Marcela Cantuária: The South American Dream

Exhibition Website

Mar 23 2023 - Jul 28 2024

The work of Marcela Cantuária (b. 1991, Rio de Janeiro; lives in Rio de Janeiro) often portrays female figures who navigate regional, international, and social boundaries. Often highlighting symbols from tarot and astrology as well as themes that reflect political and environmental activism in Latin America, she weaves narratives of social spheres, political associations, and ethereal wishes. Cantuária’s vivid and colorful works are evidence of her versatility and investigations through various mediums and techniques, including painting, textile, and ceramics.​

The South American Dream is the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States and presents all newly commissioned works. In this painting installation, Cantuária invites the viewer to consider the nature of these dreams. Explored within the three main paintings, she highlights the narratives of critical activists and environmentalists in South America who pursued their dreams through resistance and by fighting for their countries and land, including figures such as Chico Mendes, Dorothy Stang, Maria do Espírito Santo da Silva, Túpac Amaru, and Juana Azurduy de Padilla, among others. 

While her research highlights where struggles and injustices lie, her paintings point to the beauty of the fight that often persists in these stories; thus, the paintings become monuments for iconic South American figures who, despite dangers and devastating odds, fought for their visions. In The South American Dream, Cantuária elevates and revives these histories, ideals, and battles, sharing with viewers the richness of South American natural resources that so many struggle to protect.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

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