Residency at FoAM and nadine
Along with little Dante, Daniela Porras and Luis Canseco are two visual artists based in Oaxaca, Mexico, where they also run an afternoon art school for children up to ten years old. An exhibition of Luis’s work is currently on show at the Musee de los Pintores Oaxaquenos. Both Daniela and Luis actively participated and exhibited at the Fiesta del Maiz y Maguey in Oaxaca in November 2012. As family in residence at FoAM Brussels as the EITC project draws to a close, they explore the cultural impact of the meeting of two continents – Europe and the Americas – nowhere more pronounced than in the contrast between the cities of Oaxaca and Brussels, despite the ongoing process of globalisation.
When I received the invitation to collaborate with project EITC , the words ART, ENVIRONMENT and SCIENCE rang a bell.
This was the opportunity to create a chimera; the development of new art pieces based on the current problems of the future of corn and maguey in Mexico, and our meaning of "home" in the unstable society we live in. So we immerse ourselves in scientific and historical aspects that complemented its importance and meaning.
The interesting thing about these two years of work in the making of EITC is that it has been a very thorough process, teamwork has been wonderful, and also building such a network of diverse proposals with the same axis. The seminars and talks allowed the speech to be created by the reaction of each of the artists involved. It was a continuous learning in the technical side and in the concept development. The future of these plants and the changes that take place in our homes are uncertain so it is ones work to raise awareness of the present situation to adjust the imbalance while we motion
The research during the stay in Brussels consisted on understanding that a residency is not only a place were an artist (out of his natural environment) stays for a period of time.
Our residence was foremost an experience that transcended the walls that provide us shelter. It expanded our universe and the way we perceive everyday life.
I managed to take up new challenges within a constantly changing context in which quick responses were required. I believe that one of the pillars of this model is the creation and maintenance of exchange networks and collaboration with different people with different cultures that marked clearly the different contributions to my vision.
The installation " home sweet home " describes how my home was transformed in a matter of weeks , because I traveled not only as an artist but at the same time as a mother and wife. My everyday life turned into a art piece.
The piece consists of a native blouse from Oaxaca called "huipil" that I wear regularly. Its rectangular shape allowed me to make a poetic action were I unfolded and unstitch the "huipil" as a symbol of mental and emotional openness to the present circumstances. The aim of reflecting on the theme of home, allowed every spectator to be involved and participate in the piece. When taking time to write a letter that details the emotions towards our homes, each of us create a very different an unique meaning.
My pieces are always looking for a playful dialogue with a ludic outcome. So I also created a card memory game as a small travel journal with almost imperceptible details of the city that become important when linking cultures and strengthening ties. Differences and similarities are the two most important motifs in the watercolors on each card of the game and they depict everyday scenes of Mexico and Oaxaca. In summary this project achieves its goals by changing the vision of an artist from Oaxaca immersed in the cosmopolitan Brussels.
Legacy is a poetic project where a machete is decontextualized and reused with an aesthetic and artistic meaning.
Time plays a fundamental role in the installation since in both objects: framework and machete, one can see life represented by lines made with the body in movement. There are links between concepts like time, life, strength, body, wealth, struggle and search.
These connections and the machete movement create the feeling of cutting, and in turn it makes the machete as if it were a pencil drawing strokes caused by its glaze graphite powder, that is how subtle or complex compositions are achieved with tremendous pictorial value.
The use of the graphite in the installation creates a clearer atmosphere with traces of time, this is how the object is highlighted by enhancing the beauty of its details.
The absence of color makes a neutral and honest harmony without any conceptual or visual distractions that could change the piece if color was used.
Furthermore the antique frame with nineteenth-century details, frames the piece and breaks entirely with the rustic appearance of the machete, making a contrast of two objects separated by utility and beauty, a critique of the society of the rich and the poor, in which the bourgeoisie never would stand out the peasant class.
The history of the machete is another important factor for contemplation and understanding of the work from its manufacture in the U.S. -approximately in the 40s- and the fact that it took a journey to Mexico City to Oaxaca where it stayed more than half a century in constant use, (as a record says) in which metaphor is played between life, history and being.
Attrition is noticeable on the handle as its shape deteriorates and was replaced before by a handmade piece of material out of context as it is a car tire. These strange details make a deeper meaning of this simple tool that happens to be something ordinary, into a piece of contemplation that puts emphasis over time and over legacy.