Announcing Spanish Heritage Exchange Residents
August 17, 2018
The Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain and SPAIN-USA Foundation have envisioned a cultural exchange residency between New Orleans, Louisiana and Las Palmas, Canary Islands to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences between creators from Spain and the United States through artist residencies and to explore themes related to artistic and cultural heritage from a creative and multidisciplinary perspective. These residencies address the general theme of heritage and conservation, focusing on the interrelationships between art and culture, the use (and re-uses) of heritage sites, new opportunities and public participation in the context of the city and our society.
The calls for artists were announced in April and artists were selected in early July. From New Orleans, artist Monique Verdin will travel to live and work at La Regenta, an art center in Las Palmas of the Canary Islands. From the Canary Islands, artist Julio Blancas will come to New Orleans to live and work at A Studio in the Woods. The two artists will overlap during their time in both regions and will come together to explore the shared cultural and environmental concerns of the Canary Islands and the Gulf Coast. The residencies will span October 22 – December 14, 2018 and honor New Orleans’ tricentennial year and Spanish roots.
About the Artists:
Julio Blancas was born in 1967 in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. He studied art at Las Escuelas de Artes Plásticas in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria and sculpture in Santa Cruz, Tenerife. He works mainly with pencil or graphite on paper, canvas, or satellite dishes and has participated in more than forty group exhibitions and seven solo exhibitions in both his home in Gran Canaria, Spain as well as other countries such as Belgium, Italy, and Germany. Working almost exclusively with pencil and graphite, Blancas uses nature as a source of inspiration. His methodology is simple: to fill the artistic surface by repeating the essential graphic gesture – the line. The line made with graphite reflects light, creates subtle gradations, and molds forms that arise from the opacity of the black surface. Blancas works with the idea of memory, simulating natural spaces that serve as mental landscapes. These landscapes provide a strongly structural sense of the end result through the art’s intention and meaning.
Monique Verdin has been intimately documenting the complex interconnectedness of environment, economics, culture, climate and change in southeast Louisiana for decades. Her indigenous Houma relatives, their lifeways at the ends of the bayous, and the realities of restoration and adaptation in the heart of America’s Mississippi River Delta have been the primary focus of her work. Monique is the subject/co-writer/co-producer of the award-winning documentary My Louisiana Love (2012). Her interdisciplinary work has been included in an assortment of environmentally inspired projects, including the multiplatform performance ecoexperience Cry You One (2012-2017) as well as the publication Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (2013). Monique is a member of the United Houma Nation Tribal Council and is director of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange; an experiential project engaged in building a community record through cultural happenings, strategic installations and as a digital archive to share stories, native seeds and local knowledge.