Biography

OSAIRA MUYALE
Contemporary visual artist. Aruba, 1964. Lives and works on Aruba. Concept on Work. My work is an ongoing project/process  that delves
into the psychology of repeating a mechanism, a pattern  that triggers personal memory. It invites the me and the audience to fill the gap between
visualizing a traditional dance and a dance that has no tradition. While time and space moves into my eyes, and whispers into my ears,
silence keeps me dreaming a beautiful dream.

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At the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zulia, Maracaibo, Venezuela. Group exposition. ‘Mare Nostrum’ project, was made possible through gracious support of: FE-Fundacion Eterno hosting the project Unoca – Ray-anne Hernandez, Mondriaan Fund – Birgit Donker, Coordination and research: Osaira Muyale Art Curator: Jimmy Yanez, Maczul – Lourdes Peñaranda, Art Historian: Dr. Adi Martis,  Participants: Elvis Lopez – Atelier’89, ’Magia Extraterrestre’- ‘Un mundo sin Fronteras’-‘Compra Nubes’, Glenda Heyliger – Sinfa, ’Primeros Auxilios’-‘Yo soy Sal’,Osaira Muyale/  FE, ’Un mar de suenos’- ‘a dialoque with plants ‘- A Restauration’, Ryan Oduber/ Aldea, ’Trans-Degeneracion’, Historic and critical  text: Visual artist-sculptor Rosher Acevedo Ocando, Historic and critical lecture: Juan David Bracho Rios, Photography: Gipsy Rangel.Special thanks for their unconditional support: Joost Vrieler, Rosher Acevedo Ocando, Soyde Bastidas Brito, Jimmy Yanez, Jean Carlos Leal, Hely Sandro Molero, Johan Terăn, Marilyn Fernandez, Renwick Heronimo, Jose Montilla, Familia Medina Melidoni (Empresa Campre), Jesus Rojas (Gesu Rosso).Contemporary Artists Acknowledgement: Visual artist-sculptor Rosher Acevedo Ocando, Soyde Bastidas Brito, Hugo Javier Palmar Cruz. Research archives: Fundacion Eterno Library,  Art historian Dr. Adi Martis, Juan D Bracho R, Visual artist-sculptor Rosher Acevedo Ocando, Red de Bibliotecas Publicas del Estado Falcon, Fundacion Biblioteca Oscar Beaujion Graterol Coro, Biblioteca de la Academia National dela Historia Caracas,  Arubiana Library, Biblioteca Nacional Aruba. ‘MARE NOSTRUM’ Venezuela, the Netherlands and Aruba joined by the Caribbean. Four key artists in the contemporary art scene on the island of Aruba follow the trail of water trails drawn by their Dutch and island ancestors through this mare nostrum which is the Caribbean. The compass points to the south, to the nearest route to mainland: The “little Venice” of Alonso de Ojeda, that vast and exuberant territory that is the politically convulsed Venezuela. A country in crisis as a destination seems to make any trip against the current. Winds that echo through these seas, the captivating songs of sirens, visions and deliriums of wrecked dreams and utopias do not seem to disturb the artists, Elvis López, Glenda Heyliger, Osaira Muyale and Ryan Oduber, who embark on this voyage with no corso patents in search of galleons, or rich towns and villages, or exotic goods such as spices, woods or precious metals. What they seek is to conquer the spaces of art and from there to strengthen the bonds of a historical relationship always fruitful with the other shore. The Mare Nostrum Contemporary Art Aruban exhibition at MACZUL is the first phase of a project that invites artists from Venezuela to continue this journey, and to align the dialogue of a past, present, and future time, with a story that runs through a landscape bathed by the same sun and carved by the saline winds of the Caribbean. Venezuela, the Netherlands and Aruba joined by the Caribbean. The history of relations between Venezuela and the Netherlands through the Netherlands Antilles, more specifically Aruba and Curacao, is rich in socio-economic and socio-political events of great impact in the development of this Caribbean region. Although this relationship was marked by territorial and commercial disputes, due to the strict monopoly imposed by the Spanish crown on its overseas colonies, the inhabitants of these coasts are so close to each other and with particular needs alien to the interests of the metropolis other side of the Atlantic, managed to circumvent any series of restrictions and establish their own rules outside Spanish law and its institutions, such as the feared Company Guipuzcoana for example. In this way the commercial exchange through smuggling was prosperous, dynamic and fluid, precious goods like salt, tobacco, cocoa, sugar, wood, cattle and leather, passed from one hand to another, from one coast to the other. But this did not stop there, with the smuggling of different layers of influence, each clandestine route was introducing a complex web of relationships, settled in a bidirectional process that left its imprint, since colonial times, in some cultural manifestations such as language, architecture, gastronomy, agriculture, among others. And although this type of activity extended for a long time, there was a period of pacification and regularization of commercial activity, which went through the reciprocal recognition of political sovereignty reached with the treaty of Munster or of Westphalia in 1648, and later, with the successive Bourbon reforms from the 1700 is advanced in a more modern stage in the mercantile activity of the area. With the independence and conquest of the republic these relations continued their course reaching the present time, a time full of new challenges where it becomes necessary to review these historical processes that allow to project, from the past and the present, what will be the future of these nations in open peace and development.

