El eros de la espaciosidad
February 3, 2023 to
June 3, 2023
SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2023
1pm - 2pm Eastern
ZOOM CONVERSATION WITH
Zulu, who will discuss his work currently on exhibit at Street Road, as well as excerpts from his livestream on Street Road’s Instagram from this year’s Carnival in Barranquilla, Colombia.
February 18, 2023, 1-3pm
Zulu will broadcast live from the first day of Carneval in Barranquilla, Colombia, Live at Street Road and on Street Road's Instagram
Eastern Standard Time & COT/Colombia Time
June 3, 2023, 1-3pm at Street Road
to view more of Zulu's work.
This exhibition is co-curated by Christopher Murray and Street Road.
Please email us for purchasing details and with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
en español abajo
Zulu Padilla's May the Neotropical Arise is an exploration of migration, both literal and metaphorical: this body of work considers migration in a geopolitical sense as well as on an individual, personal level. An overarching theme is that everything in the natural world is in permanent transformation, depending on our perspective.
A major focus of this work is neotropical birds and their annual journey from the artist's native Colombia to his current home in Brooklyn, with parallels drawn to his own personal journeys.
'Migration' for Padilla exists on three levels:
— the socio-political: meaning massive human international migrations
— the natural: the migration cycle of different species on the planet
— the sense of self (from where we also see the two other levels): how we see ourselves and each other, existing in constant flux given identities; migrating, integrating and denying different selves that we all have
Taking these together, Let the neotropical arise proposes a meta-relationship between migration and the idea of transcendental home, a place we might always be reaching toward, a place always in the process of creation.
Physically, the works here are medium-scale, mixed-media assembled constructions integrating Padilla's photographs of birds, his ongoing deconstructed carnival costumes, and jetsam from gay cruising grounds, such as used condoms degraded to nothing more than plastic rings.
The latter, fascinatingly, is something that birds integrate into their nest constructions. The condom no longer has the ability to serve as a frontier between two intertwined human bodies, and so this transformed object can be thought of as representing the intimate connection of the self, society and nature.
One of the perspectives that seduces Padilla is that nothing that separates us, no frontier, no nation, is sustainable over time independently. The history of humanity and nature as a metaphor confirms this for us.
Zulu Padilla is a queer Colombian artist who migrated to Brooklyn in 2012 and found in neotropical bird migration the avenues to integrate his cultural background into New York City's atomic life. He, like the birds, has kept the migration cycle: winter south in Colombia, working in Carnival in his hometown of Barranquilla; the rest of the year, in his Brooklyn studio/home, making print-based assemblages and installations. Each practice entangles the other.
His winter practice is centered on the Caribbean Carnival, which has a long tradition of personal and social transformation via new identity construction and sympathetic joy.
When the neotropical migration is ready to go north for breeding and nesting, he travels back to his studio/home in Brooklyn for the following Spring, Summer and Fall, tracking and taking photographs of the birds in the New York area and beyond. He states: 'my work responds to personal inquiry of who and what I am in my deepest intentions, for the communities that I belong in my Latin American/Caribbean diaspora and society as a whole.'
Following his inquiry of belonging, he practices Dharma buddhism and is a Social meditation facilitator. Buddhist Geeks have been his playground buddies in this exploration: an online mindfulness community about Dharma and the relentless influence of technology. Currently he is working on the integration of recycled paper-maché in his neotropical work informed by his experience in social meditation.
El Eros de la Espaciosidad (Que surja lo Neotropical) de Zulu Padilla es una exploración de la migración, tanto literal como metafórica: este cuerpo de trabajo considera la migración en un sentido geopolítico así como a nivel individual y personal. Un tema general es que todo en el mundo natural está en permanente transformación, dependiendo de nuestra perspectiva.
El enfoque principal de este trabajo son las aves neotropicales y su viaje anual desde la Colombia natal del artista hasta su hogar actual en Brooklyn, con paralelismos con sus propias experiencias personales.
La 'migración' para Padilla existe en tres niveles:
— lo sociopolítico: es decir, migraciones humanas masivas internacionales
— lo natural: el ciclo migratorio de diferentes especies en el planeta
— el sentido del yo (desde donde también vemos los otros dos niveles): cómo nos vemos a nosotros mismos y a los demás, existiendo en constante flujo de identidades; migrando, integrando y/o negando los diferentes yoes que todos tenemos
Tomando lo anterior, El Eros de la Espaciosidad /Que surja lo Neotropical, propone una meta-relación entre la migración y la idea de un hogar trascendental, un lugar al que siempre podríamos estar llegando, un lugar siempre en proceso de creación.
Físicamente, las obras aquí son ensambles de medios mixtos de mediana escala que integran las fotografías de pájaros de Padilla, sus disfraces de carnaval deconstruidos en curso y desechos de los lugares de cruising gay, como condones usados degradados a nada más que anillos de latex.
Este último, fascinantemente, es algo que las aves integran en la construcción de sus nidos. El condón ya no tiene la capacidad de servir como frontera entre dos cuerpos humanos entrelazados, por lo que se puede pensar que este objeto transformado representa la conexión íntima del yo, la sociedad y la naturaleza.
