College of Architecture + The Arts

Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts

Modesto A. Maidique Campus
Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture Building
11200 SW 8th Street Miami, Florida 33199

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MFA Students Exhibit Their Art in Downtown Little Haiti

The beauty and diversity of Florida International University’s student body was brought to the forefront this past Friday at the Laundromat Art Space in the heart of downtown Little Haiti. The exhibit named ‘Thirteen squared’ showcased art pieces from fourteen Masters of Fine Arts candidates, each representing their unique culture and background in their work.

The MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program allows its students to explore different theories in art; to push beyond their comfort zone and become well-versed in the different aspects that embody the word ‘art’. This Friday’s exhibit featured a vast array of mediums, everything from sculptures to digital photography to materials such as used fabrics and granite.

Some of the contributing students gave statements on their work below:

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“My inspiration was based on my visit to the Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center in Key Largo. Since my work is mostly about Florida and the ecology, I compiled references of the birds that were being rehabilitated there to create something honest about birds. The inland tree in the piece is called a Florida strangler fig, and the fact that it is overtaken by water creates inactivity by the birds loosely representing a social structure – Michael Gray, For the Birds, Acrylic on linen.

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“My work is focusing on how the black body operates in society and how certain pressures from the outside, work their way within and distort inner peace. I started the program working on the boundaries of the body; now this portion deals with how the black psyche deals with micro-aggression and internalized anti-blackness. For example, when encountering a racist comment and do you either confront them or smile and bear it? I like the idea because the smiles on these pieces could be misinterpreted; some people take them as happiness and pleasantness, other see rage. – Rhea Leonard, Tituba, graphite and acrylic on mylar”

“I have always investigated my family’s past. My father passed away and mother’s memory is fading so I can only make up certain things about the photographs I find. My work starts off with me covering the surface with charcoal and then erasing the image into it to reveal my experience with the photo. Some people ask, why I don’t include the faces? It is due to a nightmare I had with my father and since then it has felt better to keep the faces a mystery. – Diana Margarita Garcia, Remainders of You, Charcoal on board”

Rhea, Diana and Michael, together with their classmates, brought together their art pieces to make up a diverse, yet unified collection of innovative work. 

The Thirteen (squared) Exhibit will be open until Friday, October 21st at the Laundromat Art Space: 5900 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137 from 7 to 10PM.

For more information on our MFA program, please visit our website.

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