SOULJA, Cassandra’s Peace and Love Warriors,a one woman show at the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery for Contemporary Art, featured bronze sculptures, large prints and mobile murals for social movements, which bear witness to an astounding personal galaxy.
Cassandra is committed to producing empowering metaphors, be they altars or monuments that explore the full gamut of liberation. Whether painting murals for garment workers, casting bronze to commemorate indigenous resistance or sculpting the freedom to love, she wields the power of the image to invite the beholder to see, feel and act.
Cassandra’s sculptures and mobile murals explore how memory is the thread that guides us through the labyrinth of identity. SOULJA, her upcoming one woman show at the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery for Contemporary Art, bears witness to an astounding personal galaxy. Cassandra has also shown at the East/West Gallery in London, the Chopo Museum in Mexico City, the Leslie Lohman Gallery in New York and smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Cassandra studied at the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking in Mexico City. The artist-in-residence at BAAD! in the South Bronx for over a decade, her current studio is in Red Hook. Her work can be admired at http://cassandraproductions.net/index.html
Doña Clara, acrylic on canvas, 58 x 78 inches (After Moller)
A Guatemala Mayan Ixil woman, Doña Clara honor guards her husband’s exhumation. Genocide was committed in Guatemala during the 1980s. In a recent landmark case, the former president Efrain Rios-Montt was convicted of this crime against humanity. Because of pressure from the oligarchy and military, the sentence was annulled ten days later at which point Indigenous Peoples lead by widows of the genocide did ceremony with this mobile mural as a backdrop in front of the Guatemala Consulate in New York.
Quietude, poured marble, 9 x 9 x 7 inches
In addition to monuments, Cassandra sculpts personal altars such as this one. A personal altar is a symbol for your spirit, a tool for mindful living, which celebrates the Sacred with a unique statue or shrine for a loved one.
Doula , print, 4X 5 feet (This print is of photograph of a suspended bronze sculpture, which measures 18X18X17” and is a maquette or model for a larger-than-life monument.)
Doula is at once a tribute to sisterhood as well as an erotic, magical Sapphic dream of flight and liberation. This impressive bronze sculpture of two women unites the birthing of oneself and the birthing of the other. Exploring abandon and strength; burden and carriage; gravity and levity; Doula compels the viewer to travel the endless spiral of love as touching souls. Much like Doula, many of Cassandra’s other works celebrate women as powerful protagonists and architects of their own destinies.
Witch Hunt, mixed media, (also available in bronze), 3 x 8 feet
Part of the Etymology trilogy on the origins of the term “faggot” and the ancestral alliance of persecuted healers and gay men. Some historians believe gay men are pejoratively referred to as “faggots” because during the Inquisition they were used to start the pyre to burn witches at the stake.
This work was featured in the exhibit Cassandra curated called Witch Hunt: From Salem to Guantanamo, which explored witch hunts as a metaphor of this country’s history.
War Paint, acrylic on canvas, 4 x 6 feet
A mobile mural originally painted for the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. This Amazonian warrior has updated her war paint to include resistance to the false solution to climate change known as REDD. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation and pretends to use the world’s forests and farms as sponges for Northern industrialized air pollution instead of cutting pollution at source. REDD is potentially genocidal for Indigenous Peoples because most of the world’s forests are found in their territories, and this land is now coveted for the carbon market. For more information on REDD see www.no-redd.com
St. Eric, mixed media, 16 x 12 x 15 inches
St. Eric is part of the Etymology trilogy. (See Witch Hunt.)
The friend who posed for Cassandra endured a lot living on the streets but became a Buddhist, found profound peace and got his life together. Cassandra meet him when he was filming the Drag Queen soap opera Strange Fruit in the cultural space in the South Bronx she co-directed called BAAD!
Ab’ya Yala, print, 5 x 5 x 4 feet
(This print is of a photograph of a larger-than-life bronze sculpture.)
A tribute to 500 years of Indigenous resistance.
Armada, mixed media, (also available in bronze), 3 x 2.5 x 2 feet
Armada is Spanish for armed.
When Secretary of Justice John Ashcroft spent $7,000 dollars of taxpayers money to build a black velvet curtain to cover a statue of Justice, the media speculated that it was because he was Puritanically horrified to be photographed in front of her sumptuous bare breasts. Cassandra, however, was struck by the fact that the man supposedly in charge of ensuring that justice prevails went to great lengths to censor this symbol and so the artist came to understand why Justice carries a sword!
Freedom to Love, bronze, 13X7X7” (also available larger-than-life)
Freedom to Love, a wonderful tangle of male lovers, is the model for the larger than life Freedom to Love Monument Project, which aspires to create a shrine for practicing the right to remembrance of those who have passed from AIDS or homophobic violence. Its objective is to raise a monument.
To the freedom to love and the love of freedom,
To the lives extinguished by vicious fanatics,
To the bravery of those who live with HIV/AIDS…
and to those who are gone but still here.
Author Jaime Manrique has noted, “There are few artists who give as much as Cassandra does; few who dare to dream a dream as necessary, as pure.”
The synopsis of the monument project is available here http://cassandraproductions.net/freedom.html
Adelita, acrylic on canvas, 46 x 82 inches
From the series La Revolución también inmigra… (The Revolution also immigrates), which explores how we in the North live the legacy of the struggles of our countries of origin. Cassandra lived in Mexico for twelve years and her work includes other issues relevant to the Latino community such as the labyrinth of identity and the dialogue with the ancestresses and ancestors.
Although originally from New York, artistically speaking Cassandra considers herself “Made in Mexico.” She studied at the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking in Mexico City and painted with the Mexican muralism workshop Ojos de Lucha.
Da a luz, mixed media, (also available in bronze), 18 x 10 x 14 inches
Da a luz is the community altar of the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance – BAAD! It features a collage of Goddess iconography from Mexico and beyond.
Da a luz was also featured in the exhibit KUNT: The Goddess Within curated by Cassandra as part of the BAAD! Ass Women Festival. KUNT: The Goddess Within reclaimed the original meaning of Kunt which means Goddess; from the Sanskrit Kunda as in Kundalini in Sanskrit; and Kwan Yin, the Chinese name of the Goddess of Love and Compassion and the Mother of all Buddhas.)