After moving to Sweden, I participated in the Summer Showcase in London, a free two-day festival of ideas for curious minds, held from 21-22 June 2019. The British Academy opened up their beautiful building with 15 interactive exhibits alongside pop-up talks, workshops and performances, bringing the best new humanities and social sciences research to life.
Our exhibition featured artists’ books, aiming to transform the way we think about health, wellbeing and illness: “Since the 1980s, a growing number of book artists have used their craft to share stories about health, wellbeing and illness. These artworks give a voice to those living with disability, chronic illness or cancer, while challenging stigma and discrimination. But can they also help medical professionals to better understand their patients? Featuring multi sensory works by contemporary artists, this exhibit explores the vital intersection between art and science. Handle artists’ books, learn about the lives of the makers and craft your own book to take home.”
These two articles by Dr. Stella Bolaki focus on artists’ books, while my work was featured in the first one:
A few days ago my family and I moved back to Sweden after 10 years of living as expats and exhibiting my work in Asia and USA. Now I will be balancing my studio practice between the city of Gothenburg and a countryside studio by a lake. While visiting Sweden during the last summers the forest was perfect to work on my last 2 series which were exhibited in USA so I feel positive that the Swedish nature, a slower pace and the daily practice of taichi which I learned while living in Houston will provide the space and time to create new work once we settle down.
In the meantime I’m grateful for my upcoming exhibitions this year and in 2020:
So excited about how things will develop for our family and I’m looking forward to meeting new artists, reconnecting with good friends, visiting new places, learning new things and experiencing all the seasons!
Gaby Berglund Cárdenas works in several media and her work often involves depictions of the female body in various forms, serving as metaphors for social inequities with regard to gender.
While studying Buddhist philosophy in Asia, Cárdenas started creating lengthy handwritten calligraphy scrolls as part of her meditative practice. She soon started transforming objects and making installations with the scrolls. It was the morning ritual after long walks in the forest in Busan and the repetitive process involving writing, sewing and assemblage – similar to saying a mantra or a prayer – that gave birth to this series: “The Quiet Thread”.
“The Quiet Thread” was curated by Sabine Casparie and it consists of scrolls, artists’ books, sculptures and installations exploring the role that art can play in bringing to light the power of “mindfulness”. Cárdenas uses Nepalese paper, Japanese ink, thread and Swedish antique sewing and weaving tools that she collected in her trips between 2014 and 2018.
For Cárdenas, the process of slow stitching has the power of restoration, sewing the past, reconnecting with her mother, who used to sew her dresses as a child. Cárdenas’ repetitive handwriting process, meanwhile, is reminiscent of the Zen Buddhist monks, who in the sixth century started drawing Ensō circles after their meditation practice. The circles symbolized the state of mind of the artist at the moment of creation and the acceptance of imperfection as perfect. Cárdenas creates her own ritual with a strong belief that stillness, structure and repetition are what keep us whole.
For thousands of years, Buddhist monks have used meditation to obtain a transcendental experience on the path to enlightenment. More recently, physicians have clinically employed meditation to successfully help treat disorders like depression, anxiety, addictions, and chronic pain. Cárdenas’ Prescriptions series explores the benefits of mindfulness, the role art can play in raising awareness about the value of mindfulness in health treatments and how art can be used to heal and express experiences of illness. We need to talk about pain raises awareness of how addictions often originate in pain; the question is not ‘Why the addiction?’ but – ‘Why the pain?’ Other works explore the power of breathing and meditation in self-healing, such as Finding her lower Dantian (下丹田, Xià Dāntián).
Through Girl Rising, Woman Rising, Migrant books and Los Inmigrantes (The Immigrants) Cárdenas brings awareness of two important issues for social change today: women and migrants. The works explore how social change can be benefited by “mindful activism”: staying grounded when participating in peaceful resistance.
For Cárdenas, “The Quiet Thread” is a natural consequence of her spiritual journey which started in Asia and continues in Houston today.
