Sand painting is an art of pouring colored sands, and powdered pigments created from natural minerals of the earth, onto a surface to make a fixed or unfixed image. Unfixed sand paintings have a long history in numerous cultures around the world. These paintings are often ephemeral, ritualistic, and prepared for religious or healing ceremonies, usually by a spiritual leader or medicine person ie. cultural doctor.
Jaque Fragua is interested in the traditional modes of his cultural practices and adapting the spirit of these practices in order to transmute them into modern frameworks. Fragua is currently experimenting with performance versus ceremony and believes it is intent behind praxis that results in a placebo effect or a truly impactful change in the environment of time and space.
Fragua is developing a performance ritual that connects old-world movements with modern materials. In using gunpowder, Fragua hopes to achieve an effect of spectacle, as well as to create a context in which gunpowder is understood as a tool of liberation and colonization/subjugation, ie. yin yang.
The performance includes an invocation of the space, followed by painting with the gunpowder, an image/path/pattern to be determined. If allowed, the gunpowder is ignited and creates a fuse-like spark that occurs within seconds, concluding the performance. If gunpowder cannot be found or shipped, it can also be hand-made with local materials, or a substitute mineral can be utilized as a medium, clearly removing the last part of the performance, and focusing on the hand-painting exercise itself as the performance.
This act of using raw materials to create a sense of disbelief, although ephemeral, allows the observer to imagine a different way of living and a peek into an Indigenous sensibility and practice that is continuing to change and expand as we speak. Fragua’s concern is “how do we resist actively through these acts of Indigeneity and tradition, while existing in a modern reality?”
Support for this exhibition and performance was provided by The Kalliopeia Foundation, The Jaques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The Hancock Family Trust, and The Endeavor Foundation. Operational support was also provided by Blu Logistics, U.S. Consular Agency of Genova, the Commune di Genova, and Castello D’Albertis.