In Terrestrial Bodies, Juana Valdes considers Ptolemy’s research, expanding two-dimensional works into large installations that map a connection between the history of trade and the displacement of various cultures and people.
Incorporating early cartographies and mass-produced collectible ceramic objects – sourced by Valdes from around the world– the exhibition echoes the current trend of globalization, free markets and labor production while questioning the history of colonization. By placing these found ceramic objects in dialogue with grid-like two dimensional works, Valdes alludes to physical bodies being moved and displaced due to the explorations and discoveries of the New World.
Terrestrial Bodies draws on the artists’ personal experience of migration as an Afro-Cuban American. Born in Cabañas, Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Valdes migrated to the United States in 1971. She completed her M.F.A. in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in 1993 and her B.F.A. in Sculpture at Parsons School of Design in 1991. Valdes is an awardee of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the National Association of Latinos Arts and Cultures, the Ellies Creative Award and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Valdes is an Associate professor in the Department of Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Cuban Legacy Gallery