Glendalys Medina’s exhibition, Foundational Dualities, explores themes of erasure, duality, and craft. In this collection of works, the artist focuses on the creation story of the indigenous people of the Caribbean, the Taínos.
The series of embossed prints, BrownTaínoBlackGold and BrownTaínoBlackDiamond, seen on the south wall, are blueprints for the artist’s visual language. The pictographs and motifs from these prints are a collected reference from research at the Center of Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York City and are the exhibition’s inspiration. The symbols used in Foundational Dualities are an interpretation of the supreme deities in the Taíno religion, such as the goddess Atabey and her twins, Yúcahu and Juracán/Guabancex. This imagery is repeated throughout this exhibition and can be seen in Medina’s previous work.
On the east wall of the gallery is a piece representing Guabancex/Juracán, the deity of chaos and disorder, who controls the weather, and Yúcahu, the deity of male fertility. The materials used for the wall sculpture La Luna pay homage to Medina’s heritage and combine both formal artmaking and craft. Floating across from La Luna, sits a drawing of Atabey birthing the two mirroring columns with iconography that pictorially unravels the story of the twins leading to the creation story of the Taíno people. The spilling of the columns onto the floor symbolizes the evaporation of indignity caused by the colonization of the Caribbean.
Besides the physical work on the walls, the gallery is filled with an audio recording of a lyric poet written and performed by the artist. Sway, accentuates the fluctuating perspectives of existence, swinging from connecting with ourselves to our common humanity and universal spirit.