I Come From Where the Palm Tree Grows
Organized by Molly Surazhsky
LATlab at the REEF
Los Angeles, CA
June — July 2017


My Dear Sweet,

Don’t crumple my letter, don’t hide it in the depths of your drawer, don’t tear it, and please don’t delete it.

Civil War, Revolución, American Imperialism, Soviet Russia, Período Especial, Patriarchy, the Medical Industrial Complex, Anthropocentric disaster, Neoliberalism, Neo-Nationalism, the rise of the global Right Wing and the spectacle of it all ceases to control us. We transgress, puncturing holes into the fabric of the systems that attempt to control our homes, our outer and inner lives, our lovers, our children, our brothers, sisters, our wildness, creating little specks of luminous light to dance in, until we nearly forget.

A taxi driver said that all of Cuba comes to the Malecón to fall in love. So why didn’t you let me place my face within the sweet, sticky groove of your neck where I could lay my gentle kiss?

This is a show about love existing, fighting, surviving and goddamn prevailing through the systems that enrage and attempt to control bodies in time, space, and place.

This is a subtle scream; the whisper in your ear that comes right before the kiss.


LATlab is pleased to present I Come From Where the Palm Tree Grows//De Donde Crece La Palma, an exhibition curated by Molly Surazhsky, featuring the work of Gabriel Sosa, Mari Claudia García Ruiz, Jahaira Ríos de Galvéz, Norberto Rodriguez, Alexandra de Leon, Jorge Ravelo, and Dracula (Eli Oviedo, Dorys Bello, Juan Campuzano). The exhibition opens on June 16th, 7-10PM with an intimate acoustic performance by Dracula at 8:30PM.

LATlab is a self-organized educational and critical creative platform that seeks to investigate the particularities of conceptualism in Latin American Art, inquiring into alternative articulations of art and politics that emerged from the Latin American experience.  Aiming for a radical cartography that traces poles of resistance and experimentation beyond the hegemonic U.S/Eurocentric map, it is geared to everyone interested in alternative narratives of Art History, decolonial perspectives, and modes of resistance in art making.

LATlab es una plataforma educativa y creativa crítica auto-organizada que busca indagar las particularidades del arte conceptual en Latinoamérica, explorando articulaciones alternativas entre arte y política surgidas en la experiencia latinoamericana. En busca de una cartografía radical que trace polos de resistencia y experimentación y que vaya más allá del mapa de los centros hegemónicos, LATlab está dirigido a personas interesadas en historias del arte alternativas al canon, perspectivas decoloniales y prácticas artísticas de resistencia.


Artist Bios

Gabriel Sosa
is an artist, linguist, and curator based in Boston. Through various media, he interrogates his experiences as a court interpreter and a Cuban-American as he explores language, history, the fallibility of memory, and the synthesis of fact and fiction. Born and raised in Miami's La Saugüesera, he is a graduate of New World School of the Arts and holds an MFA from Tufts University.
Mari Claudia García (b. Havana, Cuba 1989) studied Fine Arts at San Alejandro Art Academy and Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), in Havana, Cuba. Since 2013 she has been a teaching faculty at ISA. Simultaneously, she has taken part in several exhibitions, both, in and outside of Cuba. Her conceptual concerns gravitate around communication and its impact upon and within societal systems. Additionally, she is interested in social and political issues related to language, culture, and power. Mari Claudia García currently lives and works in Havana.
Jahaira Ríos de Galvéz
The earth I was sculpted from whispers my name continually. I listen. I wander between here and there never able to settle my feet, unable to settle my heart while I walk through the concrete jungle trying to follow that voice. I whisper back. Jahaira Ríos de Galvéz currently lives and works in Miami.
Norberto Rodriguez
I’m Norberto Rodriguez.  I’m an artist.  I think.
Alexandra de Leon
My practice is invested in the symbolic and material histories of institutional spaces, and their potential to be subverted. This line of thought extends itself via a continuing on-site engagement with a cluster of panopticon prisons on the Isla de Juventud, an island of an island off the southern coast of Cuba where I have been working in since 2015.
Jorge Ravelo is a person making 16mm film, video and installation based work. He has work in the Santa Paula Art Museum's permanent collection as well as shown films in various festivals and small galleries/micro-cinemas. He currently a Film / Video BFA at CalArts and resides in Val Verde, CA with two cats.
For ten years, Dorys Bello (Cuba) and Eli Oviedo (Honduras) have been playing acoustic renditions of popular and folkloric songs from the United States and Latin America . For this performance, they are joined by Juan Campuzano (Colombia) on guitar.