The Miami Guide is excited to share Miami Design District’s latest public artwork as designed by one of the world’s most prominent and coveted muralists, Criola. This addition to the neighborhood was commissioned by MDD’s new Director of Cultural Programming, Karen Grimson. Hailing from a storied career in cultural art curation, Karen has hit the ground running in her new role- this mural being only the start.
“There is an undeniably strong history of representation of Black female figures in Brazilian art, from Candido Portinari and Tarsila do Amaral, to Dalton Paula and Rosana Paulino. Criola’s work builds on this legacy, but also pushes the boundaries on the possibilities for Black women’s self-determination, thereby confronting systemic racism and state repression. I think that allocating this massive wall in the public space to the work of an Afro-Latina artist who is representing pre-colonial rituals is a political gesture that will not go unnoticed, and will resonate loudly across the heterogeneous communities that make up Miami, which is in itself a ‘Creole City’.” Karen Grimson tells The Miami Guide.
Drawing from her Afro-Brazilian heritage, Criola creates art that explores the protagonism of black women and the importance of their role in the world. Her largest work to date, Interdimensional Portal, is now on display, scaling a massive 39 x 137 feet, in the Miami Design District. Towering over Jungle Plaza, and woven with neon pops of color and bold prints, this mural has electrified the visual landscape of the neighborhood.
On behalf of all female artists of color worldwide, Miami Design District is proud to provide the canvas for a trailblazer in the world of social justice and public art.
INTERDIMENSIONAL PORTAL | Miami Design District | AUGUST 2022
In this monumental mural, the artist depicts four Black women in profile, facing each other in a mirrored disposition through a central altarpiece. The scene is completed with snake plants, hummingbirds, and serpents, all popular elements in Afro-Brazilian syncretic religions. This suggestive iconography serves as an expression of spiritual healing: snake plants, for instance, are popular plants in Brazil (where they are commonly referred to as “St. George’s Spade”), believed to be instilled with protective powers against evil, and used in ceremonial blessings.
Acclaimed muralist, Criola, has significant mural paintings in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Paris, and now right here in the Miami Design District. The artist’s display in Jungle Plaza will be her largest mural outside of Brazil, and her second public work in the US, following “Black Girl Magic” done in Las Vegas last year. Her mural, Interdimensional Portal, portrays Afro-Brazilian ancestors in ritualistic performance, accessing ancient forest wisdom for medicinal purposes, and transcending thresholds of knowledge.
Criola, born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 1990, is a Brazilian creative whose work addresses issues of social justice through an idiosyncratic language. Her large format paintings and murals feature Black women prominently and refer to ancestral archetypes in order to question contemporary issues of race and gender. Criola’s figurative style combines dense patterns and color-block surfaces, in which Brazilian fauna and flora mix with African matrixes. The artist has monumental mural paintings in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Paris and Minsk, and has recently been developing collaborations with fashion brands.
ABOUT KAREN GRIMSON
The Miami Design District, Miami’s premier luxury shopping Mecca and contemporary art hub recently hired art aficionado Karen Grimson, the neighborhood’s new Art Curator & Director of Cultural Programming. Hailing from The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA), Karen has brought her years of experience and expertise to the city of Miami, to revitalize the Miami Design District’s art programming. Karen also notably doubles as a proficient art historian, specializing in Latin American abstraction, and holds degrees from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. With her prestigious experience in the development of art acquisitions and exhibitions of art from Latin America, Karen will bring a brand new approach to art in the neighborhood on display for all visitors to see and enjoy.
ABOUT MIAMI DESIGN DISTRICT
The Miami Design District is a neighborhood dedicated to innovative fashion, design, art, architecture and dining experiences.The Miami Design District is owned by Miami Design District Associates, a partnership between Dacra, founded and owned by visionary entrepreneur Craig Robins, and L Catterton Real Estate, a global real estate development and investment fund specializing in creating luxury shopping destinations.Together ,Dacra and L Catterton Real Estate have actively transformed the once-overlooked area of Miami into a vibrant destination for residents and visitors by presenting the best shopping, cultural and culinary experiences within an architecturally significant context.The vision for a rejuvenated Design District–responsive to its historic, urban and tropical context–was codified into an urban masterplan developed by award-winning masterplanners Duany Plater-Zyberk, with the additional participation of architects including Sou Fujimoto, Aranda/Lasch, Aranguren & Gallegos, K/R, Johnston Marklee, Neriand Hu, and Studio Gang. The Miami Design District embodies a singular dedication to the unity of design, fashion, art and architecture and a commitment to encourage a neighborhood comprised of creative experiences including public art installations by Buckminster Fuller, Zaha Hadid, John Baldessari, Marc Newson, Konstantin Grcic, Xavier Veilhan, 2×4 and others.The Miami Design District’s landscape master plan by Island Planning Corporation comprises lush green spaces, rooftop gardens, an impressive Palm collection, and streets lined with indigenous canopy trees, offering shade and a lowered ambient climate as a relief from the South Florida sun. In 2021, the Miami Design District earned prestigious LEED Certification for neighborhood development, making it the first in the world to achieve gold status and the third to be Level 4 Certified.