Women, gender and their mysteries

Women, gender and their mysteries

Visual Arts

By Roxana Consuegra Photos: courtesy of the artist

Karyna Alonso (Karang) is a versatile and jovial Cuban creator. From an early age she was influenced by aesthetics and visual codes. Even when very small, she expressed an inclination for artistic creation, influenced by her brother, whose profession was design. As a child she entered a national painting competition and was awarded a prize, something that became a latent motivation for her. Later she stayed linked to the art world when studying ballet, but without losing her interest in the visual arts.

Women, gender and their mysteries

Her work is unique, it merges little known materials, including some resulting from her ingenuity. It uses a unique technique: on the basis of metallized cardboard, incorporating a material obtained from the mixture of acrylic paint with other elements, a glue that only Karang manages to stick to the support.

“Blanco sobre blanco” was the title of a set of pieces dedicated to honoring the figure and work of the Russian painter Kazimir Malevich, in which she uses the technique referred to above. In early 2019, the exhibition was presented in the gallery of the CRAFT Design Center in Moscow, Russia, where it was well received by the public and critics. But the show didn’t contain metallized cardboard alone; canvases lace holders and extra-artistic elements in the form of collages were also part of the show. All white, in the Suprematism of the Russian avant-garde.

It is interesting how the artist can work in different languages, moving from one style to another with comfort. Thus, in her career one can identify everything from abstraction to naive, always with figurative nuances.

As for the topics she addresses, they are also many, due to her own nonacceptance of repeating ideologicalaesthetic patterns between one series and another. However, Karyna Alonso identifies with a particular problem: the representation of the metamorphosed woman with a rooster, the female who does not yet have the space she deserves, of great race, fighter, and who like the bird, is a symbol of strength and defense.

Women, gender and their mysteries

One of her best-known series is dedicated to Orisha deities also embodied by women, the muses of the Afro-Cuban pantheon. Ochún and 57 Yemayá are some of those represented to enhance femininity. These, moreover, constitute allegories of religion embodied in mystical creatures; they contain the qualities that identify each one, from their color to the liturgical attributes that characterize them.

For its part, the set of pieces entitled “Asomos” is also inspired by women. In this case, the black background increases the sense of theatricality, while reinforcing the dramatic burden on the characters represented, which can be interpreted as pained mothers, suffering women and other variants of the femme fatale.

Some of these works can be appreciated in the artist’s studio, a space nestled in her own home. There the arts converge, colleagues from the medium, artists; an atmosphere of cultural harmony is developed and above all, a constant aura is breathed: the air of women.