Tune in to the sounds of the Colombian rainforest to fully immerse yourself within ‘Bajo el manto de la selva / Under the Cover of the Jungle.’
This summer, Arts Brookfield has awarded visual artist Tatiana Arocha with the Brookfield Place New York Annual Arts Commission from which she will present her first large-scale sculptural work in the Winter Garden. For the project, Tatiana Arocha has created a lush, suspended sculpture made of hand-made paper, tree branches, reed, fique and wood. Titled, Bajo el manto de la selva / Under the Cover of the Jungle, the work is representative of the artist’s layered relationship with the ecology of Colombia, her home country.
ARTIST TALK: JULY 20, 6-8 PM
Join us in the Winter Garden for an engaging conversation between artists Tatiana Arocha and Sarah Cameron Sunde who will discuss their environmentally based projects at Brookfield Place. The talk will be moderated by Kendal Henry followed by an announcement of the 2023 Brookfield Place New York Annual Arts Commission.
Click here for more details & to RSVP.
Growing up, Arocha often journeyed to the Colombian rainforests where she saw Indigenous and Afro-Colombian lands and lifeways caught in the middle of eco- and genocidal forces of the drug trade. She came to the United States as an adult to pursue a design career, and while she succeeded, she struggled with the limited ethnopolitical identities afforded her as a Colombian American immigrant.
The dizzyingly biodiverse Colombian forest, and the complex social and economic histories that have threatened its existence since the colonists arrived, remain indelibly imprinted in Arocha’s psyche, and emerge in her artistic practice in the form of texturally detailed forest landscapes. Her process starts from botanical field work that includes drawing, rubbing, photographing, preserving, and tracing the bark, seeds, and leaves of the forest. These experiences are further enriched through conversations with Indigenous peoples for whom forests are more than places dense with resources to be extracted. From them, she learned that forests can be sustainably cultivated into spaces for creating eco-systemic, social and spiritual relationships across generations and species.
For Arocha, the process of making the commission for the Winter Garden enabled her to continue both her artistic and ecological education. With a female coop in Barichara, Colombia, she learned how to make paper from fique and pineapple fiber. The paper has been lovingly shaped into the leaves of the Yarumo tree, ferns, and balazos, which have interlocking uses that range from ritual and medicinal purposes to fiber for weaving baskets and bags, and food. Bajo el manto de la selva represents the abundance and intelligence that the forest offers us if we look and listen deeply.
With this work, Arocha invites us to embark on the long journey of challenging the hierarchies of knowledge given to us. Only then might we truly comprehend the immensity of what we would lose if we do not act to protect these complex ecosystems.
Bajo el manto de la selva / Under the Cover of the Jungle was made in collaboration with Fundación San Lorenzo de Barichara papermakers: Yadira Bueno, Serafina Sánchez, Margarita Suárez, Hercilia Velásquez, Aida Janeth Velásquez, Amparo Angarita, Ana Lucila Sánchez, Gloria María Sánchez, Deysi Viviana Viviescas, Julieth Romero, Luz Mery Rivera; and nest weaving by Marcela Carrasco Sua-ty Textil.
Text by Prerana Reddy.