 


Aruba ARTNEXUS 104, March – May 2017 Aruba in Art Today.
From the “Useless Islands” to the ‘Happy islands’
By Dr. Jose Manuel Noceda Fernandez, Art Historian and researcher.

Osaira Muyale established a deep Affiliation with introspection and the  deconstruction of memory. Her iconography, indebted to Louis bourgeois’great influence on more than a few artists, takes shape in a methodical retreat into an inner  universe. Her interests go from dysfunctional communication to the crisis of the modernist model of progress, the collapse of utopias, and the widely proclaimed death of the subject. The key point of her work is the complex construction of identity, the retrenchment and safeguarding of the personal, that which Okwul Enwezor understands as dislocation, uprooted-ness, displacement and dispersion,
exile, and alienation gaining terrain even in the rooms of one’s own house. Over time, Muyale outlines the resources to be deployed much more clearly. Hallway between Wifredo Lam’s human-animal-mythological syncretism and the ‘Blue Klein” ictoire de Samothrace, I’m Not White ,Not Black, But Blue. From 2012, a hybrid image in blue levitating  over a trampoline, is a good example of the extension of all these concerns with an extraordinary power of synthesis.


Project  Paarden Baai  ‘Horse Bay”  2015 to present time. The theme of the Art work is a Tribute to ‘Paardenbaai’ (Horses Bay) Art in Public Space contributes to Culture, preserves historical and contemporary history of Community, Infrastructure, commerce, and local identity. We all share with the Tourists our appreciation and respect to this Development. It joins for a common purpose and a common action to the New down town Project. This name arrives from the Aruban and European trade commerce and economy in the 1700 Century.  Aruba and Holland were into cattle exchange. Especially in horses trading. The Arubans bought their horses at the coast of Venezuela and Colombia together with the one hundred Indians that still lived near Forti Abow (where the peer of Paarden baai is now). The horses had enough space to live and gallop in the ranches (Ranchos) for their multiplication. International Horse export started in 1800 century and was one of the most important sources of livelihood for Aruba especially to the sugar countries. A Horse is by far one of the largest contributor to the enhancement of civilization. The 8 Sculptures represents strengths ‘Nobility, Grace, Beauty and Freedom. It represents Aruban collaboration with locals and international communities and its business trade world. Europe, South America, Caribbean islands and the Mediterranean. The Blue horses represents the important historical moment where the horses jumped from the ship deck into the Caribbean Ocean and swim to our Aruban Bay ‘Paarden baai’.  At 6 strategic points – Down Town Oranjestad, there will be a horses installed. It will take 6 months to complete the whole project. With their different personalities and postures you can still see a united family. References: Biblioteca National Aruba, Hartoch. J . Aruba zoals het was en zoals het werd Hartoch .J. 1960, Het oude Fort van Aruba Willem. P. 1950-1960. De Nederlandse Antillen, A. H and Iglesia protestant Aruba in oude ansichten, Een reisje naar Aruba Dominee Bosch. Paarden baai’(2014-2015) is an extension of installation Paradise Park’ (2011-2014), a space falling in time, sea, ocean, life, love. Paradise Park is a dream-state, representing a space in between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, connected to a hybrid globalized subject. Influenced on immigrants, heritage, and storytelling. At the same time, an allegory presenting cultural memories. The installation is inhabit with sculptures, crossing between horses, birds, fishes, plants, and human beings. Paradise Park archives metaphors that effects life, associated within a natural world, human association and bird resemblance. Species such as rotating flora and floating fauna  crossing in a solemn sound by Vangelis ‘ la petite Fille de La mer. Crossing over fiber sculptures surrounded with a character called ‘Sikkepit’. A space that unites anecdotes in deep sea water. A fantasy park where paradise energy settles time between continents, specifying a cultural and a visual language. My fascination with birds is seen in floating work’ Japanese Nightingale. A  sculpture mirroring  an inter familial hybrid, where the plants are sensitive and vulnerable and its leaves reaching out above the viewer, at the same time bordering arrangements. The Japanese nightingale is an aide-memoire, a bird that stretches, pitch and strain like a floor that has been danced upon. The exhibition highlights the senses that address the notion of time and space, and a relationship between the body, soul, and the material world. – Osaira Muyale Paardenbaai embodies an important part of the early history of Oranjestad; the natural harbor facilitated horse trade that dates back to the early days of Spanish colonization of Aruba. This trade in livestock and primarily horses was one of the key factors in the early development of commerce and later settlement of the town at the bay. During the following three centuries, the horse trade remained important for the island: for the Spanish period during conquest (1500’s), and later for the Dutch under the West Indian Company rule (1600’s and 1700’s) Aruba remained as what could be considered a ranch that facilitated the colonization projects. In the early Dutch Colonial period (1800’s & 1900’s) this role diminished and a shift to other industries and small scale farming became more important. Thus for over four centuries a great variety of livestock (primarily horses) was kept on the island where it remained accessible and could easily be transported to other destinations. Historic accounts relate that at times the herds would count up to thousands of horses, roaming the island. Testament to the foundational importance of this period is the simple fact that from this period onward and to this day, almost two hundred years after the official re-naming of Playa Caballos to Oranjestad (1824), the town at the bay is still referred to as Playa and its residents are still known as Playeros, in the local language Papiamento. The importance of the Caribbean Sea and the Horse Bay is also evident in the symbolic blue color of the horses, serving as a reminder of their voyage to and from the island. A deep blue color that still bathes their skin as if they seemingly just emerged from the bay pacing forward into town confronting us with the rich identity of our past. – Renwick Heronimo art curator

