REBECCA NAVA SOTO
The Edge project is an exhibition of mixed media paintings and Mesoamerican alfombra inspired floor installations showcased at the National Underground Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Oh from July-October 2021.
This series operates as a visual continuum rooted within indigenous aesthetics extending into contemporary Latinx culture through themes of perception, iconography,writing/image-making, and popular materials. These works explore ideas in ancient science, spirituality, cosmology and their relevance today.
The Edge is where two distinct environments meet, clash, and intertwine.
As we each experience the edge of our own worlds – individually, within families and social circles, and as communities at large –we can see these Edge environments as transformative places with potential for a more abundant, robust, tolerant, and creative collective existence.
The edge effect in ecology is a natural phenomenon that occurs at the boundary of two adjacent ecosystems. The wisdom of indigenous science, supported by contemporary ecology, tells us that in these overlapping habitats of confrontation, chaos, clashing and violence -are also territories of innovative synergy where biological life thrives and flourishes. At the edge we see nature at its most creative and robust providing ideal conditions for new species to sprout.
To Conjure (1)
To Conjure (2)
Wood Shavings, pigment, wood
3.5’ x 4’, 3.5’ x 4
This image is taken from the ancient Mesoamérican writing system which means “to conjure” The ending of the current problematic systems of our current paradigm.
Write it! (1)
Write it! (2)
3.5’ x 4’, 3.5’ x 4’
Wood shavings, pigment, wood
Ancient Mexican spiritual practices are being kept alive through healers. This writing hand iconography references manifestation techniques for creating abundance and a a future desired reality. A Toltec tradition, paralleling similar techniques from other world cultures, of creating reality through imagination, felt and written. Write it! Invites us to create our new world paradigm individually and collectively.
New Fire, To Die, To Die
Paper, Foil, wood, digital projection
6’ x 8’
The New Fire ceremony in ancient Mexico marked the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new one. During this ceremony a possibility of personal renewal becomes a reality, the chance for significant collective renewal is equally present. The ceremony is based on the Mesoamérican calendar -a system that emerged with the Olmec civilization, passing through time and geography to be used in one form or another by the Mayans, Zapotecs, Toltecs and up to the Aztecs and Purépecha. In this unique moment in time, as we experience the global upheaval that the pandemic has brought into plain sight-exposing to the world the inadequacies of our current systems-built upon a long and living history of oppression. We see in the undeniable truth of entrenched institutional discrimination, of marginalization and the rampant growth of inequalities. This work embodies the uprising of the individual and collective outcry to end the current problematic structures and ways of operating within us and externally in systems at large. This New fire, on paper hands (representing the collective of humanity) ushers in the death of the current problematic paradigms. The end of one cycle and the start of a new one.
Coatl and Manifesting Hands
Wood shavings, pigment, wood
A symbol meaning "ancestor" is embedded in the body and emerging from the mouth of a snake. The snake, in Mesoamérican art history, symbolizes death and transformation. Death of an old world and the birthing of a new one. Knowing that during this time of death and rebirth in our country we are being supported and surrounded by all the people in our lineage that came before us.
Surrounding the snake are hands with writing/drawing tools or wands to signifying the individual and collective power to create a new reality, through imagination to write, to draw, to project a new story, a new desired future reality.
El símbolo que significa “ancestro” se encuentra adentro del cuerpo, y sale de la boca de una serpiente. La serpiente, en la historia de arte de Mesoamérica, significa muerte y transformación. La muerte de un viejo mundo y el nacimiento de uno nuevo. Sabiendo que, en este tiempo de muerte y renacimiento en nuestro país estamos apoyados y guiados de todos nuestros antepasados familiares que vinieron antes. Alrededor de la serpiente hay manos con pinceles, brochas o varita de magia significando el poder individual y colectiva de crear una nueva realidad, con imaginación a escribir, dibujar, pintar, una nueva historia, una realidad nueva y deseable.
inspired by the growing up making Mexican paper flowers, piñatas and papel picado Mexican popular paper crafts demonstrate enormous creativity and skills of contemporary Latinx culture and is rooted in their ancient indigenous history. A kind of textile was used by Mesoamerican cultures as a paper from the beginning of the first millennium BC (3000 years ago"papel de China" or paper from China papel picado, mexican paper flowers, piñatas is a popular Mexican papercraft, When the Spanish arrived in Mexico, they brought European paper as well as brightly colored tissue paper from Asia. Though ámate paper paintings are still made today-The majority of bark paper that had been used since precolombian times was replaced with European paper and the delicate tissue paper known as papel chino in Mexico.
Alfombras orginate within indigenous populations especially in Mexico and parts of Guatemala. They are made during present day catholic rituals but the tradition dates back to precolombian times laying down fruit in honor of the gods of the harvest and carpets made from feathers of exotic birds such as hummingbirds, macaws and quetzals.