Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself

I am thrilled to say that my work has been chosen to be included in an upcoming group exhibition, Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself, at the Cigar Factory Gallery, curated by Krista Scenna and Carolina Peñafiel. The curators asked artists to create new pieces - works on paper - to interpret the theme, drawing connections between the art-makers of LIC with the history of the space. I don't normally do works on paper, but I decided to stretch myself and come up with something different. My offering is an installation, "Spirit of Tobacco," which endeavors to tie in traditions of tobacco farmers, cigar makers, indigenous practices, and my own family history.

My offering, "Spirit of Tobacco"

In considering the theme of this show, Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself, at the Cigar Factory, I recalled my father telling me about growing up on a farm in the mountains of Puerto Rico, and how one of his very first tasks as a child was to hang tobacco leaves to dry. I thought about this art exhibit’s aim to draw connections between the factory’s cigar-makers of this past with LIC’s current community of art-makers, of which I am one. I thought about deepening that connection to the people who farm tobacco, and practices that go back to Native Americans, and particularly Taíno Indians of Puerto Rico. Taínos and other Indigenous traditions use tobacco in ritual practice, believing the plant has a powerful energy, a Tobacco Spirit; which I have endeavored to honor in creating these works for Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself at the Cigar Factory. 

Spirit of Tobacco pieces are connected to my Boricua Sankofa series (2015-present).

"Spirit of Tobacco" consists of a paper sculptural installation, along with three acrylic paintings on paper, supplemented by a short video piece and an audio interview with my father, recalling life as a child on a farm in Puerto Rico, circa 1940. The video and audio pieces are hosted here, on this blog as the paper artworks hang at the exhibition. 

Background music, "La Herencia de Mi Papa (the Heritage of My Father)" by Ecos de Borinquen

Phone interview with my dad, recalling childhood life on a farm in Juncos/Humacao, Puerto Rico, circa 1940.

One part of larger paper sculpture: Spirit of Tobacco – Dried Bunches, May 2018. 
Installation of paper, yarn and wood.

1.     Lorie Caval, Spirit of Tobacco – Personified, May 2018.
Acrylic paint on paper, 9” x 12”

2.    Lorie Caval, Spirit of Tobacco -  Drying Shed, May 2018.
Acrylic paint on paper, 9” x 12”
3.    Lorie Caval, Spirit of TobaccoTaína Portrait, June 2018. Acrylic paint on paper, 9” x 12"

I will make another blog post after the exhibition opening event, with more photos of the artwork in situ.

Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself

Independent curators, Krista Scenna, of Brooklyn's Ground Floor Gallery and Carolina Peñafiel, of Local Project in Queens, are thrilled to welcome the historic Cigar Factory back to Long Island City with a new generation of makers: New York City’s talented emerging artists!

A group exhibition featuring dozens of local, contemporary artists, the exhibition pays homage to the Cigar Factory's past as a thriving network of local makers by inviting New York City’s living artists - the current generation of makers - to show original, new works on or made with paper in all media.

Cigar manufacturing was a dominant industry in New York City from the late 19th century into the early 20th century. Established in 1896, The DeNobili Cigar Factory in Long Island City operated for decades, employing thousands of local makers to roll and pack the tabaco by hand until the factory moved operations outside of New York City in 1960. In 2017, the former industrial hub was repurposed to a modern, mixed-use creative space. 

Allow me to Reintroduce Myself  

An Art Exhibition for the New Cigar Factory LIC
9-20 35th Avenue, LIC/Queens, NYC 11106
Welcome Party: Thursday, June 21, 5 – 9pm
Refreshments will be served.
Viewing Hours:
Thursday, July 12th: 3-7pm
Closing Party: Thursday, July 19th, 5 – 9pm
Join us in welcoming the new Cigar Factory back to New York City! 100+ Artists Based in New York City will be showing original artwork made with paper ranging from photography and collage to drawings, sculpture, and installation!
Almost all artworks are priced under $1,000 in keeping with the exhibition’s spirit of accessibility.
Meet and support your talented artist community at next Thursday’s welcome party from 5 – 9pm

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