  • 22.01.2015/Mondriaan Fonds Gehonoreerde plannen Bijdrage Opdrachtgeverschap. Fundacion Eterno( Oranjestad)- Playa caballos- Fundacion Eterno den de lokale overheid op Aruba geven opdrachten aan Kunstenaar Osaira Muyale. Muyale realiseert de installatie ‘Playa Caballos’ (Paardenbaai), bestaande uit een route van blauw gekleurde paardsculpturen vanaf het strand waar vanaf 1700 paarden arriveerden op het eiland voor de handelnaar de historische centyrum van Oranjestad.

www.mondriaanfonds.nl/gehonoreerd/gehonoreerde-plannen-bijdrage-opdrachtgeverschap/

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2014 – Art curator and art critic, Renwick Heronimo
Oranestad, Aruba.

Once upon a time, there was a magical place…a place where one could set the imagination free and relive the feelings locked in moments past…There we find ourselves…waiting patiently by the sea, listening…and peering into the blue shimmer…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          R. H.

Paradise Park

A park is a space where play is placed central in its success as a functioning space…a space where fantasy, emotion, and imagination can be stimulated to enhance the experience. A space of infinite possibilities that is promised as paradise…that mythical place where timeless harmony is offered.

Gate  As we cross the gate, we enter into a place where the imagination has given shape and color to a space of wonder detached from the banality and logic of the everyday. Each level of penetration accentuates the separation from the monotony devoid of wonder and excitement, and the movement into a reality replenished with possibilities and new meaning.

Door Here we find ourselves at a door, and full of excitement, we wait to enter into the interior space with a sense of adventure and trepidation. Blindfolded, we enter and surrender.

Interior It is once inside this space that the magnitude of this project reveals itself. This work by the artist Osaira Muyale allows the spectator to enter into a space where beauty, magic, emotion, and melancholy can be experienced.

It is inside the rooms of this house called Paradise Park that one encounters this powerful sensorial experience. As one walks through these white spaces flooded with the ephemeral blue light, figures appear that seem to be moving to an eternal rhythm.

All of these figures are hybrids consisting of human, animal, and plant elements. They are all colored a specific shade of blue…a deep blue hinting at the depths of the soul. This surprising experience startles one with its layered effect where space, color, figures, movement, and music are caught in an endless dance, inviting us deeper into this house and deeper into the meaning of this work.

With Paradise Park, the spectator is able to surrender to the beauty and magic of this place and allow the imagination and emotion to free themselves from the constraints of reason and logic.

Paradise Park offers one the opportunity to submerge oneself into the realm of the senses…a space so intimate in its conception that one feels as if it is within the mind, body, and soul of this artist that one finds oneself.

