Cheo cuenta MAPEA



Talleres MAPEA en el Calvario y casco del Hatillo, Caracas 2018

Video de Andres Catalano

MAPEA: Natalya Critchley, Cheo Carvajal, Monica Santander, Yoandy Medina con el apoyo del Sr Jose Gonzalez y Carlos Barreto de la Co-operativa en el Calvario

Talleres con los estudiantes de 4to, 5to y 6to grado de las escuelas Maria May (el Calvario) y Juan Manuel Cajigal (en el casco del Hatillo)

Walking, mapping, opening doors


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Connection Calvario-Hatillo town centre

An essential condition for a sustainable city is that it can be walked around comfortably and safely.  That it should be accesible to all.  Another is that it should be mixed, not only in it’s uses -residential, offices, public spaces and features-, but socially as well.  Another condition? To achieve a balance with whatever natural features still exist: water courses, green spaces, trees, biological diversity. Even though it sounds obvious the air must be clean to be able to breath properly! But also in a metaphorical sense, what is on offer should be so diverse that you just want to be there, day or night. That ‘inhabitability’ leads us to an additional wish: it must be enjoyable.

With that wish and those ideas we carried out a series of eight workshops in November of 2018 with 4th, 5th and 6th grade children from the municipal schools Maria May (in El Calvario) and Juan Manuel Cajigal (El Hatillo town centre).  We made walking tours and large collective maps with each group.  We “opened doors” to connect with the city, the one we have now and the one we’d like for tomorrow.  Why do we do this with children? Because they’re fundamental participants in urban transformation, to make it more integrated and fair.  It’s a learning process that begins with awakening that sensibility and stimulating empowerment.

Walking, mapping, opening doors is the latest MAPEA project, a group that was brought together by Natalya Critchley -a British artist resident in Venezuela for more than 30 years-. The first was the exhibition San Agustin del Sur Tourism Office in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Caracas in 2015, where we established a methodology that combined several verbs: to walk, to feel, to reflect upon, to map out, to act upon.  A visual project with children and adolescents from local schools connecting them with cultural centres with which unexplainably there is no connection.

On this occasion a bridge was established between school and gallery, and also between the barrio and the town centre. And a connection with a cultural milestone that is now four years old, El Calvario open doors. This exhibition, as in the previous ones organised by Natalya and MAPEA, is part of a call to attention for recognition of our barrios -that house a little more than half of the Caracas population in just a quarter of the urban territory- as a fundamental part of the city.

In these shapes and lines we can appreciate the sinuous contours or grids of the city in the same painting.  The contained and the overflowing.  The greenness, splashing everywhere. Behind the painterly beauty of these maps, where individual effort is part of the group energy -just as in the city-, it leaves us with an experience that begs the question: if most of us move around on foot, why is the space for vehicles so wide and so narrow for pedestrians?  Why do most of the pedestrian crossings not have ramps?  Why do we leave the wild vegetation to grow without paying any attention to it to then hack it back, why can’t we treat it as a garden?  Why don’t the barrios appear on our maps most of the time? Why are so many parks closed?  Why isn’t the city more like a permanent place of study for schools?  Why do we live so shut away indoors?

This small exhibition -this intense immersive experience- spills out from the container/gallery and will share the spotlight with the streets of El Calvario this December 22nd, as part of the 4th edition of El Calvario Open Doors. Each map blazons it’s individuality – that which is unrepeatable, but they all ‘breath’ a similar air to Natalya’s own work,  who as the generator of this project appears in a subtle way in these shapes, textures and colours.  A subtle landscape that invites us to walk through it with our gaze and see the city through new eyes.

Workshops: Natalya Critchley, Cheo Carvajal, Monica Santander, Yoandy Medina  

Video: Andres Catalano 

Graphic design: Diana Chollett

Exhibition design and hanging: MAPEA, Edgar Marquez, Franklin Garcia

Continue reading “Walking, mapping, opening doors”

Papermill DNA

This pop-up exhibition is the result of my participation in the Prairie Ronde Artist Residency series here in Vicksburg, MI. The programme was established as part of the Papermill renovation project.  The drawings were carried out both onsite at the mill, and in the Hills Pharmacy as the idea for the show was developed.

expo complete view

It was fascinating to finally visit a papermill building, I had already seen many in the area. In Parchment, Kalamazoo there is a huge abandoned factory that I was very curious about when I first saw it, but was warned it was difficult to get into and dangerous. Having been such an important industry in the region I was sure there must be an opportunity somewhere. So, on reading about this residency programme I could hardly contain my enthusiasm, and it was very rewarding to be admitted.

My initial reaction on visiting the mill was admiration for the early industrial architecture, as in the specialised designs for the work spaces required at the beginning of the last century, with so many windows to make the most of natural light.  The beautiful wooden beam structure of the top floor of the East wing, which allows overhead light in through the roof with north facing windows, would make the perfect studio for any artist.  And it goes to show the attention to detail for producing a high quality product, since it was here that the cotton rags were first sorted before washing and beating into pulp. Continue reading “Papermill DNA”

Prairie Ronde residency

This week I was so happy to begin drawing at an old paper mill in Vicksburg, a thirty minute drive from Kalamazoo. This is part of the Prairie Ronde residency programme which has been ongoing while the renovation of the mill is in the planning stages. Paper mills are dotted along the rivers all around these towns, it was a big part of Michigan history at the beginning of the last century. Getting to find out more about that history through the buildings themselves and the communities that grew up around them has been fascinating.

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Jouya Siruumamüin/ Camino a las nubes

Proyecto MAPEA/Natalya Critchley

MAPEA define la acción del equipo transdisciplinario que acompaña a la artista Natalya Critchley en el desarrollo de un método creativo, grupal, experimental, de elaboración de mapas visuales a gran escala sobre papel, que son el resultado plástico de sucesivas experiencias movilizadas por la artista en entornos urbanos diversos.

Consiste en un proceso de trabajo que involucra, en un determinado contexto local, a un grupo de estudiantes y docentes de educación básica con practicas creativas de reconocimiento de su entorno, basadas en la acción consciente de caminar el espacio publico, de andar la calle, identificando los propios referentes locales, espaciales, geográficos, urbanos, peatonales, y la reflexión  en torno a los modos -impuestos, o posibles- de ejercer y/o modificar esos recorridos en su territorio. 

Continue reading “Jouya Siruumamüin/ Camino a las nubes”