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The Paleolithic of Terra Mizwa: A New Exhibit for a New Space

By Peter Leventhal

In the revitalized space now called the Hi Lite Gallery (2D) in the Fabrica la Aurora, the artist Terra Mizwa creates a unique environment provoked by the stunning achievements of the world’s oldest art. Derived from her lifelong enthusiasm for prehistoric painting and sculpture, the artist has constructed an homenaje to the unknown artists whose work continues to inspire and beguile us. Terra Mizwa brings a fresh turn to this activity, reminding us that everything in our experience contains a shared consciousness, so that, as the French artist Jean Dubuffet reminds us, even rocks speak and breathe, if only in geological time. And if we were to engage them we would hear them.

The Paleolithic of Terra Mizwa
Sat, Feb 6, 4pm for the 12th Anniversary Fiesta
Sun, Feb 7, 12-3pm
Hi Lite Studio/Gallery 2D
Fábrica la Aurora

Mizwa understands that the aesthetic effect of these astounding artifacts is the cornerstone of understanding their power to captivate our own humanity. This aesthetic affect conveys a spiritual power that emanates out of them and is, perhaps, the only route to understanding them. She notes that in the earliest works—the hand stencils—a message speaks across time: “I am here! I exist!” These expressive hands speak of the self. Mizwa paints an alliance with the art of the past and brings its beauty and spirit forward to illuminate our time and cultural space. Found globally they are, more than anything, an expression of our shared heritage.

Her work invigorates our sensibility. Mizwa paints the images with transparent grace. Through her fascination we are reminded that with all the work this artist produces in the studio—sculpture, paintings, cartoons, and graphic design—she has nearly 40 years experience in the healing arts, a confluence with the creators that inspired these works; those who were artists and healers as one, leading the body toward repair and balance. There lies the plain of self-transcendence. Feelings of being taken outside oneself link to a connection with a shared universality as well as self-transformation, intimacy with all life, and a recognition of the need for stability and order.

One can imagine how stirring the realization of the beauty of these images must have been to their creators. In these 15 paintings and several sculptures the emotional forms enveloping their stories speak across thousands of years. It is understood that the circumstances of the narrative have changed somewhat but perhaps not so much as we think. Moreover, the task of the artist-healer remains intact.

Once again that which eludes our knowledge but not our aesthetic sensibility gives entrance into a world that is the mother lode of plastic activity which still overwhelms us with its universal power and grace.


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