Reception and Live Performance: Saturday October 14, 4:30-6:30 pm
On View: September 20–October 26, 2023
Harwood Art Center is pleased to announce our annual capstone program Bridge: Art & Social Justice (A & S J), featuring exhibitions by our program Artist In Residence, Rica Maestas. They have been working in the A & S J Residency Studio At Harwood Art Center since March 2023. Their exhibition We Are. Here Together. is an interactive, multi-gallery exhibition of sculpture, sound, text, and performance.
Through two distinct but related bodies of work, the overall exhibition playfully explores the idea of community (and perhaps hybridity) between people and plants. In the Front Gallery, a pair of whimsical yucca forms invite viewers to sit together and contemplate rotating statements on a LED message board. These sculptures and statements originated in collaboration with a group of sixteen second and third grade students during a two-week summer workshop at Harwood Art Center led by Maestas. Designed to follow the interests of the students while imparting valuable lessons on local ecology and working with natural and recycled materials, the resulting artworks emphasize the specialness of being alive together in the same space and time.
The Hall gallery also contains a collaborative body of work centering yucca, this time adding voices of other desert plants and local artists into the conversation. Developed by Maestas and fellow Queer and BIPOC artists Hank Cooper, Pico del Hierro Villa, mk, and Gabriel Maestas, this installation presents a cast of uncanny hybrid plant-people ruminating on their own experiences and interacting with each other. Discussing their lived experiences ranging from pleasure to intergenerational trauma and climate grief, these strange characters are voiced by tonal sound developed by Ryan Parker and “translated” on LED message boards.
Emphasizing our closeness with and interdependence on the broader natural world, We Are. Here Together. illustrates the potential for healing and solidarity when we reenvision our relationships with the world around us.