It is an immense pleasure to be the curator of the exhibition of the Artist Zuania Muñiz Melendez, presented at 258 San Justo Street, Old San Juan from October 23 to November 14, 2021.
Through her creative medium, photography, Zuania expresses several current and highly important themes that invite us to deeply reflect on our feelings, values, and culture. Zuania exhorts us to flourish and be reborn as metaphors for the strength of Puerto Ricans to continue “forward” before the multiple obstacles that life has presented to us (Hurricane María, earthquakes, the Covid-19 pandemic, etc.) since which presented its first photographic exhibition in 2013.
In her work “Vandemecum: Flores Vigorosas/Vigorous Flowers” Zuania reveals the strength of her sensitivity as an artist and clear introspection of her feelings with which she nurtures her art: “To be born, to die, to be reborn. The abrupt changes that I have experienced since the end of 2017 caused by Hurricane Maria and the recent pandemic have destroyed my stability, my way of doing things and the way I relate to others. It is as if life has plowed my land and sown salt in the furrows. The Salt that sterilized me, that destroyed me, is also from where a new me arises. This is a new beginning after destruction. ” Thus Zuania builds a “new flora discovered after the pandemic” that invites us to continue fighting to reinvent ourselves.
The art of Zuania also inspires us to form a closer bond with nature which nurtures and supports us to continue taking a step forward or two every day. In her work entitled “Naturaleza Viva/Live Nature” the artist tells us: “This photographic project is based on my experience of receiving life and energy by being in contact with nature. By connecting with her, I feel nourished, energetic, and alive. “Also in her work entitled Determinado/Determined “Zuania celebrates our relationship with nature: “Each of my photographs exhibits the symbiotic relationship between human beings and nature. The human body juxtaposed with colorful flowers is a celebration of our humanity and the joy of living ”.
Zuania explores other topics such as the importance of contact with other people and culture as sources of emotional strength; In her work entitled “TOCAR / TOUCH” Zuania presents us with this poetic narrative: “Tocar, embrace. Something in short supply these days. Something I longed for … To know that I have been touched by the other souls around me. My soul flourishes when I feel a warm touch. “
Finally, with her creation entitled “La Cultura Es Segura/Culture is a Safe Heaven” the artist exhorts us to seek healing in the force that surrounds us through the unity provided by the culture that we have collectively created: “Culture as a safe place to interact with others and meeting our needs for social interactions… Culture was and continues to be our fuel to pursue our goals during these uncertain times. It is our protective shield for our mental health ”.
I invite you to immerse yourself in the art of Zuania which invites us to visualize where we are going and what future we want to build for ourselves and future generations being guided by mother nature. For more information on the art of Zuania visit art.zuania.com and instagram zuania.mm email: [email protected]
Pablo Colón, DPM
Member of OPART (Organization of Puerto Rican Artists, NYC)