It is a snake, that timeless symbol of power, resurrection and rebirth that has center stage position on the title panel for Aida Valencia’s current exhibit at the Institute for Culture in Tijuana, Mexico.
Entitled Renacer (Reborn) this reptile serves as a perfect introduction to this collection of works that is all about how human beings chose to respond to what Valencia says is the forward movement of mankind in the universe. The word motus is Latin for “motion” and here the word serves as Valencia’s manifesto to “Move over! Think! Act! Be free! Live life! Say good bye to routine!”
The mosaic Renacer is also Valencia as artist in a nutshell. Here are the vibrant colors of her Mexican cultural heritage combined with her signature youthful exuberance and the thoughtful use of organic elements in telling a visual story. Says the artist:
The gold, red and amber colors are very important because the red is fire, the amber is love and the gold is the light we need to force our light and love to do everything!
. . . we think that would be a mistake. Valencia’s serpent is all about her muse motus. Renancer is a great mascot for the artful playground that Valencia has created at the Institute of Culture where exhibit goers are invited to shed their every day lives–or skins–to move forward and live life to its fullest and in doing so, make the world a better place.. Here is how Valencia speaks of her inspiration for the exhibit:
The day of the opening, November 11, 2011 was for some one of the important days of humanity. We have the opportunity to change the course of our world. All around the world, people prayed and united to embrace the light of the dawn on that special day.
Suspended from the ceiling, the kinetic sculpture Cielo Rojo (above) does appear to dominate the exhibit space. Valencia designed this piece so that as the aluminum “waves” move up and down, the smalti-covered discs dangling from them capture to the light.
Of this work, Valencia says:
I wanted the spectator to change their point of view of looking at my work by forcing them to look up. The movement of the piece is how mankind moves with the flow. Red is the heart of Humanity that can change everything!
The diptych Equilibrio(Equilibrium) is a very literal take on Valencia’s theme of motion and finding balance in one’s life.
This piece represents the balance we need between our Soul and our Body. On one side it says, “Todo el poder” or “All the power.” On the other, it says “Sabiduria” which means “Wisdom.” So, to have power, you need wisdom, but nothing comes of either Power or Wisdome if you don’t have balance in your life.
While another diptych, Vital,uses color and form to indicate what spiritual balance can look like.
In a third diptych, Creación Cosmica(Cosmic Creation) Valencia takes a look at the movement of the cosmos.
Her circular smalti stars and planets are carried on a river of precisely cut white stained glass placed on a rippling surface.
Cosmic Creation is the beginning of the Earth as we know it, The lighted piece represents the planet and how mankinds’s activities make it special in the universe.
While the lighted stone could be dismissed as a gimmick, it works for us here. Valencia’s Earth is brightly alive with all of mankind’s activities – a major theme throughout the exhibit. Valencia has also placed a nice visual counterbalance to the Earth stone with the crystal to be found in the lower right hand corner of the right panel.
There are many more works in this exhibit, including several that invite the gallery goer to initiate some “movement” of their own.
Photo courtesy Patty Roa
Institute of Culture, Tijuana Mexico