Focus on Puerto Rico
Focus on Puerto Rico was a residency program developed by Mana Contemporary in partnership with Clocktower Productions and MECA International Art Fair. The residency program, entitled Focus on Puerto Rico, was created for Mana’s new location in Downtown Miami for December 2017, offering studio space to artists of Puerto Rico and its diaspora. In addition to a three-month studio residency, Clocktower organized programming and open-studio events for Miami Art Week 2017. This program is made possible through the shared initiatives of Mana Contemporary and Clocktower, born from a longstanding relationship between Clocktower Founder, Alanna Heiss, and the Puerto Rican arts community.
Focus on Puerto Rico aims to celebrate Puerto Rican artists and provide a platform to garner broader access to, and understanding of, Puerto Rico’s contemporary social-political landscape—addressing issues facing the territory in relation to the U.S. policy and the Caribbean at-large. The new program will launch with a residency program this fall at Mana Contemporary’s space in downtown Miami, with studios located in the historic 777 International Mall. All participating artists-in-residence have been chosen through the collaborative efforts of Mana Contemporary, Alanna Heiss, and a local panel of artists and organizers from Puerto Rico. In addition to this selection of artists, Mana Contemporary and Clocktower have awarded one exhibiting artist from the Mecanismos section of MECA International Art Fair for the Focus on Puerto Rico residency program.
Focus on Puerto Rico aims to trigger a growing dialogue between Latin American artists living both locally in Miami and abroad. During Miami Art Week 2017, all artists-in-residents show their work completed over the three-month period with open studios at 777 International Mall, along with the Focus on Puerto Rico exhibition at Mana Wynwood. Clocktower’s programming highlights the artists-in-residence with performances scheduled throughout each day during Miami Art Week.
Daniel Bejar is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in New York. His work considers and critiques the representation of history, place, and the self within the structures of power that encompass our physical and digital worlds. Through forms of performanceand intervention, Bejar inserts himself and his work into public sites and systems (such as Google search engines, Google Maps, protest rallies at Republican National conventions, and a no-fly zone over the Super Bowl in New Jersey) to construct new narratives within the public realm.
Poncili Creación is a group that generates performative and audiovisual experiences that sprout from their interactive sculptures. Since 2012 they have been working with large-scale foam objects in the form of installations, sculptures, and communication tools.
López lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in sculpture from Escuela de Artes Plasticas (EAP) in 2013. He is a 2014–16 grantee of a BBVA Bancomer – Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil fellowship in Mexico City, and has been included in the last two editions of the Muestra Nacional exhibition in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Matotumba (MTTMB) is an art collective and experimental music group formed in the year 2000 by audio-visual artists from Puerto Rico mostly known for their improvised electronic-experimental music proposal, visual arts, theatre and site-specific performances, videos and film, and documentaries scores.
Andria Morales (b. 1982, New York) is a visual artist and member of the internet-based duo Escobar-Morales. Her work explores identity through a variety of media and collaborative experiments. Her work is included in collections at the Whitney Museum of American Art, El Museo del Barrio, and Yale University Library.
Elizabeth Robles (b. 1960, Puerto Rico) works mostly in sculpture, installations, and performances at walking distance from her home. The relationship with her surroundings leads her to produce an art of connections and coexistence between objects found or created, materialities, architecture, and the urban and rural fabric.
Recipient of the residency from the Mecanismos section of MECA art fair, Yiyo Tirado was born in the city of San Juan Puerto Rico, on September 24, 1990. He studied at the San Antonio College of Rio Piedras. In 2008 he began studying mechanical engineering at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez. In 2010 he transferred to the School of Plastic Arts of Puerto Rico (EAP) where he began his baccalaureate in painting. In 2013 he founded the Abayarde Taller de Artes Gr cas, located in Old San Juan.
RAFAEL VARGAS BERNARD
Born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Rafael Vargas Bernard studied computer engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, sculpture at the Escuela de Artes Plasticas de Puerto Rico, and La Práctica at Beta Local. His work explores functional and non-functional systems (including power structures, economic systems, and generative systems) and societies relationship with these. His work has been exhibited at Exit Art (New York), Peripher (Zürich), and Las Naves (Valencia), and is part of the permanent collection of the Museo de Arte Contempor neo de Puerto Rico.