The sevillian artist Federico Guzmán (1964), together with Museo Reina Sofía, brings to the Palacio de Cristal in the Retiro Park a part of his personal experience at the Sahara. Tuiza means collective solidary work and refers to meeting, participating and building something together. With this word as statement, Guzmán suggests an investigation about the relation between art and cultural identity through a large and colorful Saharan “jaima” that will welcome the visitors into a space where many workshops and activities will take place to promote the hospitality and conversation between cultures.
The artist Federico Guzmán explains the concept of the installation:
These melhfas tell the everyday life of an ancient, nomadic Bedouin people, who are wind, sun and sand, inhabiting the mighty desert, people known for its hospitality and its resistance. Through conversation with poets and musicians around a delicious tea ceremony traveled to the bowels of the Sahara know their cultures.
Our tent is the mestizo collage of a shared effort: the workshop of women who painted melhfas in the Saharawi refugee camp of Boujdour, Andalusian architects who designed our tent, the festival of art and human rights ARTifariti , the Basque network of Faro de la Paz, of the Reina Sofía, artists, musicians and poets, and the many Sahrawi friends from whom I have learned generosity, respect and joy.
Designed in collaboration with the architect Charo Escobar and made of melhfas, traditional Saharawi dresses made by women in the area of Bojador, the jaima transforms the Palacio de Cristal in a place for gathering and cultural exchange, with a special attention to oral and intangible tradition.
One of the main features will be the various activities held to emphasize the multicultural aspect of the project. There will be poetry, music, educational initiatives, a series of lectures and performances, with a film archive that will include files from the birth of the topical and stereotypical image of historical African films, to more recent critical reviews . A whole range that will introduce new ways of living in community.
The roof of the textile construction that is a tent is made of benias, a very thin acrylic fabric, but strong and decorated with multicolored geometric patterns usually from Mauritania. However, in this case, the artist has replaced the usual benias of the sides by melhfas (the aforementioned Saharan female clothing). Boujdour’s women designed and stained fabrics themselves for this specific project at a workshop organized by the artist. The final result of the tent is a translucent paint, which makes all the elements that we find inside stand out even more: cushions, carpets, prayer rugs, a Bedouin trunk, tea sets, puffs and lined seats brocade; which together create a relaxing meeting space for visitors. A platform where different events take place every day.
Between the jaima created by Federico Guzman and the Palacio de Cristal occurs a dialogue about two very different ways of approaching a construction and two different historical periods. This tent, popular, nomadic and welcoming that integrates and advocates equality of cultures, blends with the building of the late nineteenth century, the era of utopias iron, colonialism and social inequality. The tent designed by Guzman will be moved to the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastián after the end of the exhibition at the Palacio de Cristal.
The cultures of the tent: activities
Relating the Saharawi culture with a wider social and cultural context, this program of activities aims to become Tuiza, in a space where other possible reimagine geography in which their centers are not major metropolises, but narratives and stories of periphery that survive in manifestations of identity and cultural contamination.
Federico Guzmán: Tuiza. The Cultures of the Bedouin Jaima
Date.- 16 abril 2015 – 30 agosto 2015
Place.- Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace in the Retiro Park)
Organization.- Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía with Fundación Donostia / San Sebastián, European Capital of Culture 2016
Organizer.- João Fernandes
Organizer.- Soledad Liaño
News source: Museo Reina Sofía
Text by Federico Guzmán.