30 December 2007

Caribbean Artist Roy Lawaetz at the Florence Biennale: Taino Inspiration

Roy Lawaetz, whose Modular Trinagular System was featured in The CAC Review in 2002, recently exhibited his work at the Florence Biennale.

Featured in Florence, his “Global Warming Series” assimilates pre-Columbian tribal beliefs to highlight a modern day topic. As presented in his brochure for the exhibition, his work is inspired by the Taino zemi or “spirit stone” and in this series his works refer to indigenous Caribbean people who were not polluters but rather worshippers of nature. The Taino Indians practiced a belief model recognizing Nature Deities such as weather gods.

In his interactive piece “Atabey, Fertility Goddess”, this artwork dramatically presents global temperature shifts in innovative display. The melting phenomenon posed by climate crisis is shown in uncompromising terms with virtual dripping water from ice inside a cone. As in Eugene Ionesco’s absurd play where mushrooms spring up all over, it is as if global warming with a melting ice pack has drifted so far as to affect the artist’s own canvas. The artist technically demonstrates how the triangle motif of the zemi stone can be removed from its archaeological categories for re-emphasis on modern day environmental concerns. By focusing on the fertility beliefs of the Taino he reconstructs and re-invents to provide a pictorial modern day narrative that draws from their old cultural heritage practices. The Taino’s own belief that certain zemies could provide adequate water and the good things in life is combined in Atabey, Fertility Goddess. This interactive presentation succeeds in blending modern day technology and ancient tribal belief with the artist’s
own environmental irony.

For more, please see his lavishly beautiful brochure at:
See also:

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