Region 8 Southeast Florida
Erect Pricklypear (Opuntia stricta)
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Alina Rodriguez-Rojo, "FLOR 453: Erect Pricklypear (Opuntia stricta)," mixed media, lace, mylar, oil paint, inks, 10" x 24", 2012. (CC)
About the Artist
Alina Rodriguez-Rojo-was born in a Santa Clara, Cuban hospital, in the midst of the Bay of Pigs invasion and the chaos of 100s of wounded soldiers. The Rodriguez family manages to flee Cuba in one of the final Freedom Flights to Miami, Florida. Raised in Miami, Rojo attended Miami-Dade County Public Schools and decides to became an educator like her mother. She receives a Bachelors in Art Education from Florida International University in 1989 and a Masters in Instructional Technology, Long Distance Education from Nova University in 2004. From 1991 to 2008 she serves as Gallery Coordinator and lead gallery teacher for ArtWorks Gallery at the Omni Mall and Jackie Hinchey-Sipes Gallery at DASH. She also served as visual art instructor at Meadowlane Elementary where she interned and stayed for 16 years. From 2004 to 2010, Rojo founded the GMI Art Gallery in Coral Gables Florida, an unorthodox exhibition space that was quoted by the Miami Herald as a very new concept of "Art at Work”, helping enhance a workplace with original art. The gallery presented emerging local artists, international Caribbean artists and participated at art fairs such as Arteamericas.
Rojo has consistently worked as an artist and designer but has devoted the majority of her life to curating adult and student art shows and the promotion of the visual arts. She has exhibited locally in galleries, has been comissioned to create garden sculptural installations at Grass, Design District and is featured in various collections including the Rubin Family Collection. Currently, she is a Curriculum Support Specialist and professional development coordinator with MDCPS. Her most recent body of work is a series of life size mixed media pieces that incorporate old heirloom dresses made by her, intimate wear, fabrics, repurposed objects, sewing, ink drawings, acrylic and sometimes oil paints and resin. Rojo layers and collages all these disparate elements in communion with the color red or other monocromatic color scheme. An intimate connection exists between the front surface of the artwork and the back which are for the most part translucent like a stained glass window.
In the year of my birth, 1961, the Cuban government planted an 8 mile long barrier of Opuntia cactus along the northeast section of the 28-kilometre fence surrounding the Guantanamo Naval Base. The barrier was dubbed the "Cactus Curtain” purposely planned to keep Cubans from jumping the fence and fleeing the island. I grew up in this beautiful island barbed with the spines of confinement, restrictions, limited freedom of thought, speech, and action.
Like all my work, the Cactus Curtain mixed media piece evolves intuitively. I started the line ink drawing on mylar before actually seeing a live Prickly pear. Like the automatic drawings of the Surrealists, I just follow suggestions from the materials which in turn reveal the phantom inside the work. I saw the not so attractive Opuntia cactus and realized my drawing was perversely out of proportion, unconfined, and salacious. Perfect, it is done!
Five hundred Florida artists are sought to create art for FLOR500, a participatory art, nature, and history project that marks the importance of the moment when the history of Florida changed forever and gives a glimpse of what its landscape was like 500 years ago. Developed by Xavier Cortada, director and artist-in-residence of FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts’ Office of Engaged Creativity, the project commemorates Florida’s quincentenary in 2013. For more information click here.
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.
NYFA sponsored-artist participatory eco-art projects