Coralina Rodriguez Meyer, Double Consciousness Infinity Mirror, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and The Immigrant Artist Biennial.
On view in the gallery storefront window on Norfolk Street between Broome and Delancey
Cuchifritos Gallery is pleased to partner with The Immigrant Artist Biennial to present the storefront project Santuarios Gestion Desmadres. Viewable at all times from the gallery’s street-facing windows along Norfolk Street, Coralina Rodriguez Meyer’s installation presents two Mother Mold body casts and a Linea Negra photograph within a domestic environment framed by tropical greenery.
The retablo, or tableaux, creates a street-side sanctuary of neon rituals, fertile flora, and endangered fauna vibrating in Latinx and Caribbean diaspora immigrant communities. Centering Q+BIPOC ancestral life-cycle traditions, Rodriguez Meyer’s multimedia practice and community organizing celebrates doulas that deliver lifesaving reproductive healthcare and matriarchal interdependence.
In 2007 Rodriguez Meyer received an infertility diagnosis. Aware of the failures of the public health system to serve women of color, Rodriguez Meyer hosted her first Mama Spa Botanica workshop in part for her own self-care, but also to build agency for her Miami community. Since then, the artist has held dozens of workshops with members of medical, academic, community health, and environmental justice fields. Also offering cultural medicine sanctuaries to low-income, immigrant, LGBTQIA+BIPOC diaspora, she calls her work “ethnic ethics,” and teaches a range of Indigenous American and Creole practices. Working closely with Nicky Dawkins, a Jamaican Creole griot and doula and the founder of Period Market Foundation, Rodriguez Meyers shares Andean and Creole knowledge as a collaborative, critical tool for resisting assimilation and embracing self preservation.
Foregrounding her call for social justice, Double Consciousness Infinity Mirror (Doula Nicky Dawkins) is a photograph of Dawkins eight months into her own pregnancy. As a doula she provides important care and advocacy for pregnant and delivering women, particularly those of color. The profession is contested by hospital administrators and state legislators highlighting the pressures on immigrant communities to assimilate within hierarchies of race, class, and gender. Miami has the highest hospital infant and maternal mortality rates in North America, a devastating fallout of colorism. U.S. and American hierarchies in which people are assessed by their skin color is made visible in the photograph which is part of the series “Linea Negra,” named for the medical term for a darkened area of the skin that appears naturally during pregnancy. Amidst this maternal health crisis, the holographic layers of Meyer Rodriguez’s photograph marks resistance in the face of erasure.
Today, belly casting–which enables the creation of sculptures of the pregnant body–is popular and accessible. Rodriguez Meyers’s two Mother Mold sculptures are made with this technique. Building on this method, the artist uses molds that are also overlaid with domestic waste such as latex gloves, birth control pills, children’s trinkets, glitter nail acrylic powder, and other utilitarian objects that both warn and adorn their user. These sculptures reference two historical precedents: Andean mummification and death masks commissioned by French 18th century revolutionaries. Many current self-care rituals mirror embalming and preservation in mummification, extending into the practice of belly casting itself. While death masks, wax heads cast from the guillotined aristocrats, were paraded around the streets to prove the possibility of democracy. Overall, Santuarios Gestion Desmadres serves as a political proposal documentation that enacts matriarchal preservation.
Concurrently with Rodriguez Meyer’s TIAB solo presentation at Cuchifritos Gallery, her work with African fertility effigies and contemporary American indigenous heirlooms will be on view at University of Maryland Art Gallery.
Santuarios Gestion Desmadresis part of The Immigrant Artist Biennial 2023: Contact Zone held across venues in New York and New Jersey from September 2023 to January 2024. Find the full program here.
Born in a car in an Everglades swamp and raised queer between a rural U.S. South immigrant community and the Caribbean, Coralina Rodriguez Meyer is a mixed-race indigenous Andinx (Colombian Muisca/Peruvian Inca), Brooklyn and Miami-based Quipucamayoc artist. Spanning 20 years and 30 countries, Coralina has collaborated with reproductive justice leaders working across disciplines including architecture, activism, archives, documentary sculpture and moving images. She studied painting at MICA and anthropology at Hopkins and holds a BFA in Architecture from Parsons and MFA in Combined Media from Hunter College. Rodriguez Meyer received awards from Oolite Arts, VSArts, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, NYDCA, NYFA, South Arts, Miami Dade NEA, National Latino Arts & Culture and YoungArts and has been a resident of Mildred’s Lane and the Bronx Museum AIM program. She was a research fellow at Museo Machu Picchu Peru, Syracuse University Florence, Artist’s Institute NYC and Universitat Der Kunst Berlin studying Nazi Utopian urban design with Hito Steyerl. Rodriguez Meyer has exhibited at Queens Museum, Bronx Museum, Perez Art Museum Miami, Smithsonian Museum, Kunsthaus Brethanien Berlin, Colonial Florida Cultural Heritage Museum, CAC New Orleans, and Bronx River Art Center, among others.
The Immigrant Artist Biennial presents the work of immigrant artists through various formats, facilitating a platform of support for projects by often overlooked and silenced voices. Founded in 2019 by its artistic director Ukrainian-born, NYC-based artist Katya Grokhovsky, TIAB is fiscally sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts and funded through its host partners, grants, sponsorships, donations, and its Patron Circle.
Artists Alliance Inc.is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization located on the Lower East Side of New York City within the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center. Cuchifritos Gallery is supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Exhibition programming is made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and the National Endowment for the Arts. We thank the New York City Economic Development Corporation and individual supporters of Artists Alliance Inc for their continued support. Special thanks go to our team of dedicated volunteers and interns, without whom this program would not be possible.