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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mary Magdalene Celebration: Marta Rodríguez Olmeda and Bárbara M. Díaz López

These beautiful traditional "santos de palo" of Puerto Rico were made especially for the Mary Magdalene Celebration: Magdalene Fair by artisans Marta Rodríguez Olmeda and Bárbara M. Díaz López.
When I was just dreaming this year's Mary Magdalene Celebration, I was hoping Marta Rodríguez Olmeda and Bárbara M. Díaz López would be able to join. I have loved their carved saints since I first saw them!

Through the years, we have been tent partners at many events, and little by little, I have enjoyed seeing them work the traditional Puerto Rican craft of saint carving. Bárbara was her apprentice at the time when I met them, but she is already carving her own saints. I have also loved listening to Marta's wisdom about her creations. One of the things I've learned is that Marta prays as she creates each piece, as is required by the tradition. They also use traditional woods from Puerto Rico.

I feel very fortunate that Marta and Bárbara are joining us with their beautiful saints for the Mary Magdalene Celebration on July 22. And when I saw these, I couldn't wait to share! If you need one, let me know and I will put you in touch with these wonderful artisans. I hope you enjoy this photo as much as I did when Marta shared it with me! Join the celebration at Magdalene.org!

p.s. Did you notice the heart!?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mary Magdalene Celebration: Special guests performing!

I met Xiomara and Marni, the creators of Magdala: Stories from the Net and the Sea, through Arelis Figueroa, one of the first people who supported this project when Raquel and I were just starting. Then a few months ago, they invited me to join them at La Maison d'Art in Harlem, where they presented Magdala: Stories from the Net and the Sea. It was amazing! These two ladies have constructed their own story about the Magdalene, using Bible references, text from the Gospel of Mary and their own interpretations of the life of Mary Magdalene to create a moving and colorful play, all to the sounds of Marni's accordion music compositions! Nothing beats a woman with an accordion! 

Xiomara's dance and powerful presence transports us to the times of the Magdalene in Magdala. With  minimal accessories and props, Xiomara  becomes Mary Magdalene and Marni becomes Martha, and they take us on a journey through the Magdalene's path.

On July 22, the Mary Magdalene Celebration welcomes and celebrates these wonderful women and the play they have created. Xiomara and Marni will present the first act of the play, a play I hope you will enjoy as a full work in the future. 

Join us on July 22 at the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center to see the first act of Magdala: Stories from the Net and the Sea, and a full program of dance, song and art. RSVP at Magdalene.org

Here is your invitation, Please share and bring all your best friends!

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Mary Magdalene Celebration: You are invited!

Sometimes, when you realize your dreams, you also realize that you have no more clear dreams. I worked hard to liberate my time and life in order to be able to spend time making art, being a channel for whatever it was that I came to this world to do. And I am here, doing that. Life, the Universe, God, Love, has given me everything that I need.

But sometimes...  I can't find the will or the energy to start my day, and I get distracted with the chores of a common life. I have to stop myself from doing the dishes one more time and get to work!

The last two years have been a struggle because I now live in the same place where I work, and I miss the silence and the solitude that a separate space offers. But it was a decision, and I am sticking to it at least until I take a long trip around some other part of the world next year.

This year, however, to get myself on the right track and give myself a worthy goal to work on, I decided to celebrate the Promesa to the Magdalene, the Mary Magdalene Celebration. I convinced Raquel Z. Rivera to come all the way from Albuquerque and sing her beautiful songs. And I decided it was time to go bigger and invite other artists and artisans to join us. The event became a big dream, something to look forward to, something to craft as lovingly as you would craft a wedding or a quinceañera.

I also became my connection to the world. I have been in hiding for years now. Apart from people, form too much filling my life so that I can leave an empty space, big enough for art. The result is I have learned many things and improved in many ways, but I have also lost contact with the world and with people. I stopped writing, I stopped communicating. Even this blog has suffered. Today I realized I had not posted anything about the Mary Magdalene Celebration, which I have been working on since last year.

