Faena Hotel, 3201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140
Patria y Vida is a large-scale light sculpture that celebrates people’s right to peacefully protest by using the barricade as a symbol of global resistance. Last year on July 11th, Cubans protested on the island illegally for the first time in almost 30 years and many were placed in prison as a penalty. The term Patria y Vida is chanted in the streets and has become the anti-communism anthem for Cubans. As Cuban-American artists, we grew up going to protests with our parents in Miami and believe public demonstration is one of the most effective means of civic engagement. For No Vacancy, we repeat the activist gesture from the Pro-Democracy Protests in Hong Kong, where protestors subverted the use of barricades, set out by police, and repurposed them to create an insurgent structure for their own protection. For this new sculpture, 25 crowd-control barricades with LED lights are bound together in a disorderly composition to memorialize global acts of nonviolent resistance.
Patria y Vida is part of a series of works in which Wright Millares explore the sculptural and symbolic potential of standard steel barricades. Though more often associated with crowd control at celebratory events like parades and concerts, these generic objects have recently come to bear heightened connotations related to mass protest and state power. Over the last few years, authorities throughout the world from Hong Kong to Cuba to the United States during the Black Lives Matter movement have deployed them extensively to contain and control protestors. We believe these metal barriers directly evoke anxiety, used as architecture to separate and control bodies in public spaces and limit what should be a global human and civil right to protest. Patria y Vida claims space in solidarity with the perseverance of those who continue to protest worldwide.
Over the past ten years, Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares have developed an extensive and experimental body of work. Through a multidisciplinary practice of video, performance, sculpture, sound, and light, Wright Millares’ work physically embodies the mechanics of power dynamics to challenge the absurdity of the hegemonic world order. Their projects are uniquely informed by Wright’s background in poetry and Millares’ foundation in music. Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares are Cuban-American artists born in Miami, FL. Wright received her MFA in Poetry from The New School, New York, NY and completed the General Studies program at the International Center of Photography, New York, NY. Millares received his Masters in Tax from the University of Miami, FL and a BA from Boston College, Boston, MA. along with being a trained musician. Select solo exhibitions include those at Illuminate Coral Gables, Art Kiosk Redwood City, Untitled Art Monuments Miami Beach, National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, The Central Bank of the Bahamas and Spinello Projects. Group shows include The Tampa Museum of Art, Oolite Arts, Ping Pong Art Basel Switzerland, Spinello Projects, White Box Gallery, Fountain Art Fair New York, The Invisible Dog Art Space Brooklyn and Crane Art Space Philadelphia. Their work is included in the permanent collections of Martin Z. Margulies at the Warehouse, The Bass Museum of Art, Hadley Martin Fisher Collection, and Dan and Katherine Mikesell Collection. They have also participated in prestigious artist residencies including Pioneer Works, Red Hook, NY and Elsewhere, Greensboro, NC. Wright Millares have been presented in articles in the Art Newspaper, Miami Herald, Miami New Times, and El Nuevo Herald.