Map of an Identity
The thread that runs through my work is ancestry—the collection of inseparable qualities that, through blood and culture and beyond my ability to control, made me who I am. I cannot control past events that have shaped me, but I can choose how I regard my essential self.
In this conceptual pursuit, I am addressing several areas. How do culture, verbal language and visual language affect the thinking process of bilingual experiences? Is there another visual world within the one already in my work? And, how can visual schematics convey more than one possibility or be used as a metaphor to convey more than one idea?
I often use the image of a house structure to represent home—but are there other, more subtle properties within the schematic of a house structure that could expand that meaning? Can such schematics create visual riddles?
My artwork reflects these questions and experiences frames within frames. Exteriors blend with interiors and geometric shapes contrast with the organic to reveal shadings of womanhood, home relationships, environment and roots. Color and texture create an atmosphere of emotional and spiritual evolution.
This discourse on ancestry is represented by memories that are woven or contemplated through symbols of passage: windows, arches, doorways and gates. What I see, remember or pass through includes elements of family, culture and religion as well as social, racial and gender facets of life. In a word: Identity.
1952 | Puerto Rico
Lives and works in Memphis, USA
1982 | Professor Emeritus at the Memphis College of Art where she was professor of fine arts and the head of printmaking
1977 | MFA, Pratt Institute, NYC, USA
1974 | BFA, Universidad de Puerto Rico
Founder and Director of the Atabeira Press studio
2018 | Pacific States Biennial, Hilo Campus Center Gallery, Hilo University, Hawaii, USA
2017 | Theatre in the square, Memphis College of Art Gallery, Memphis, USA
2016 | Small Show, Jay Etkins Gallery Memphis TN, USA
2015 | My South, Crosstown Arts, Latin Art in Memphis, USA
2014 | Southern Printmaking Biennal VI International, Bob Owens Art Gallery, University of Northern Georgia, USA
AWARDS AND RESIDENCIES
2018 | Klyce Family Fund Benjamin Goodman Faculty Award
2017 | Awagami paper factory, workshop, Japan
2008 | Non toxic impressions, workshop with Henrik Boegh, Capileira, Spain
2003-2009 | Solar Plate Workshop, Santa Reparata Graphic Arts Centre, Florencia, Italia
Georgia College & State University
Latin American Woman Artists of the United States
Map of an Identity
Map of an Identity was a new search for Maritza Dávila, one that adds to her perennial question about her origins as well as serving as an excuse to make her childhood in Puerto Rico present again. A time full of diverse knowledge, rituals and magic.
A series of silk aquatint composed by the superposition and combination of words and iconography of her tripartite identity: Taina – Spanish – African.
During her artistic process, Maritza plays freely with memories, experiences, movements, expressions, colors and sounds that have shaped her.
“The thread that runs through my work is ancestry—the collection of inseparable qualities that, through blood and culture and beyond my ability to control, made me who I am. I cannot control past events that have shaped me, but I can choose how I regard my essential self.”
Artists in Dialogue
Color: Africa was a very special night with five women artists presenting their very powerful pieces. Its name comes from the fact that Africa was present through its colors and its geopolitical and social history in two important exhibitions.
Mariela Yeregui (Argentina) presented “Just a Face”, an installation simultaneously spread in the Dialogue Space and the Central Hall. Based on the technique of African wax-dyed textiles, the proposal displays a series of fabrics that shaped an installation to reflect on the Rwandan genocide. The work is also imbued with the own experiences of the artist who, simultaneously with the historical events, was residing in West Africa.
In dialogue with the vibrant colors of Mariela’s fabrics, the Polyglot Room was occupied by “Map of an Identity” an exhibition by Maritza Dávila produced during her second residency with us (the first was in 2011). As an artist of color born in Puerto Rico (but who emigrated to the United States since her college days and now based in Memphis), Maritza reflects on her triple Taino, Spanish and African identity. The artist seeks to amplify voices that have been largely ignored but are in fact and deed contributing to the changing demographic and cultural dynamic of the contemporary world.
In addition, Ann Kresge (United States, an exquisite artist bookmaker) displayed in the workshop several artist books made during her residency with us. Ann has been a member of the famous Woman Studio Workshop in New York and her works are at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the MET in New York and the Getty Center in California. The exhibitions included as well Canadian artist Chloe Charce´s lighting installations. Finally, Lucía Sancinetti´s ethereal works, in the Transversal Space, were selected in the 2018 Semillero Program for Argentine emerging artists.
Group exhibition ´ace Collection
Territories is an exhibition curated by Adriana Moracci among artworks from the ‘ace collection. The aims of this selection is to allow us to reflect upon political, economic, linguistic and corporal territories. They have been interpreted by contemporary artists through photography, performance and printmaking.
ABOUT TERRITORIES (by Adriana Moracci
Territory is a defined, outlined and demarcated place that provides belonging and identity to whom occupy it. In some cases it is a place to access or emigrate. The territory notion goes beyond a determined border. Although the etymology of the word indicates land or field not every community has its own physical territory, but yes, all have their own idiosyncrasy, language and culture that unites and links. The body is also a territory, one that is always present and constantly changing. A territory that contains and links us with the other, through verbal and corporal language. A territory that enables encounter with the ancestral and the primary.