A New Artistic Endeavor at Plaza Mariachi
WORDS DeeGee Lester
Held in awe and prominent in mythologies across tropical regions (Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and West Africa), the Ceiba tree is a microcosm of the world. Often growing to a height over 200 feet, the Ceiba (pronounced SAYba) can have buttress roots taller than a man, and the massive umbrella shape of its canopy is home to diverse species of birds, insects, and animals, while its base pools shelter tadpoles and other creatures—a reminder of the connectedness of all creation.
Jorge Yances, curator/director of Ceiba Gallery at the new Plaza Mariachi, hopes this unique space likewise serves as a broad artistic canopy uniting cultures and traditions.
“My passion is my art, and I don’t want to leave that behind,” says Colombian-born Yances, “but I want the gallery to be a place where Latin artists can feel proud to display their work. It starts with Latin artists, but we want to expand to include artists from a diversity of cultures and age groups.”
Encouraged by the sponsoring Hispanic Family Foundation to open with his own stunning Realismo Mágico paintings—selections focusing on the architecture of Cartagena—Yances expanded the artistic conversation to include a powerful installation, The Journey, on the story of immigration.
Adjacent to the fine art gallery is an Artisan Studio focusing on education, crafts, and emerging artists. This space currently features complex works of art by Piedad Camacho Ayala using figue (rope) and other natural fibers, as well as the artistic construction of guitars by Ricardo Sanchez (Ricardo S. Guitars).
The educational component of the gallery within this space offers kids an opportunity to explore the history of fiber, decorate ceramic vases with Aztec designs, or create mini guitars or their own fiber art. On Saturdays and Sundays (2 to 4 p.m.) Ceiba Kids programs based on current exhibitions tumble into a large adjacent hallway, with educational activities led by Monica Reyna and Diane Janbakhsh who, with her husband, Mark, conceptualized and parented the exciting Plaza Mariachi complex on Nolensville Pike.
Upcoming exhibitions bring a diversity of cultural and artistic traditions beginning with Mexico. Manuel, the maestro of fashion in entertainment, will showcase his magnificent jackets as works of art, alongside experimental “stream of consciousness” paintings by Yuri Figueroa, and Rafael Saenz Felix’s Pinton Popular (popular art)—works reminiscent, in theme and use of color, of the tradition of Frida Kahlo. Future exhibitions will focus on artists from Cuba and Argentina, as well as Nashville artist Michael McBride.
Through it all, Yances is taking the traditional art gallery concept and, like the great Ceiba tree, allowing it to expand, house, and connect a diversity of cultures and artistic voices.
For more information, please visit www.plazamariachi.com/business/hff-ceiba-art-gallery.