cultural heritage sites fostered an ability to listen to the silences of ephemera and spectral presences held within the vaults of special collections archives. Inspired to dive deeper, she went on to study Freedom Dreams and Ancestral Healing in the African Diaspora during her MVA. 

Her work is aimed at the question:  what is the relationship between the speaking and non-speaking body? Documenting connections between nature, the ancestors, and the present moment. 
Weaving traditional knowledge and modern technology, her mission is to illuminate and protect the wonders of the ancient and natural world. She builds upon an array of earth based skills and practices in herbalism and ecology, apiology and beekeeping, and ceramic sculpture art.  Her work contributes to environmental sciences with a focus on estuarine biodiversity and coastal wetland conservation.  With her scientific-based explorative nature, Tanya is an avid researcher whose creative endeavors connect the micro-macro worlds to nourish our awareness and appreciation for natural resource stewardship, care, and preservation.

Her practice is grounded in the mission to create equity in environmental education, access to natural medicine, and social justice, with Black and Brown feminist thought at the forefront.

Tanya is driven by the desire to decolonize alternative medicine through the inquiry into Herbalism and Ecology in the African Diaspora, exploring intersections of freedom, social justice, and science, engaging in art as resistance.   Utilizing a multi-modal and multi-media method, Tanya actively develops creative projects, community workshops and programming, recipe consultations, and ethnographic journalism. 
Tanya is a compelling storyteller and has participated in international campaigns with National Geographic Society, Special Collections at the College of Charleston, and Mediterranean Shipping Company.  ​​​​​​​
Tanya completed her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, with double minors in Anthropology and Hospitality Tourism Management at the College of Charleston, and holds a Master of Arts in Visual Anthropology from the University of Southern California. She is a certified herbalist of Medicinal Plants from Cornell University. 
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