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Exhibits & Museums

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Move Over! Think! Act! Be Free! Motus: A Mosaic Exhibit by Mexican Artist Aida Valencia

On 16, Dec 2011 | 11 Comments | In Exhibits & Museums | By man-admin

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.

Renacer (Reborn) 2011  24″w  Cactus wood, smalti, gold smalti, recycled glass

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!

While it would be easy to credit Renancer as Valencia’s homage to the iconic two-headed Aztec serpent of her cultural heritage (both are intricately tiled representations of a snake on a wood base) . . .

. . . 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.

Cielo Rojo (Red Sky)  8′ x 6′  Aluminum, recycled aluminum cans, smalti, transmission motor
Photo courtesy Patty Roa

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.

Equilibrio (Equilibrium), 2011  2’w x 3’h  Stained glass, newspaper

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.

Vital (Vital) 2011, 36″w x 72″h.  Smalti, stained glass, vitreous glass

In a third diptych, Creación Cosmica(Cosmic Creation) Valencia takes a look at the movement of the cosmos.

 Creación Cosmica (Cosmic Creation), 2011  8’w x 4’h Stained glass, smalti, natural stones.
Judging strictly just the photos, we’d have to say that this is our favorite work in the show.  We like Valencia’s vision of an undulating, textured Milky Way against a stacatto inky black void.

Her circular smalti stars and planets are carried on a river of precisely cut white stained glass placed on a rippling surface.

These circles of smalti are a recurring element in many of the pieces in this exhibit, including Cielo Rojo above.  Valencia says this about her vision for this work:

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 

In “Motus”, it is abundantly clear that Valencia passionately believes in the ability of mankind to transform everything around us into something better.  What a lovely, lovely Muse to follow.
Enjoy –  Nancie
UPDATE:  Ms. Valencia has now opened a gallery in San Diego featuring the work of Baja California artists.  To learn more, go here:
All photography by Alberto Pickering Brunel unless otherwise noted
“Motus”  November 11, 2011 – January 30, 2012
Institute of Culture, Tijuana Mexico

Share this article


  1. Nancie Mills Pipgras

    A traveling exhibition sounds very exciting, Aida. Much luck to you and let us know what happens! Nancie

  2. aidavalencia

    Thanks so so much for you comments! I really appreciate them and will continue to work as much as i can!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. aidavalencia

    thank so so much for all the comments we are trying to make this exhibition a traveling one from tijuana to mexico City and beyond!

  4. DoreenA

    Hello Aida, Congratulations on your exhibition. I was thrilled and excitede for you when I read and saw the art posted here. You are one of my heroes and you inspire so many of us who share the passion for mosaics and the making of them. I hope I get to see you soon..Happy and Prosperous Neew Year! Hugs and kisses, Doreen

  5. Nancie Mills Pipgras

    Kat, you pay high compliments to Aida! She is an original with a totally authentic voice

  6. Kat Hammontré

    Aida's works are magnificent and this sort of art form can only come from within. Her art is beautiful and so is she. If I could, I would fill my house with the mosaic art of Aida Valencia.

  7. Nancie Mills Pipgras

    Thank you for the insightful comment, Sandi. Sounds like you know the lady.

  8. Sandi Watson

    Aida's work is like a chunk of her life, looking at it is the same as talking to her, a collection of puncuations, peppered with color and texture, all the time moving at the speed of light.

  9. Nancie Mills Pipgras

    There are so many more works in this exhibit – they fill a very large space. Valencia use a huge range of materials and styles. She's incredibly prolific.

  10. Maureen

    What a marvelous artist! Must be a great show to see in person.

  11. sfmosaic

    Viva México and Viva Aida Valencia! her work is exuberant, and her vision of a better world in all it's cosmic beauty always comes through. thanks for sharing her work here!
    Lillian Sizemore

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