The Art of Osaira Muyale

To better understand the visual language of Muyale, one must revisit her childhood surrounded by the arid landscape of her island home of Aruba. There, men and horses had a central role around which everything and everyone seemed to revolve. This masculine culture induced her into a world of her imagination, where emotions could be freed and transformed.

We encounter these morphed emotions throughout her oeuvre, and especially in some of her significant previous works. For example, it was with Mystery of The Soul that her visual language crystallized. With great clarity, she appropriated objets du coeur from family collections to construct a narrative that was at once engaging as well as enigmatic. It was also during this solo exhibition at Eterno Studio Gallery in 1995 that domestic attributes, such as step ladders, picture frames, dolls, lamp posts, and linoleum flooring, were appropriated to convey messages of domesticity and isolation.

It was this growing unease and confrontation with the breakdown of communication that resulted in one of her most powerful multimedia installations, Silencio (Silence), at the Havana Biennial in 1997. Here she created a highly evocative scene where hundreds of plaster-cast ears were laid out on a metal bed frame and used to delineate the words “I am afraid” on the walls. These elements in turn were surrounded by a web of hairlike threads reminiscent of cobwebs suspended from cattle hooks. To heighten the effect of this installation, inside a prison cell at the Castillo Del Moro fortification in Havana, a video was shown on a television monitor with the artist struggling to catch her breath…

A couple of years later, this cycle of works reached its culmination with Muyale’s highly personal multimedia installation, Ilusion,which was awarded the grand prize at the Dutch Caribbean contemporary art survey exhibition, Arte 99, in Willemstad, Curacao. With this striking installation, the spectator is invited to enter into a space defined by a monumental wedding dress suspended over a metal carcass. To enter, one had to step on and over personal mementos. Once inside, one could see a video monitor suspended in the center of this carcass, showing the artist falling out of the sky into a desolate landscape wearing a wedding dress. One can later see her walking outwards from a spiral installation, consisting of plaster-cast ears and populated by domestic articles, into the desolate landscape…

A few years later, it was the encounter with a water basin covered with natural overgrowth that triggered another performance and installation. It was at the history-laden Kenepa Plantation in Curacao that triggered her imagination during the Watamula international artist workshop in the year 2000. Here, the slave history of this indigo plantation as well as the encounter with this water basin resulted in a performance of ritualistic bathing with the indigo-blue-colored water of the basin. This installation was later reinstalled at another plantation, namely Landhuis Bloemhof, in the bathhouse located in the middle of nature, where the indigo water became an essential element, indicative in this case of cleansing of traumatic history. The color blue from that point on became a central and recurring component within the work of Muyale.

Kindred Spirits

But it is not only through the analysis of her work that we can get a better understanding of this artist. When we look into the work of some seminal artists that have had a definitive role within the history of art, we can also find some kindred spirits that give us insights into her narrative. One of the recurring elements that can be seen throughout her work is the influence of the Surrealist Movement. The resonance of Muyale’s work with the work of female Surrealist artists such as Remedios Varo and Dorothea Tanning is especially remarkable. In the work of Varo, it is the enigmatic visual language as well as the architectural spaces laden with psychological charge that seem to relate to Muyale’s work. And in the case of Tanning, it is the highly personal narrative and surrealist imagery that seem familiar. In Tanning’s own words, we learn that “art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity.”

But looking onwards into the Modern and Postmodern movements, we can also find artists who resonate with Muyale. One of these is Louise Burgeois, in whose work we encounter a highly personal narrative and imagery tainted by family history. And with the work of Kiki Smith, we encounter ideas of identity and the body, as well as physicality and mortality, presented with a highly personal visual language incorporating flora-fauna-human hybrid forms transformed by the imagination.

But it is the color blue and the “space within” that draw our attention to another remarkable artist, a Flemish male artist, Jan Faber, whose ideas of spatial atmosphere and quietude, as well as the symbiosis between work and location achieved by this versatile artist, resonate with Paradise Park.

Conclusion

In the article The Aesthetic Education And The Demise Of Experience by T. Docherty, the author questions the way in which modern society stresses one way of learning based on past experience and established norms. In his critique, he posits how this process is depleting modern man’s everyday life of truthful experience…an experience where one can still be challenged and activated and not be dragged down by the constraints and repetitiveness of everyday life. It is this aspect of truthful experience that resonates with Paradise Park.

Throughout human history, art has had a fundamental role in dealing with the mysterious and more profound aspects of human experience. And it is through the release achieved by the creative process and the transformative power of art that we are able to synthesize and give meaning to human existence. With Paradise Park, the artist Osaira Muyale has confronted us with a haptic space that allows us to immerse ourselves using all our senses to perceive…all we have to do is enter.