A little at a time, I have come back to myself. One  major goal was to join forces with others in order to make something bigger, to ask for help even when my impulse is to do it all, to expand the celebration and make it grow in joy, and fun. And with this in mind, I continued to recruit old friends and new, from different times of my life, with different skills and strengths, and asked them to contribute through those strengths a little of themselves to this celebration.

The event is taking shape. And I have realized another goal already: to publish a book with images of my Magdalene paintings and the writings about my journey with Mary Magdalene. I have already sent for a copy to revise, and have it printed in time for the event.

I also created the most beautiful invitation ever ;), a little altar with the image of Mary Magdalene of the Bees, the painting I created as this year's Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene of the Bees by Tanya Torres, Oil on Canvas, 40" x 30", 2016.
Mini Shrine Invitation (Mailed and given in hand)
Back of the mini shrine 

I created posters, lots of invitations, posts on Facebook, and new artwork to be presented that night. I am still working on the artwork and other pieces that with be part of the art exhibition and mini crafts fair on July 22 at 6:00 p.m.

A Promesa, or offering to a saint, includes food, and a friend, Judith Delerme, offered to donate the food so our guests can come straight from work and not worry about hunger! And today I recruited my mother in law, the famous Doña Ramona, who will also be cooking one of her popular dishes and supervising the distribution of food.

My friend Minerva obtained the space at the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center, another miracle of the Magdalene, because I had tried contacting the place many times without success. The Hispanic Federation let us use the space free thanks to Minerva and her commitment to making this event a success. She is the Artist Madrina (godmother) of the celebration!

My dear friend Yarisa Colón, the Poet Madrina, has been providing ongoing moral support and flower-making. We are creating an installation of red paper flowers where our guests will wear a red veil to take photos of themselves as the Magdalene. Yarisa will also be showing her beautiful collage creations. You must see them!

My beautiful friend Corazón Tierra, who has already graced us with her dance in a previous celebration, will be opening the space with a dance.

Two new friends, Xiomara Evans and Marni Rice will be presenting an act of their play, Magdala: Stories from the Net and the Sea. It is magnificent!

And Alexandra Vasallo will be dancing her ancestral bomba dance. And inviting everyone to join.

When you arrive you will be able to fill your heart with art, and many other wonderful things. Two artists are coming directly from Puerto Rico and especially for this event, Yolanda Velazquez and Iona Muniz. I can't wait to see their work!

From New York, Marta and Barbara will be showing their wooden saint carvings, Olga Ayala her polymer clay creations, Mercedes Molina her spiritual traditional Puerto Rican cloth dolls, and with her will be Carmen Ayala and Lani will be sharing their artwork, Myrna Nieves will be sharing her books, her daughter Zaadia her artwork, and María Mar will be sharing her book and overall spiritual creativity! Migdalia Santiago will be offering reiki and Lulu García too, in addition to her botanical toiletries that will inspire your soul!

On the wall and 2 tables, my art, both the Magdalene series and the new series Spirits of the Forest.

I hope that you will save the date and join us if you are in NYC! You can sign up at magdalene.org and get in my list and RSVP too.

I will be posting more about the participants and some of the art in the following days and weeks. I look forward to sharing the joy with you!

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Come by MNN!

MNN El Barrio Firehouse is pleased to Kick-off a two-year exhibition tour of artwork by the group: “7 Mujeres en Movimiento / 7 Women in Movement”. The group - which consists of talented Puerto Rican multimedia artists, educators and consultants - will showcase their art at the Firehouse commencing the Puerto Rican June 2016 festivities in NYC.

Featured artists of the event will be: Minerva Gonzalez, Tanya Torres, Carmen Ayala, Yarisa Colon, Zaadia Colon, Myrna Nieves and Taina Traverso. Opening performance by Myrna Nieves, Poet. Event curated by Taina Traverso. 

Open to the public, light refreshment will be served. The event will begin with a small reception, followed by a live taping in the main studio for future broadcast on MNN channels. For more information and to register please go to mnn.org