Hope is on the way...
As the holiday season peaks and this peculiar year reaches its end, my spirit returns to recent memories of introspection, connection with Nature, beauty, and hope.
Last year, an amazing art residency in Reykjavik, Iceland, opened the door to a series of fundamental events in my art and my life. I like to think of that trip as an introspective journey mediated by the Icelandic landscape, culture, and history.
Before the trip, my immediate objective for the residency was to explore themes of identity and translate them into my artwork. Once at the residency, in its early days, I developed a series called “Fragmentation” (not shown), which was conceived during my examination of the question of identity/self where I explored the influence of family/society mandates in our choices and our existential dilemmas, using my own experience as a framework. I wrote poems to incorporate in my pieces, inspired by my reflections on the behaviors I adopted in my early life, when my essence was adapting to external impositions whilst trying to preserve itself.
As I traveled the insular Icelandic nation, Nature's beauty was stunning, and I became obsessed with how ever-changing the landscape was and how immediate its topography was in our everyday life. I found myself intertwining explorations of my introspection on identity with themes of nature and climate change. The pieces directly related to the climate crisis have been the subject of previous blog posts and some of them are currently being shown at the virtual ”How Do We Relate to the Climate Crisis? exhibit.
Two of those pieces are “The First Island” and "The Surreal Island”, which -- in the style of antique maps -- depict territories explored (exploited?). In each of these pieces, I wrote captions that when read side-by-side evoke ironic scenarios of human influence on the environment and allude to our potential extinction. Below are the texts written on both paintings (in italics).
“The First Island”
The first island and the first exploration - Circa 800
While the first exploration to reach the gold that we speculated to find in the caverns of the first island failed due to the climate and lack of appropriate equipment, eventually we succeeded in our mission, surpassing all our wildest expectations.
“The Surreal Island”
The surreal island and the critical mission - Circa 2100
While the exploration to reach potable water in the caverns of the last island failed due to climate conditions, eventually we succeeded in our search, but the water was never enough to return safely to the expedition base camp.
While the message of these artworks may be pessimistic, a new US presidency that prioritizes the climate crisis, and the wealth of the organizations and individuals who work incessantly to fight our global demise, brings me hope that humans are still capable of cooperating to reverse and contain the climate crisis. The recent panel of climate experts and advocates that accompanied the ”How Do We Relate to the Climate Crisis? exhibit is just one of the many forums that helps bring awareness and actions to our lives. If you have not already, you still have time to watch the panel here. I invite you to check out the organizations represented in the panel, and I encourage you to aid them by contributing financially or with your time. The new year brings hope that we can have a better future, thanks to the hard work of many individuals that collectively (or in isolation) do their part. Hope for the climate crisis and, of course, for the pandemic one, especially thanks to scientists, doctors, and health care. Let’s keep up the great work!
Image: The First Island (detail), mixed media on canvas paper, 16 x 12 inches, available for purchase. Currently on view at the How Do We Relate to the Climate Crisis? exhibit at The Gallery of the Multicultural Arts Center on view until December 31st. If you are interested in this or other paintings, or to ask me for commissions, please contact me here.
Image: The Surreal Island (detail), mixed media on canvas paper, 16 x 12 inches, available for purchase. Currently on view at the How Do We Relate to the Climate Crisis? exhibit at The Gallery of the Multicultural Arts Center on view until December 31st. If you are interested in this or other paintings, or to ask me for commissions, please contact me here.