"Con Estas Letras", Cardboard, ink, collage, foamcore, approx. 24" x 24" x 24"
I was asked to participate in a show on the island of Tenerife, in Spain. The show's title is "Las fronteras morales: Nosotros y Ellos". The idea was to have artists create art that reflects on the concept of borders and frontiers, and what divides the "Us" from the "Them". I think about this subject quite a bit, so I enjoyed taking part. The process of putting the final art together and some pictures from the recent opening are below:
What was unique about the show is that each artist was mailed a cardboard box in the mail. We were asked to put the box together and place our artwork within this box. When we were done, we were to ship the box back to Spain.
Visitors to the gallery would look at the artwork through a hole in the side of the box. In the hole we were to place a peephole viewer which was included. I put the box together and looked through. It made it an interesting challenge to try to figure out the imagery that would go inside.
For the last 28 years, since I left Cuba, I have been corresponding with my family and friends through letters. For a long time, no one sent them by mail, because they were opened and read by state security people in Cuba. They were usually hand delivered by other friends that had visited the island. Most of the letters were about longing to see each other, request for medicine, births, marriages, and deaths in the family. For me, it was always very hard to read these letters. The difference of my situation here vs. their situation over there was right there on a piece of paper. While thinking about what to do for this project, I quickly did the schematic diagram drawing at the top left. I decided to do drawings of friends and family over their own letters and place the sheets within the box. I glued some to foamcore supports so there would be some space between them. For all of them to read at a similar size when looking through the peep hole, the sizes were varied. The drawings in the front are much smaller than the ones in the back.
Once all the sheets were glued to the wall and the foamcore supports were set, I closed up the box, and off to Spain it went.
Here are some pictures from the opening. All of the boxes were sent in by artists from around the globe, each with their own interpretation of the theme. I didn't make it to the show, but was glad to get some pictures to get an idea of how it all came together.
Here and below are some scans of the ink drawings up close. I did them without photo reference, just going by memories and impressions. I also worked within and around some of the words that I found while drawing.
"Babel" by Carlos Zamora
This is the piece that my friend Carlos Zamora sent in. I have no idea how those dominoes traveled. Since the show is somewhat portable, it might travel to other places. A write-up (in Spanish) is here. Thanks to Carlos and Rafael García for asking me to contribute. Muchas gracias!