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2010  Take me home cause I don’t remember’ (Project Silhouette, 2008-2010)
Project First International Triennial of Caribbean at  Museo de Arte Moderno  Santo Domingo
(www.cultura.gov.do/dependencias/museos/museodelartremoderno.htm)


Spirituality and Context, Dr. Professor Jose Manuel Noceda Fernandez.

I came across some of Osaira Muyale’s work, for the first time in a while, at the First Caribbean Triennial in the Santo Domingo Museum of Modern Art, in September 2010. She was one of the artists invited by the “Dutch Caribbean”. Osaira belongs to a group which is transforming the art produced in Aruba, this diminutive enclave which for centuries was at the whim of Dutch geopolitics. Osaira is a member, with a distinctive style, of a clan of artists there who were highly active in the early 1990s. But she was also clearly associated with a movement that crosses Aruba’s borders and defines a new avant-garde throughout the Caribbean, marked by radical innovations in terms of concept and representation. In this respect her work showed affinities with the language of several West Indian artists, but especially in the way it reflected the emergence of a group of female artists who made their mark at that time within the Caribbean and also beyond its geocultural boundaries. That work opened doors and led to a number of opportunities. Osaira was invited to the Havana Biennial in 1997, as part of a programme aimed at exploring the role memory as a resource in contemporary artistic endeavour. She was also present at the Caribbean and Central America painting biennials organized by the Santo Domingo Museum of Modern Art. And years ago, Virginia Pérez-Ratton included her in a Caribbean and Central American retrospective for an edition of the Cuenca (Ecuador) biennial, one of the most firmly-rooted and best-attended of such events in Latin America & the Caribbean. Some years ago, alluding to Osaira, I quoted José Luis Brea’s “El arte en la era póstuma de la cultura”, to reference a theoretical field in which I felt her poetic art worked very well. Her sculptures and structures are unquestionably the expression of existential limits and tensions of universal scope, viewed through the highly individual prism of the artist’s personal experience. I would describe it as sponge-like, absorbing and recording diverse chapters of daily experience and translating them into images charged with meanings. Analyzing this new work which I exhibited in Santo Domingo, ‘Take me home cause I don’t remember’ (Project Silhouette, 2008-2010), and performing a kind of retrospective revision, it is apparent that this visual output defined by personal points of reference and marked spirituality has not changed in its essential constants, although it has become more complex in terms of its mise en scène. And with the passage of time, Osaira has enriched the visual text with numerous elements that appreciably expand her expressive resources. She is now among the artists who have contributed most to the formal, conceptual and material reformulation of art in Aruba. She is the master of an extended register characterized by work with a variety of techniques, ranging from painting, drawing and sculpture using various materials, to the challenge always implied in adopting new disciplines and the new media of photography and video, always with success in terms of expressive qualities. Also apparent is an interest in matter and the recycling of objects. The wide assortment of the latter includes fur, clocks, dolls, broken tailor’s dummies and countless other elements, always arranged so as to represent existential and contextual imperatives. And this is perhaps the leitmotif of her work, this perennial interchange between the “I” and what surrounds her, between personal time and the circumstances of context. Everything has a symbolic function, whether expressed through the latent meanings in her works, or through the use of colour to convey emotional states. Viewed from an evolutionary perspective, through all that activity Osaira maintains certain key elements as constants in her work. These include the position reflected in ‘The mystery of my soul’ (1995), an autobiographical work, and a close affinity  with Barthesian reflection, introspective in nature, with an emphasis on fragmentation and on deconstruction of memory. Although her early work (like that of no few artists) clearly showed the influence of Louise Bourgeois, identifying herself with the anthropomorphism and sculptural fragmentation characteristic of that artist, I see no traces of that style in the Santo Domingo work, which introduces an environment-type narrative based on the assembling of documents and objects into symbolic codes imbued with meanings that reflect an open environmental vision in which the human being is the focus of her discourse. As is usually the case with Osaira’s output, the essence of this work rests on the bedrock of personal identity, on the way she uses tools and methods to convert her individual history and experience and the deep layers of her psyche into a rich profusion of drawings, etchings, sculptures and installations. Using personal history as her vantage point, coupled with her particular way of representing existential dilemmas, she creates a perspective of surprising reverberations. This approach fosters a poetic style that adopts an introspective methodology, of withdrawal into a private domain in response to a world situation determined by the crisis of the modernist model of progress, by frustration of the development processes in large parts of the South, by the collapse of the social Utopias, where the model of questioning the Other deployed by the avant-gardes coexists, strangely, with researches into the “I” itself, and given the implications of such conditions for a small island such as Aruba. Okwui Enwezor, highlighting the dichotomy between the individual and his/her environment, has said that for many non-Western artists, the logic of modernity is no longer based on the style of the avant-garde as the preponderant Zeitgeist, or concerned with progress and change. For many (in the West as well), he believes modernity has come to mean a particular condition – one that often implies dislocation and rootlessness; displacement and dispersion; alienation and exile, even in the familiar rooms of the home. For him, rather than breaking down barriers, modernity seems to have built them. His words clarify the path Osaira has taken. The crisis and real conflicts of society and culture, the failure of the logic of immutable identities, the undermining of cultural identities implied by the high volume of international. Also apparent is an interest in matter and the recycling of objects. The wide assortment of the latter includes fur, clocks, dolls, broken tailor’s dummies and countless other elements, always arranged so as to represent existential and contextual imperatives. And this is perhaps the leitmotif of her work, this perennial interchange between the “I” and what surrounds her, between personal time and the circumstances of context. Everything has a symbolic function, whether expressed through the latent meanings in her works, or through the use of color to convey emotional states.  