Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: Her gaze on the Caribbean distinguishes her in the UK

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[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] In “Su mirada al Caribe la destaca en Reino Unido,” Aixa Sepúlveda (NotiCel) provides information on Puerto Rican artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, one of the artists shortlisted for the Artes Mundi 9 awards. [See previous post Artes Mundi 9 (Shortlist).] Sepúlveda writes:

Puerto Rican artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz leads a lifetime linked to art. Her memories as a child take her to the days when her mother, a lawyer by profession, used to draw and passed on her skills. She grew up believing that all adults can draw anything. And today, as an adult, her thinking has not changed much. “I think that everyone is born with that ability, that it is a basic skill and that they can do it, but we have a structure and certain ways of thinking, which tell people what things to leave behind, and thinking in visual terms is left behind. But I grew up knowing that thinking visually is important,” she tells NotiCel.

After completing studies at the University of Chicago, Beatriz returned to the Island with all the energy needed to launch her creativity. However, she was never drawn towards the commercial aspects. On the contrary, she dedicated herself to everything artisanal and experimental—areas that have given her an identity as an artist.

“I returned to Puerto Rico in 1999, and what became clear to me is that I had to invent a way of working for which the bizarre budgets of industrial cinema were not necessary. I did not want to work with a very large team, but rather a more artisanal way of working alone or with someone who recorded the sounds of the country, and not with actors, but with people I knew, to whom I proposed situations in which they could play and invent with me,” the details.

This was how she shaped film projects in which she exhibits her visual thinking, what she understood as a child through her mother and the normalization of what art is.

“I do not consider it a social issue, but the vernacular or as the way of seeing and thinking from that place where I am. I wanted to find a way to bring attention to the Caribbean sensory space, Puerto Rico, San Juan, how it looks and feels from here. It means that I need to improvise with different visual structures that are not the inherited ones, which are not the ones that are commonly seen in film,” she emphasizes. “When you work with stories that have to do with the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, or women, you think of it as a social issue but it is not necessarily so,” says the artist.

This type of film based on long periods of observation and research has attracted the attention of many, to the point that she was nominated and shortlisted for Artes Mundi 9, the main international prize for contemporary art in the United Kingdom.

Beatriz’s work has been recognized through the Creative Capital Visual Art Award (2015) and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2017), among others. [. . .]

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For original article, in Spanish, see https://www.noticel.com/pop-/su-mirada-al-caribe-la-destaca-en-reino-unido/1128578132

[Image above from Beatriz Santiago Muñoz’s Ojos para mis enemigos; accessed via   http://www.fabricainutil.com/index.php/project/ojos-para-mis-enemigos/.]

For more on Artes Mundi, see http://www.artesmundi.org/

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