Cárdenas, is an international multi-disciplinary artist whose work straddles disparate worlds — Houston, where she currently lives as an expat; her birthplace of Ecuador, where her family lives; Sweden, where her new home is; and South Korea, which has influenced her spirit after living there for about nine years. Through her art, she addresses the human condition, the female body and the realms of spirituality. Her work spans mediums from paintings and printmaking to installation, textiles and artist’s books. Cárdenas works from her studio in Houston and is a member of PrintMatters. She also is represented by Grafik i Väst in Gothenburg, Sweden.
For more than 50 years, The Jung Center has served as a nonprofit resource offering dynamic and compelling classes – “continuing education for the human spirit” – on a diverse range of psychological, artistic, and intellectual topics.
The Jung Center’s building was originally designed as an art gallery and mounts approximately nine exhibits of work by both established and emerging artists each year. The Jung Center is an active member of the Houston Museum District. Admission to the gallery and opening receptions is free and open to the public.
This exhibit will be on display February 2-27, 2018 at the Jung Center, 5200 Montrose Blvd. The public is invited to a gallery reception Saturday, February 2, 5-7 pm and to a pop-up installation/performance Saturday, February 23, 2-3 pm.
This solo exhibition is a gathering of transformed objects, scrolls, artist’s books and a site-specific installation about the power of “mindfulness”, using Nepalese paper, ink, thread and antique sewing and weaving tools I collected in my travels. Some of the pieces can be seen under my portfolio.
‘The Quiet Thread’ was born in 2014 while studying Buddhist philosophy in Asia when I started creating lengthy ink calligraphy scrolls as part of my meditation practice. The repetition process involving writing, sewing and assemblage was like saying a mantra or a prayer and it gave birth to this new series.
‘The Quiet Thread’ explores the benefits of mindfulness, the role arts can play in raising awareness about the value of mindfulness in health treatments and how arts can be used to heal and express experiences of illness. It also brings awareness about how social change organizations and activists can be benefited by “mindful activism” by helping them stay grounded when participating in peaceful resistance.
Location: THE JUNG CENTER, 5200 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006
A tradition at the Koehnline Museum is its annual collaboration with the Women and Gender Studies program to bear witness to the many creative women sharing their unique visions in the visual, literary, and performing arts. Nevertheless She Persisted focuses on the reserves of strength and resilience women display. We see it in the courage of women in emerging grassroots movements such as #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, the National Women’s Marches, the LGBTQIA+ and international human rights movements, and the remarkable young leaders of the Parkland survivors. It rises in the determination of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Maxine Waters, Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Dolores Huerta, Elizabeth Warren, and countless others trying to break the glass ceiling in U.S. government and politics.
A Juried Exhibition of Art by Women
September 27 – October 19, 2018
Public Reception: Thursday, September 27, 5 – 8 p.m.
DROP OUT WIFE 1972, mixed media, 2018 (My contribution to this year’s exhibition)
A while back, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month for the friends at OCCHA, RJ Thompson wrote and was awarded an International Institute grant from Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley to bring me to Department of Art • YSU to share my work with the students and City of Youngstown community in Ohio, USA. Today is the opening of my IX Solo Exhibition entitled “Life While You Wait”, a series of woodcuts on textiles, installations and artist’s books about embracing uncertainty as an expat, migrating and exploring the idea of moving through different continents. More information here
This will be the last stop of an incredible travelling exhibition with participating artists: Abd A. Masoud, Alfredo Furlani, Andrea Arcangeli, Annikki Rigendinger, Barbara Menoncello, Caterina Malisano, Claudia Sabellico, Daniela Bettella, Emanuele, Fabiola Cenci, Frances Breen, Franco Vecchiet, Gabriella Bottaru, Gaby Berglund Cardenas, Greet Lembregts, Jan Owen, Katrin Magens, Kathryn Shank Frate, Kirsten Dietrich, Lia Malfermoni, Lizzie Brewer, Luigi Golin, Manuela Piovesan, Maria Grazia Colonnello, Marie C. Letendre, Patrizia Bigarella, Petra Gartner, Roberta Feoli, Roberta Gasperi, Scott Wettlaufer, Sharon Hall Shipp, Shirley Greer, Silvia Braida, Silvia Lepore, Susan Hooper, Terhi Hursti, Terri Thoman, Wally Sillian.