Viewed from an evolutionary perspective, through all that activity Osaira maintains certain key elements as constants in her work. These include the position reflected in ‘The mystery of my soul’ (1995), an autobiographical work, and a close affinity  with Barthesian reflection, introspective in nature, with an emphasis on fragmentation and on deconstruction of memory. Although her early work (like that of no few artists) clearly showed the influence of Louise Bourgeois, identifying herself with the anthropomorphism and sculptural fragmentation characteristic of that artist, I see no traces of that style in the Santo Domingo work, which introduces an environment-type narrative based on the assembling of documents and objects into symbolic codes imbued with meanings that reflect an open environmental vision in which the human being is the focus of her discourse. As is usually the case with Osaira’s output, the essence of this work rests on the bedrock of personal identity, on the way she uses tools and methods to convert her individual history and experience and the deep layers of her psyche into a rich profusion of drawings, etchings, sculptures and installations. Using personal history as her vantage point, coupled with her particular way of representing existential dilemmas, she creates a perspective of surprising reverberations. This approach fosters a poetic style that adopts an introspective methodology, of withdrawal into a private domain in response to a world situation determined by the crisis of the modernist model of progress, by frustration of the development processes in large parts of the South, by the collapse of the social Utopias, where the model of questioning the Other deployed by the avant-gardes coexists, strangely, with researches into the “I” itself, and given the implications of such conditions for a small island such as Aruba. Okwui Enwezor, highlighting the dichotomy between the individual and his/her environment, has said that for many non-Western artists, the logic of modernity is no longer based on the style of the avant-garde as the preponderant Zeitgeist, or concerned with progress and change. For many (in the West as well), he believes modernity has come to mean a particular condition – one that often implies dislocation and rootlessness; displacement and dispersion; alienation and exile, even in the familiar rooms of the home. For him, rather than breaking down barriers, modernity seems to have built them. His words clarify the path Osaira has taken. The crisis and real conflicts of society and culture, the failure of the logic of immutable identities, the undermining of cultural identities implied by the high volume of international travel, all revive and intensify age-old questioning about existence, like Dostoevsky’s torments. The loss of the subject’s freedom asserted by Foucault, and the weakening of the notion of self in a destabilized modern individual proposed by Andreas Huyssen, clearly reflect the deep crises in a civilization dominated by the illusion of the material and by consumerism.Such circumstances explain the current prevalence of art founded on a personal archeology, which converts experience into an allegory of individual questioning and prompts self-reference in response to conditions of existential instability, in a premeditated excavation of memory which unearths gestures of intimacy, journeys in the distant past and retrieves events that fuel the individual narratives. The representation strategy in this case involves a remapping of individual or familiar territory, at odds with the compact, closed ontologies of yesteryear. This new anthropological approach is apparent in ‘Take me home cause I don’t remember‘. The work presents itself in four clearly-defined sections that nonetheless form an environment-type mise en scène, with one of her now classic sculptures of broken, incomplete tailor’s dummies, a photograph with flowers and a satellite view of the island, a video about her dog and an extensive polyptych of 80 drawings. Among the latter, I was particularly struck by the sequence of anthropomorphic drawings in which the human body, represented in an elementary, naïve way – sometimes in combination with small birds, in others with the intersection of photographs of flowers, or in musical pentagrams – is repeated as a pattern and splits into countless poses, subtle variations and combinations. However, these human images have nothing to do with Da Vinci’s L’uomo vitruviano and the supreme expressions of the renaissancist concept of Man as the centre of the universe. Quite the contrary. In an age in which one speaks of the anthropocene – a term coined by Paul Crutzen to denote a stage in the evolution of the planet marked by the global influence of human activity on the ecosystems – all these images are imbued with a heartrending poetry that is difficult to ignore. It could be said that Osaira’s work, always detached from the experiential, is particularly well adapted to the requirements of an event preoccupied with the relations between art and the environment. The environment is not a concept that can be circumscribed, nor is it a synonym for (although encompassing) ecology; the notion is much more all-embracing; it includes – of course – the natural factors (behaviour of the climate, energy sources); but it also encompasses Man, his relations with his living surroundings, as well as social and cultural aspects. And that is exactly what Osaira synthesizes, from her perspective – that interrelation with individual themes, with the little things that fill and give sense to her daily existence; but also with her surroundings and with the implications of living on a small Caribbean island.

