The beauty of collaboration: Felipe Mujica at Pérez Art Museum Miami
Discover new works by the artist created with artisans from the Miccosukee tribe in South Florida
Chilean artist Felipe Mujica created more than 20 new fabric panels – or curtains, as he describes them, for The Swaying Motion on the Bank of the River Falls, currently on view at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). “One of the most important aspects of the show is its collaborative nature,” says curator Jennifer Inacio. Mujica often seeks to collaborate with communities that have their own unique influences to create his work – as seen for example at the Bienal Femsa in Zacatecas, Mexico (2018) and the 32nd edition of the Bienal de São Paulo (2016).
The exhibition at PAMM was created in collaboration with artisans from the Miccosukee tribe, including patchwork artist Khadijah Cypress – founder of the community centre on the reservation that is located in the heart of the Everglades in Miami-Dade County. At the community centre, Cypress teaches patchwork techniques and promotes the tribe’s traditional crafts. After two years of collaborating, Cypress’s patterns and techniques are visible within the lines of the geometric abstract patterns that comprise Mujica’s works currently installed at PAMM.
Discover more about the exhibition and its significance to the Native American community in Miami here:
Felipe Mujica: The Swaying Motion on the Bank of the River Falls
Bridging art, architecture, design, and social engagement, Felipe Mujica (b. 1974, Santiago, Chile) creates fabric panels featuring geometric designs that function as sculptural objects and spatial interventions. This material has been Mujica’s primary medium for 15 years, allowing him to create opportunities for collaboration with other artists and communities by interweaving his designs with their technical skills.
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The Swaying Motion on the Bank of the River Falls is Mujica’s first solo museum presentation in the United States. Newly commissioned by Pérez Art Museum Miami, the project consists of 24 fabric panels displayed in this gallery as well as outdoors near the museum’s main entrance and in the lobby. Produced in collaboration with Miccosukee artisan Khadijah Cypress, the works presented here combine Mujica’s geometric designs with traditional Miccosukee patterns. The abstracted imagery that comprises the patchwork in the panels references natural elements prominent in the community’s environment—the Florida Everglades—such as rain, fire, lightning, birds, and turtles. Merging individual and collective labor, as well as contemporary and traditional approaches to artistic production, the exhibition builds dialogues between different contexts while fostering connections and relationships with Native American communities of South Florida. Mujica creates moments of engagement, in which visitors can become collaborators, as well, either by directly interacting with the layout of the panels hung horizontally or simply by examining how the air circulation created by their bodies slowly shifts the works hung in the center of the space, offering an ever-changing experience.
Felipe Mujica: The Swaying Motion on the Bank of the River Falls is organized by PAMM Associate Curator Jennifer Inacio. The exhibition is presented with generous support from Karen H. Bechtel and William M. Osborne.
Statement by Felipe Mujica:
For the production of my Curtains, I have worked and collaborated with different people, under different circumstances, and in different contexts. With Myriam, a seamstress in Santiago, Chile. With artist friend Johanna in New York. With a textile studio ran only by men in Beijing. With Laura and Nancy at Ecuacortinas, a family-run upholstery company en Cuenca, Ecuador. With Mrs. Marie and Mrs. Cyrila, two seniors who I taught weekly for about 4 years as part of an Art Program run by the New York City Housing Authority. With Dora, a Mayan woman I met in a market, and with Olga, an expert in natural pigment dyes who was recommended, in Antigua, Guatemala. With Valentina y Alex, two young designers, members of the collective Plató, in São Paulo. With the great women of de Associação das Bordadeiras do Jardim Conceição, an embroidery cooperative in the outskirts of São Paulo. With Alejandra, a friend and Argentinean immigrant based in Queens, New York. With Fayza and Harbia, two middle eastern immigrants in Stavanger, Norway. With the women of all ages and levels of experience from the open workshop, I did in Gothenburg. With Marcos and Lucia, a couple of Wixárika artisans from Zacatecas, Mexico. With Damaris and Juan Carlos, two artisans from the town of Sanchez, in the Dominican Republic. By distance with Ernesto, a clothing manufacturer in Managua, Nicaragua. With Khadijah Cypress, a Miccosukee artisan from South Florida. From all these people, I have learned. Thanks to all of them the Curtains have grown. Thanks to their knowledge and skills, and the exchange produced between them and my work, the Curtains exist as they are.