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Tallahassee exhibit: Artistic Representations of Florida Throughout 500 Years | Gallery
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Tallahassee exhibit: Artistic Representations of Florida Throughout 500 Years | Gallery

Artistic Representations of Florida Throughout 500 Years This Viva Florida exhibit, “Artistic Representations of Florida Throughout 500 years,” at the 22nd Floor Gallery of the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee will feature the artwork of Lucrezia Bieler, Xavier Cortada, Christopher Still, and Hermann Trappman and will also include pottery from the Columbus family crypt in Sevilla and engravings based on the original paintings of Jacques Le Moyne.

9/17/2012 to 5/31/2013
When: Opening reception:
October 8th at 5:30 pm
Where: Florida Capitol
22nd Floor Gallery
400 S Monroe St
Tallahassee, Florida  32301
United States
Contact: Sandy Shaughnessy, Director, Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs

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Artistic Representations of Florida Throughout 500 Years

Conquistadores, 2007

Xavier Cortada, "Conquistadores," 72" x 48", acrylic on canvas, 2007 

ConquistadoresConquistadores, heavy with armor, land amid mangroves on a Florida shoreline. The difficulty of their journey is depicted by the stormy skies and the whitecaps of these uncharted waters. The crocodile in the foreground represents the hardships the first explorers suffered after they made land fall, including ambush and fights with the Florida's indigenous people. During the beginning of the 16h century, none are successful in establishing a settlement. Nonetheless, they plant their flag and claim the land for Spain and in doing so begin to set their roots in Florida. They are the first of many Hispanics who through time will contribute to the state's tapestry of cultures. 


Xavier Cortada, "Raices," 72" x 48", acrylic on canvas, 2007

Raíces: shows a different picture of 16th century Florida. Half a century after Ponce de Leon first landed on its shores, Spanish families are beginning to settle in Florida. Although hardship is widespread, the outlook for settlement is hopeful. Catholic missions (represented by the pelican at the bottom right of the painting) are being established in Florida, creating a nexus between Spaniards and indigenous people. At the center of the painting, a family gazes at their newborn child. The family is integrated into a mangrove forest, its roots embracing and protecting them, much like community members do for one another in their new settlement. In the foreground, new mangrove seedlings sprout. Like the seedlings, Floridians of Hispanic and Latin American origin have begun to set their roots here as they will for centuries to come.

Click here: The two works above were unveiled at the Governor's Mansion during 2007 Hispanic Heritage Month.


Xavier Cortada, Five Flags / Florida," 2005.
Xavier Cortada, "Five Flags / Florida," 61.5 inches x 96 inches, acrylic on canvas, 2005

"Five Flags/Florida"

Miami artist Xavier Cortada utilized the Florida coastline to depict its heritage: each wave represents a new wave of immigrants who set roots and established communities. The mangrove roots metaphorically depict our interconnectedness as people who share a rich and diverse cultural history.

The mangrove root on the left symbolizes Florida's indigenous people. The two clusters of clouds above mark their first encounter with Europeans: Juan Ponce de Leon's landing in 1513.

Each of the mangrove plants rising above the horizon represent the five flags that have since flown over the peninsula:

The first plant has two sets of leaves representing Spain's two periods of control: 1513-1763 and 1784-1821. The leaves on the second plant resemble the fleur-de-lis on the French flag when it was flown over Florida during 1564-65. Great Britain's reign over Florida, 1763-1784, is shown as a mangrove plant with sliced leaves as it divided the territory into East Florida and West Florida. As the war for American independence ended, all of the territory was returned to the Spanish.

In 1821, the United States bought Florida from Spain for $5 million. The fourth plant represents the American flag. Back then the American flag had 24 stars. That number grew by three when Florida became the 27th state in 1845. The plant is bifurcated because Florida split from the Union in 1861 to join the Confederacy. After the Confederacy was defeated, Florida returned to the Union at the end of the Civil War in 1865. Finally, the shriveled mangrove plant represents the demise of the Confederacy.

The mangrove root on the right honors those whose search for freedom (e.g.: Seminoles, slaves using the Underground Railroad, Holocaust survivors, Cuban exiles, and Haitian refugees among others) brought them to Florida's shores.

The painting, "Five Flags/Florida," was created by Mr. Cortada for Florida Heritage Month 2006.


Artistic Representations of Florida Throughout 500 Years
22nd Floor Capitol Gallery, Tallahassee, FL
September 17, 2012 - May 31, 2013

Featuring the work of:

Lucrezia Bieler

Xavier Cortada

Christopher Still

Hermann Trappman

The earliest two dimensional images featured in the show, sixteenth century engravings by Theodor de Bry based on paintings by Jacques Le Moyne, are drawn from the private collection ofMichael W. and Dr. Linda Fisher. The earliest three dimensional items will be an olive jar from the Columbus family crypt in Sevilla, and some attractive pieces of majolica from Mission San Luis. The exhibit will have a nice Old World/New World mix. 


FIU College of Architecture + The Arts

Xavier Cortada
Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts
420 Lincoln Road, Suite 430
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Xavier Cortada's participatory art practice is based at Florida International University.


 Reclamation Project

 NYFA sponsored-artist participatory eco-art projects


Native Flags   






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