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1997- Biennale de Havana Cuba,  Installation ‘SILENCE’
By Art historian and Critic Gijs Stork, M.A.

An ear is an emotionally charged symbol. Because we receive the Word through the ear.  It often represents Faith. In Christian semantics, the ear will often be the symbol by which the Holy Ghost, the dove, makes the announcement to the Holy Virgin. In this case, the ear is the part of the body that makes Maria aware of her unspeakable happiness. Furthermore, it also symbolizes the woman as well as daughters. Consequently, with this the ear gets an erotic connotation as well. A magnificent sound has an immediate effect on each part of the body as a sensory experience and yet the ear in Osaira Muyale’s oeuvre  only remains are requisite of the imaginative power. It has a metaphorical meaning, which not only gives cause for observation, but also for deeper associations. Here too, it is clear that is no such a thing as the key to knowing the underlying meaning. The function of intuition is more important. An ear and listening is a mayor theme in contemporary art. Contrary to the works of, say, Jan Fabre at Documenta IX and Douglas Gordon at the exposition Entre- Deux in Brussels, Osaira does not attempt to hear the unknown or the “outside”, but the tales of the public. She attempts to let the inner voice speak; to make the suppressed feelings revive. It is not surprising that listening has become a theme in a time in which the hectic life makes that nobody actually has the time to listen anymore. There are more and more souls crying and wandering in the wilderness of new media, fast television footage and 1.000 mega beats per second. Osaira Muyale listens indirectly to the people of Cuba. A work of art has to make the 1.000 voices of silent grief sound. And so, within the theme of the biennial “The individual and his memory”,  Muyale Performs an act in which she considers the public as an individual, and wants to let the memory of a past speak. But speaking takes the form of listening, listening to the inner voice.  A descent in your own deepest inner self,  from where the voice of the unconscious will speak. Therefore, the ear is also comparable with the eye. Both are the carriers of the experience to the memory. For Osaira Muyale personal experience and memory is the most important theme in her works. The experience she tries to concertize and communicate to the spectator, by means of images that thrust themselves upon her in fragments. Experience of life she tries to translate into sculptures. Art that is not about art, or creating art, art not created to please, it rather repels, but art about the experience of the artist, art about life itself. They are translated into sculptures and presented as such. Here too, the fact that the dove and the ear were brought together in early symbolism, can be considered special; the dove brings the message, but also peace.  A sign that gives the ear a positive meaning.  A meaning also needed to survive, with all the experiences, positive or negative, a human being goes through in his life.

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OSAIRA MUYALE: 1995 AUTOBIOGRAPHY, MEMORY, AND LACK OF COMMUNI­CATION
By  Art historian Dr. José Manuel Noceda Fernandez

A superficial contemplation of present times demonstrates, without much ado, the conflicts arisen as of the modern age. The terms to define this “fin-de-siecle” feel­ing oscillate between the apocalyptic prophecy and the clever epitaph of José Luis Brea of a “posthumous era of culture”. Behind these descriptions we sense signs of decadence, of anxiety over a global society.

The vertiginous ramification of the transnational and globalizing action of the economy, the financial world, the spearhead technologies, the information, and the culture disturbs the coherent paradigms of nations and men, sets new rules, causes an unusual mobility in the social strata  as well as in the symbolic and cognitive classes, and causes a “deterrito­rializa­tion”, intensified by the irruption of another being, not invited to the banquet, i.e. I refer to the uncontrollable movements from the South to the metropolitan centers.