Una de las perspectivas que seduce a Padilla es que nada que nos separe, ninguna frontera, ninguna nación, es sostenible en el tiempo de manera independiente. La historia de la humanidad y la naturaleza como metáfora nos lo confirma.
Zulu Padilla es un artista colombiano queer que emigró a Brooklyn en 2012 y encontró en la migración de aves neotropicales las vías para integrar su trasfondo cultural a la vida atómica de la ciudad de Nueva York. Él, como los pájaros, ha mantenido el ciclo migratorio: invierno al sur de Colombia, trabajando en Carnaval en su ciudad natal de Barranquilla; el resto del año, en su estudio/casa de Brooklyn, realizando ensamblajes e instalaciones basados en impresiones. Cada práctica enreda a la otra.
Su práctica invernal se centra en el Carnaval del Caribe, que tiene una larga tradición de transformación personal y social a través de la construcción de nuevas identidades y la alegría solidaria.
Cuando la migración neotropical está lista para ir al norte a reproducirse y anidar, viaja de regreso a su estudio/hogar en Brooklyn para la primavera, el verano y el otoño siguientes, rastreando y tomando fotografías de las aves en el área de Nueva York y más allá. Él afirma: 'mi trabajo responde a la indagación personal de quién y qué soy en mis intenciones más profundas, para las comunidades a las que pertenezco en mi diáspora latinoamericana/caribeña y la sociedad en su conjunto.'
Siguiendo su indagación de pertenencia, practica el budismo Dharma y es facilitador de meditación social. Buddhist Geeks han sido sus compañeros de juego en esta exploración: una comunidad online sobre el Dharma y la influencia implacable de la tecnología. Actualmente está trabajando en la integración de papel maché en su trabajo neotropical informado por su experiencia en meditación social.
Photograph: Paul Notice
Reflections on Carnival, 17 March, 2023, from Zulu in Barranquilla, before his return to Brooklyn this Spring:
Here, in Barranquilla, reflecting on the piece that I’m sending to Street Road by mail, I'm thinking of how my personal experience in the carnival was juicy, full of mystery and the insights that I’m always looking for. But as a core member of our collective “La puntica no Ma'', who carries a sense of responsibility for the organization and general outcome of our performance in the parade, it was problematic, with a lot of tension.
I made the opening flags of the parade for La Puntica. It was a beautiful process, I enjoyed working with fabrics. I loved the flags. I carried one of them and three others were taken by amazing people through the “Batalla de Flores” (Battle of Flowers) parade. The Instagram Live on Street Road's platform during the standby time was both joyful and awkward. I was very anxious, our group was composed of over 400 people. The costumes and energy were amazing but overwhelming. I forgot the microphone at home, and the volume of the music was extraordinarily loud.
Unfortunately we were the last ones in the parade. For years we have been fighting for a better place with little success and were downgraded this year. The parade was oversold to the corporate floats and we ended up dancing with the balconies we passed almost empty. The real problem was the lack of security and the public that took over the street obstructing our way. We felt vulnerable, abandoned and betrayed by the people that organized this parade.
We, as a group, as La Puntica, are in the middle of a social battle dressed like a party. We are the outcast bougie local artists that started with a carnival counterculture dynamic and with the years we have created a very flashy, well known artsy party. We have done a lot of things well, we have contributed to the passing on of traditional cumbia and other afro-caribbean sounds to the new generation and have made space in the city for people who feel the tradition differently, introducing contemporary art dynamics into the local tradition. It has been an open “we” space with a large slice of queerness.
After the logistical collapse of the parade this year we are facing as a group a raw self-examination of who we are in “La Via 40,” the territory where the parade takes place, a real social battle. What is our role in this parade? How do we want to participate and enjoy the carnival? We don’t belong to the peasant tradition, we are not corporations taking advantage of the local folkloric traditions, we are not the carnival establishment institutions with their cosmetic intentions - holding the illusion of social change for profit. We are not the bombastic audience seated on the right nor the low income audience seated on the left and we are not the new fundamentalist woke lefties that see carnival as a simple racial equality battle. We are not any of them and we are all them; a complex diversity with multidimensional intentions.
My companion was the wind, as one of the flag holders, my attention in the parade was with the wind and my eyes in the sky. I was aware of everything that was happening around me but my mind was with the wind. As always, in February, the breeze was erratic and strong, I had to be very present with the wind in order to keep the flag flying. For me the flags flying with the cumbia was an energetic expansion of joy and dance, and that joy was our protection, penetrating the masses that were crowding the streets. I had the insight that I look for in carnival, mystical longing, full of mystery. There is beauty, there is joy, there is sorrow and uncertainty.
My practice post carnival here in the region is reflecting on my role as an artist in the Neotropic and in the North, struggling financially, contemplating a couple of big paintings that I have been working with for years and that I want to finish, birding in the La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and taking care of family stuff. Thinking a lot about my neotropical process in Street Road and the courage of the inter-continental migration of the birds. I had a beautiful encounter with a Tennessee Warbler and I dream to see a Prothonotary that has been seen close to Barranquilla before my next northern-bound chapter.
Conversation with artist - June 20, 2023