Art + Art History Student and Alumni Fulfill Residency in Ecuador


Alumni Andres Ramirez and Sofia Bastidas, local artisan Herlinda Gonzales, Eddison Peñafiel, and BFA student Nathalie Alfonso

This past summer, College of Architecture + the Arts student Nathalie Alfonso and alumnus Andres Ramirez fulfilled an artists’ residency in Ecuador. With the help of the gallery Dwelling Projects and the Ecuadorian property La Factoria, Alfonso and Ramirez used art to absorb the local community and environment.

_DSC0287Alfonso, who is a Bachelor of Fine Arts student at FIU, said, “I wanted to see what it was like to be making art in a different environment and I knew that the experience would only help me grow as an artist.” Alfonso and three other artists – who, like Alfonso, were born in Latin America – stayed in a house in Santa Elena, Ecuador. The residence was run by La Factoria, which provides various programs for artists, architects, and agriculturalists. At this location, alumnus Andres Ramirez, Edison Peñafiel, and Sofia Bastidas – who founded Dwelling Projects with Alfonso – assisted the FIU student in creating an installation piece made of local materials. (The image on the left shows Alfonso directing the installation procedure at the La Factoria property.) Bastidas, who, also, is a CARTA alumna with a BA in Art History, valued this opportunity for Alfonso and the other artists. She said, “We chose a foreign country because we believe that traveling and learning from other environments can fuel our understanding in the arts and open our perspective on how to create using new materials and techniques.”

On October 4th, the artists will present a group exhibition, called (Un)Common Traces, at the Boynton Beach Art District. Alfonso’s piece in the show will be a large structure that includes materials like organic shapes, burlap fabric, and charcoal. The piece will represent her experiences in Ecuador. “I believe [it] is important to show the results of the thirty days’ residency,” said Alfonso, “because being there brought new questions to my body of work.” Being in a different environment and social setting affected Alfonso’s view on her own artistic methods. According to the artist, the global learning experience impacted her “profoundly.” “Now that I’m back, I see how the thirty days’ experience made myself grow[,] and how I’m looking for new projects to share here.”

The opening day of the exhibition (Un)Common Traces will be Friday, October 4 at the Boynton Beach Art District, 422 West Industrial Avenue, Boynton Beach, Florida 33426. For more information, call (786) 521-1199.

Dwelling Projects currently has an open call for exhibition. For more information, click here.

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