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September 2021 - Revisiting "No Tengan Miedo" after historic Cuban protests

Museum’s 2001 #SOSCuba art on exhibit at UM Wynwood Gallery

"NO TENGAN MIEDO" 20 YEARS LATER

MUSEUM'S 2001 #SOSCUBA ART ON EXHIBIT AT UM WYNWOOD GALLERY

Xavier Cortada, “Fearscape | Artículo XIII | Alumbron” assemblages, 2001 (in the permanent collection of the Museum of Art and Design, Miami, FL).

In 2001, Xavier Cortada created “No Tengan Miedo,” a solo show exploring the impact of Pope John Paul II‘s historic visit to Cuba and Cortada’s own accounts of what he saw while there. “No Tengan Miedo” was originally exhibited at the Latin American Art Museum in Miami, but now its title piece (a painting of the traveling pontiff), twenty-two assemblages, and six “Estampita series” paintings are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Art and Design Miami-Dade College, Miami, FL. All works from this exhibit can be seen online here.

After Cuba’s historic protests this summer where thousands took to the streets to demand freedom, patria y vida (homeland and life), Cortada feels that John Paul II’s message, “no tengan miedo (have no fear),” still resonates. Twenty years later, and in commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Cortada presents No Tengan Miedo,” a virtual exhibition, and his triptych “Fearscape | Artículo XIII | Alumbron” at the University of Miami 2021 Faculty Exhibition at the UM Wynwood Gallery from Oct. 6 to Nov. 9, 2021.

“Back then, these works heralded the changes in Cuban civil society being ushered in by the 1998 papal visit,” said Cortada. “In the ensuing two decades, my optimism for a free Cuba waned… that is, until the #PatriaYVida protests a short few months ago: ¡Viva Cuba Libre!”

VILLAGE OF PALMETTO BAY

LAUNCHES FLOWER FORCE

RESIDENTS INVITED TO BRING PUBLIC ART TO THEIR FRONT YARDS

Xavier Cortada, “Flower Force,” hand-painted ceramic and glass mosaic, 2021.

Residents of Palmetto Bay are activating a public art sculpture and taking part in an ecological reforestation effort, bringing wildflower habitats back to pollinators, one yard at a time.

Using his newest public art piece in the Village of Palmetto Bay as the heart of the effort, Cortada is inviting 200 of his Palmetto Bay neighbors to join his participatory eco-art project, “Flower Force,” on October 10 as founding members. Each participant is committing to planting a wildflower garden along with a ceramic sculpture like those of the public art piece in their yard. The one-of-a-kind socially engaged art commission innovates public art by blurring the lines between public and private spheres. Learn more about Flower Force here.

By planting wildflowers in residential nodes, the conservation effort will activate a sculpture and engender discussions in the public sphere aimed at saving pollinators, transforming lawns into gardens that conserve water, decreasing the use of pesticides, and protecting ecosystems across our community. Through this process, the ecological restoration effort will radiate from the flower sphere at the traffic circle in Palmetto Bay and extend to the rest of the state.

ART AT THE U:

CONSTITUTION (IS AN ACTION VERB)

Professor of Practice at the University of Miami School of Law Xavier Cortada joined the Miami Law community in celebration of Constitution Day the week of Sept. 13-17. Cortada created “Constitution (is an action verb)” to encourage participants to animate democracy by protecting and defending their constitution.  The work builds upon his action verb series, where the artist has used chalk and board to conjugate nouns like PeaceJustice, and Democracy.  By asking individuals to conjugate Constitution as if it were a verb, the artist asks them to take personal action and by conjugating the other pronouns, he asks them to engage and also hold all others accountable.

“The 4,543 words that 55 men wrote between May 25th and September 17th, 1787 guide us so that millions of individuals with different ideologies, religions, genders, backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, ethnicities, and races can engage in a society governed by the rule of law,” Cortada said.

Xavier Cortada, “Constitution (is an action verb),” chalk on blackboard, 2021.