New Prophets

New Prophets started with my fascination with the Commentary of the Apocalypse, a Spanish illuminated manuscript from the 8th century. Today, more than a thousand years later, this book acquires a completely different meaning as we face new apocalyptical threats, environmental destruction and climate injustice. In my works I’ve chosen to repurpose specific stories, creatures and symbols that historically have been used to depict evil or negative forces, mostly in Christian scriptures. Through these new bejeweled micro-universes I want to materialise new interpretations for these images, making their spiritual legacies relevant within contemporary culture. By questioning these obsolete belief systems, their motifs and prejudiced meanings I hope to trigger new forms of magical thinking, activating their spirituality through form, colour and space, reflecting on an extensive circulation of ideas, works and people. Perhaps we can see these images no longer as threatening and repressive but as part of an exciting new narrative: a vision that embraces multispecies ecologies and challenges dualistic relationships between human and non-human entities.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream
From the series New Prophets, 2023.
Sequins, glass beads and gold leaf on canvas; wood, clay, plaster, gesso, acrylic and glass rhinestones.
80x70x5cm

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream is a complex amalgamation of different symbols and figures, blended together through glass beads, sequins and gold leaf on canvas, then mounted on a sculptural frame decorated with hundreds of rhinestones. The work reminisces of Romanesque and Byzantine art, but behind its bedazzling appearance we can find a cautionary tale of resource extraction and interplanetary expansion.

The work is inspired by the story of the Babylonian king and his dream where a big statue, its head “made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay” is knocked down by a meteorite, interpreted by the prophet Daniel as the rise and fall of empires. 2500 years later, we can perhaps reinterpret this dream as a potential image of the ongoing environmental destruction and climate injustice. Directly pointing to the extraction of rare Earth metals (now including asteroids and near-Earth objects), the work depicts king Nebuchadnezzar surrounded by a satellite, a burning meteor entering our atmosphere and two giant cacti from the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest lithium reserve.

 

 

La palma me llevó el alma.
From the series New Prophets, 2024.
Sequins, glass beads and gold leaf on canvas; wood, clay, plaster, gesso, acrylic and glass rhinestones.
80x70x5cm

In this new work I bring together two intercultural symbols, human-made and natural: a horseshoe arch and a date palm tree. The first is emblematic of the western Islamic world, particularly in the Iberian Peninsula where it was widely used as architectural feature by diverse communities. The second one is regarded as symbol of abundance and prosperity among different faiths and peoples in north Africa and all across the Mediterranean. With this image I want to reflect on the extensive circulation of ideas, works and people that came before us, bringing to the front the power of meaningful collaborative exchanges while building a bridge between the traditional mediums of canvas painting, textile and sculpture.

I started working on this piece right after visiting the hermitage of San Baudelio de Berlanga. This 11th century sanctuary, located in the north of Spain, represents an outstanding example of Mozarabic architecture, an early medieval artistic style that originated in Spain and blends influences of Visigothic, pre-Romanesque, Islamic and Byzantine origins.

A humble small building made out of native stone, San Baudelio’s exterior  offers no decorative elements except for a small horseshoe-arched door. Stepping inside is like stepping into a different dimension: the main nave is supported by an extraordinary column in the shape of a colossal palm tree, a foreign species to these cold empty lands.

 

 

I know that you are by my side.
From the series New Prophets, 2024.
Sequins, glass beads and gold leaf on canvas; wood, clay, plaster, gesso, acrylic and glass rhinestones.
80x70x5cm

Drawing inspiration from medieval illuminated manuscripts, this work challenges the standard iconographic representations of women within the centuries-long context of European art history. While mostly being portrayed in submissive roles and associated with either purity and innocence or plainly evil temptation, here explosive colours and richly decorated non-male figures set the tone for a much different story. Understanding the power of imagined spaces, the premise of this work is that of relevance and celebration. 

Under a colourful arch, a central character, magnificently dressed and reclined on a throne, is shown enjoying a book and a glass of wine. A group of friends represented only by their heads, are looking over her, also smiling, perhaps offering company or protection. Below, two naughty feline animals have joined the party with similar intentions. The image is filled with perspective through a beautiful gold-tiled floor reminiscing of early Renaissance paintings. The composition ends with a glowing full moon and large clouds that come out of the ornamental frame.