Show Of African-Mexican Art

Stone sculpture and collage-paintings with an African flavor
BY: ANAHI TALBOT

Local artist Tanya Talamante continues to stretch her wings as a master of textured supra-reality constructs. Her current series is an  intervention with the Shona tribe stone sculptors of Zimbabwe whose work is inspired by traditional Shona culture including the mythology, folklore, rituals, and beliefs in ancestral spirits that remain strong in urban Zimbabwe.

For the Shona, women are a significant source of inspiration: the nude torso, the dancing girl, mother, and child are depicted in many ways. The natural world and man’s relationship with nature is another important theme that reflects the country’s deep rural roots.

Talamante finds resonance with the Shona in their representations of Shona women and the tribe’s strong ties to family and nature. Her latest intervention art, the Afro-Mexican fusion series, is on exhibit starting  March third at the Muvezi gallery in the Gallery District of San Jose. The pieces are the artist’s blending of contemporary Mexican art merged with Zimbabwean expression creating unique pieces of universal art that go beyond an African-Latin language.

Talamante’s art works with a previously existing artwork. In this series she works with stone sculpture and collage-paintings. Muvezi has provided Talamante with unfinished Shona sculptures which she has used to paint the stone sculptures in traditional Mexican colors.

Her paintings include iconic Shona women where she incorporates multiple layers of paper, paint, and resin. Each work is meticulously constructed. The collage assemblages explore our cultural fascination with physical perfection. The blueprints of women serve as icons of timeless beauty, even as they subvert the ideal figure through deconstructed silhouettes. With vibrant color and bold pattern, Talamante grapples with the idea of unattainable beauty and the pressure women feel to become idealized forms. 

Talamante’s work creates intricate work in which paint blossoms and pools like water, deep and strong one instant and barely there in the next painting. Her compositions seem to grow organically, without a center or direction but with one color building upon another. The artist creates specific, grounded evocations with shape and color.

Originally from the Baja, Talamante studied art at the National School of Art in San Miguel de Allende. She opened her first gallery in the downtown art district of Scottsdale, Arizona, and returned to Mexico in 2010 when she founded Studio TT art school and gallery at Villa Valentina here in San Jose.

Since 2013 she’s been giving curatorial guidance and coordinates the artist-in-residence program at Palmilla, along with designing and directing custom workshops for the hotel’s guests.

San Jose is home to Muvezi Gallery which features and provides  employment to 200 Shona stone sculptors from Zimbabwe. The gallery’s collection of more than 3,000 sculptures is the largest collection of Shona art in the world. Sculptures are for sale through galleries in Mexico and Canada, and online at www.muvezi.com.

Opening night is at 6:00 pm. March 3, at Muvezi Gallery, on Alvaro Obregon St. Happily, this is also Thursday Night Art Walk in the Gallery District in  San Jose. Preview at www.muvezi.com.