(this piece is still in process, images belong to the 1st drawing of the project)
What is Paraiso / Paradise if not an exclusive walled garden for the chosen ones?.
This series of drawings, sculptures and others rethinks the space of exclusivity and the intersection between fascism and invisibilization in the context of the Spanish position in the European war against migrants and refugees. Here the drawings work as a visibilizer agent of the process of silence and what hides behind it.
Featuring a multitude of characters, Paradise tells several stories simultaneously, In this crowd, figures of resistance and hope emerged against and beyond the fence, designed as a reference to the wall separating Spain and Morocco, and a symbol of exclusivity and exclusion.
The first large drawing of the series, also called Paraiso, is exhibited at Manif d'Art, the Biennial of Quebec from February to May 2017. The other pieces of the series will be completed after research on-site.
The artist thanks the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council of the Arts for their support towards different steps of creating Paraiso. Thanks to David Moffette and everyone who is participating with their conversations, observations and friendship in making this project possible. Thank you to Salma AA for the pictures and insightful critiques.
Paraiso, 2017 (detail)
Paraiso, 2017 (detail)
One of my first memories as a child is to be part of a demonstration.
Since then (I was 2) I have been fascinated by demonstrations as marching social gatherings with a political purpose. There are thousands of stories contained in one single demonstration, and at the same time, a demonstration reacts like a big crawling monster (note monster and demonstration come from the same root) that takes over city streets and has its own intelligence. This monster is made of thousands of bodies, of people, of stories interacting and coming together with a sense of purpose. These bodies are sometimes forced to react together against police brutality, which is one of the legitimized form of violence created by modern states. People are hurt, arrested, killed, imprisoned, traumatized but somewhere else another demonstration starts. Demonstrations have the history of being the marching words of those who are often denied an equal voice.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseila investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.
Los Fantasmas is an illustrated narration dealing with the laws of silence and the ways in which silenced histories emerge and survive, in spite of the powers in place that work to erase the facts and events of human history. Los Fantasmas is the story of hundreds of mass graves in Spain. But it can also be the story of many other lands and people who are fighting to keep history/present/memory/identity alive against criminal systems in power.
Los Fantasmas is a 16m long visual storytelling and an exploration of the silenced contemporary history of Spain. In 2010, experts calculated that more than 200,000 bodies had been buried in mass graves during the Spanish war (1936-1939) and the years of Franco’s fascist dictatorship (1939-1975). These same international experts considered Spain to have the second highest number of mass graves in the world. These are the bodies and civilians who fought fascism or who were on the way of the fascist troops. Their deaths-bodies-possessions-lives-families-suffering have never been acknowledged by the dictator regime nor the ¨democratic¨ governments in place, nor the ¨democratic¨ laws. Their fight against fascism inspire now the fight of hundreds of thousands of people in Spain who are fighting the government fascist policies and advocating for the recovering of this silenced history.
This project received the support of Canada Council for the Arts.
Pictures, Christian Bujold, Galerie La Centrale Powerhouse, Montreal 2013
Genderpoo is an ongoing project that uses bathroom signs forms to question society standards of "normal" and society imposed categories. Genderpoo started in 2008 as a project challenging the social division of man/woman, by using restrooms as metaphors of the social western binary system of gender. Very soon after the beginning, it evolved into a more ambitious and complex project where a multiplicity of non "normal" conforming experiences are shown, spreading the question on "normality" to race, ability, sexual orientation, political views, life experiences, etc., and also imaginary characters. Genderpoo is an immersive installation composed by an ongoing number of vector drawings (more than 80 at the moment) covering the walls of washrooms and other exhibitions spaces, inviting the audience to think (and in some cases create their own signs) about who they are and how they belong or not into society.
A Waste of Time
On 2015 I received the Artscape Award during the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. Along with a residency at Gibraltar Point, I was invited to do a show at Artscape Youngplace. Out of stress and anxiety, with a mountain of debts and projects that were never enough to cover the debts, the new series A Waste of Time was born. On these drawings wasting time and making mistakes is at the root of the process of creation. Setting aside the seriousness of serious art, I propose a tribute to art as a waste of time, as a playful process of creation where accidents become the best findings. This notions challenges ideas of productivity, efficiency, and goal-oriented neoliberal structures to put an emphasis on the healthy habit of wasting time. As many of my favourite projects, these drawings were done while sharing space/energy with an inspiring artist and friend
I met my dear friend and ceramic artist Wai-Yant Li (from Creations Li) one fall evening 2012 in my living room in Toronto. Since then, other than becoming very close friends, we have collaborated in different projects mixing ceramics and drawing. Our first collaboration The Forest of Broken Hearts was exhibited at Le Petit Versailles, a beautiful hidden queer garden in the East End (New York), 2013. During a 1 month residency at Wai-Yant's beautiful studio, we created a series of Extinct Animals plates depicting animals that have been extincted in the last century. Our latest collaboration was the production of the Cloud of Sardines that is part of the show The Demonstration. Along with an amazing group of 7 non-ceramists, we worked together in producing 400 porcelain sardines.
In 2011, my dear friend Eva H. came from Spain to Montreal to work on the translation in Spanish and production of Llueven Queers, a graphic novel compiling my comics originally made in English and French.
After several discussions, we decided to name the book Llueven Queers, and I organized a tour around Spain through contacts in feminist, queer and art communities. For 1 month I traveled around Spain and introduced the book along with local activists and artists. The second edition of the book is now sold out.
Comics for Social Change /Research
Comics and graphic novels are accessible ways of sharing information and opening discussions with a diversity of communities and individuals.
As an illustrator I have been working with researchers and social justice agencies in creating graphic novels to make their work accessible. With Dr. Lisbeth Berbary I am working on a series of zines depicting her research on Bisexual Experience in Ontario. I am also currently working with OCASI in a graphic novel illustrating stories of sexual violence written by newcomer and refugee women in Ontario.
Pez Luna / Moonfish Theatre Collective
After discovering our common passion for Spanish queer poet Federico Garcia Lorca, performer and researcher Paulie McDermid and I decided to create Pez Luna / Moonfish Collective where we explore the different ways that drag performance, live drawing and puppets can come together to narrate a story. Thanks to the creative support of Aluna Theatre we have been able to create short plays and we are currently working on a full-length play thank to the financial support of Ontario Arts Council and the valuable direction of Bea Pizano, from Aluna Theatre.