Indigenous Ingenuity

María Magdalena Campos-Pons gets respect from the Bass

The inexorable tides of change are the mother tongue of María Magdalena Campos-Pons’s evocative work. Throughout her career, the Afro-Cuban artist has inventively translated the ordinary materials, rituals, and traditions of life into riveting visual and sensory statements. “Everything Is Separated by Water,” opening at 10:00 a.m. at the Bass Museum of Art, marks the first in-depth survey of her career and features 17 major works, including mixed-media installations and large-format Polaroid photographs.

The exhibit spans Campos-Pons’s production between 1990 and 2005, and explores her ancestral displacement from Africa, her self-imposed exile from Cuba, and her experience as an Afro-Cuban woman living in North America. Campos-Pons has been hailed for experimenting with media in unusual ways, often incorporating handmade elements into slick new media projects or photographs that document her adorned, costumed body during private performances. The show’s title was inspired by a piece the artist created in 1990, in which a column of water divides the image of her body and barbed wire encases each half of the figure. “I am interested in rituals and traditions, how to place them into the contemporary setting,” Campos-Pons explains. “African tradition is my everyday life experience. I don’t have to search for my roots.” The exhibit continues through November 11. Tickets cost eight dollars. Call 305-673-7530, or visit www.bassmuseum.org.
Sept. 21-Nov. 11, 10 a.m., 2007

 
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