“Nature, colors, spirituality, self-knowledge, beauty and the power of black women and ancestral matrix cultures,” says Criola about the things that inspire her.
The Brazilian muralist is in downtown Las Vegas to paint a bold diptych called “Black Girl Magic,” for the 3-day Life is Beautiful Festival.
She says she’s happy to pursue aesthetically pleasing projects while being aware that there is always the burden of the past that has formed this Afro Brazilian woman from “a matriarchal family of black women who were forced to be strong and resistant because of structural racism since the colonization of my country.” The portrait that looms above people walking through town here is elegant and proud and full of splendid ideas that pop around her head, like so many cosmically exploding afro-puffs.
Criola says she gravitates toward painting black women “to exalt and represent, in a positive way, an aesthetic that should be positioned in a place of honor and appreciation. It also means being a protagonist in the evolution process of my individual consciousness, and collective consciousness, which involves the use of my power and artistic exploration games to deconstruct systems of oppression that are still very much present in Brazil.”
Criola is invited to Life is Beautiful by the women-led curator group Justkids.
Just after seeing Billie Eilish or Young Thug at the “Life is Beautiful Festival” in September you could wander over through vintage Las Vegas to check out the new fluorescent diptych by street artist Spidertag. It’s an installation that happily recalls a heyday most visitors didn’t experience, but are drawn to.
The Spaniard has brought his glowing vocabulary here in a way that is evocative of that which once distinguished the nighttime streetscape of Sin City. “Electrified eye candy” is how curator Charlotte Dutoit of Justkids describes it, and in fact, the simplicity of shapes appears romantically nostalgic in a modern time that seems cluttered with visual complexity.
The modern twist is that Spider Tag made his installation interactive, allowing visitors to alter the colors if they want. His installation joins the success of street artist Felipe Pantone’s first-ever-solar powered neon mural here a few years ago – and looking at the poster letter style of this year’s poster – It’s an aesthetic that many are enamored with.
We hope that “Summer Always Blooms” – and so far so good this year. If you follow the order of flowers blooming in Brooklyn you’ll know that we are in the middle of the peony explosion that happens every year just after the lilacs and just before the roses. Perhaps that’s what was on muralist Ouizi’s mind when she painted this new soft brush portrait of coral charm peonies in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Curated by Charlotte Dutoit of Justkids, the piece coincidences with the new Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at Crystal Bridges, and you can see that the full pulsating expanse of natural blooms thrills Quizi as much as it did the mother of American modernism.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed being back in Arkansas for this project,” says Ouizi, “and I have heard nothing but positive responses about the mural. I even got to see the dogwoods start to bloom in real life!”
If you are in Bentonville you can see Anne Vieux’s “captivating illusion of a hyper-fluid space” at the Skylight Cinema building.
A psychedelia of this moment, the modulated visual liquid was produced by the artists use of digital copies made of shiny aluminum papers. Printed on vinyl, she transformed this exterior into a trippy grid of lenswork that allows passersby to see fields that instantly challenge imaginations.
Vieux says she enjoys stretching beyond limits of data and physical space, a description analogous for some with cinema itself.
“In this piece, I wanted to disrupt the solid geometries of the architecture with a hyperreal fluid painting placed in the landscape,” she says, and something in the description makes it conversant with the chaos and surrealist quality of US life today.
“I reflected on these ideas in a cultural/political context,” says Vieux, “thinking that a larger takeaway of this piece is that through disrupting and dissolving boundaries we can create a fluid open space where there’s room to unite.”
Now you can see, right?
This project is curated by Charlotte Dutoit of Justkids, and commissioned by Oz Art. The piece is part of ARkanvas.
Have you noticed that the air and sky in your city is cleaner than you ever remember it to be? Car traffic is down, plane traffic is scant. Many polluting industries have had no workers in the last few months either. Mother Nature is happy.
One wonders about the connection between our outright
slaughter of nature and the fact that this virus is wreaking havoc on our
physical health and economies. Mother Nature inserts herself into every
conversation eventually – what fools we were to think that we were separate
Street Artist OKUDA San Miguel says that he has been inspired by Mother Nature in his new commission for that natural oasis Las Vegas. Creating 3 new sculptures and a mural inspired by Mayahuel, the Mexican goddess of agave and fertility, his fragmented pop surrealist dreams will great guests and invite them to gamble the future at this luxury resort. He created this installation in coordination with Justkids founder and curator Charlotte Dutoit and he’s calling it “Mother Natura”.