The eagerness to be civilized, concealed by the story of progress, ends by curtailing the autonomy of the individual. We live in a “thingy” society, very much aimed at the mass media, in a society of transmitters, or as Barthes would say, of “ousters”, in which the dissoluteness of the personal triumph prevails. Therefore, it is not paradoxical to admit that the lack of communication is a lurking spook. This is the context man lives in, absorbed in a deaf ears dialogue. He rather sits in front of the screen of a monitor and consumes the global broadcasting menu, accesses the super networks of INTERNET from his home – his real hiding place -, communicates at a distance, builds an insurmountable ­wall around him, than that he has face to face contact with another. Apart from that, a large part of humanity remains “in areas of silence”, not having the slightest clue about the “advantages” derived from technological impulses.

In this way, the solitude and the fear for a soliloquy emerge. The individual hides himself behind a solipsistic silence to protect his too vulnerable personality, reinforcing the idea of the nonsense of communication, the failure of the interaction between transmitter-recipient, the interference of the standards for the circulation of mess­ages. These are exactly the details on which Osaira Muyale bases her ideo-aesthetic story.

I met Osaira in 1993 and I now realize that she has rounded off her visual universe. The autobiography appears to be the ideal means to place her into her history and experience. With The Mystery of the Soul, 1995, she surprises with a Barthesian iconography based on the leitmotiv of fragmentation, or rather the physical flagellation and the mutilation of the memory. I enter into these topics because we never perceive an image in its entirety. We only identify unconnected signs of which the syn-taxis has to be deciphered gradually. In this respects, Muyale adheres to the memory when she composes a scene of an introspective and retrospective nature, an infinite permeability between navigable stages from the present to the past and vice versa. Wandering through the intimacy, she takes the age of childhood, the stage of innocence, as a central theme, but also the age prone to the loss of sense, of an atmosphere which normally explains the traumas, mysteries and passions of adulthood.

With Mystery … the artist choose a substratum of general use, belonging to everyday life; she connected the mystic complexity of the creating individual with her favorite objects. The symbolic work insistently recurs to “remains” of the human body – torsos hanging upside down, ears, feet, legs, hands and hair -, the domestic environment – chairs, suitcases, cutlery – or the affective environment – portraits, shoes, and parts of dolls. The ambiguity emphasizes the coherence between these elements. Muyale outlines an apparent syntagmatic dislocation in respect of representation, and although it appears that she revives the astuteness of surrealism, in reality she assumes and reconstructs the contradictions inherent to the paradigms which mold a character.

A year later, during the exposition Hende muhe den Evolucion, she displays a work in which she shows her affinity with the autobiographic, emotive, and objectional preeminence of Louise Bourgeois and with certain three-dimensional schemes of Richard Long. The work in question, seen from a distance, depicts a spiral, and, furthermore, it may resemble the anatomy of the ear, the organ exalted to the level of obsessive iconography, which is repeated like a pattern, which outlines a complete route, a real or imaginary path, just like Long sometimes did. However, the feeling of appropriate guilt disappears rapidly. Muyale justifies its necessity by placing the “I” in the heart of the artistic reflection. Therefore, she assumes the involuntary atrophy of one of the irreplaceable sense of men: the ear, the hearing.

The work harshly refers to the deterioration of communication, the uselessness of the ear in the heart of the desire to be civilized. The fusion of the individual-artist with the world is realized by means of a flow of communication and information, marked by stages of interruption and areas of silence. For this reason, the path of Osaira is segmented, truncated in intervals, with sequences of frozen, sleeping, and eschatological personalities which condense universal worries, torments which strike the inhabitants of today’s Earth, which go far beyond geographic areas or political preferences, with the pain of living in a small country in the Caribbean, umbilically bound to the ancient Metro­poles, connected to the World by satellite, the harbors for transatlantic ships, and the international hotel chains; surrounded by the sea, where the perpetual feeling of insular claustrophobia reigns, and where the scourge of intolerance and the lack of understanding is felt, which probably confirms the truth con­tained in a popular saying, full of humor and grace: “Small community, large hell”.

The work of Osaira Muyale connotes certain irony regarding these modern times of false communication, mentioned by Walter Benjamin; she dissents from the maneuvers which seem to connect us with the rest of the world, more than ever. From individual sentiments, a desolate soul, to public, universal success, it all regards the anxiety of a generation, caused by the devastating effects of the lack of communication. From her life, her history, originates a narration which, in the end, soars the biography, influencing our lives, the foreign experience, and which suddenly does not seem as subordinated to “the personal” as we supposed it was.