Enjoy the spiritual atmosphere of KAREN MIRANDA-RIVADENEIRA's art practice, as her life has returned to the basics as a result of the pandemic.

She invites you into her daily life in New York City as she contemplates the regeneration of her community. Everything from morning rituals to choosing materials for her photographs and paintings is connected to the Mesoamerican heritage that empowers her mind and body. For her recent MEDA series, she reenacts the legends of the first human woman amid primeval landscapes of rocks and caves.

KAREN MIRANDA-RIVADENEIRA (Born in New York City, 1983)

Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira was raised in both the United States and Ecuador. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York and holds a post-graduate degree for her studies in photography at Danish School of Journalism in Denmark. Her photography and mixed media work have been exhibited at institutions including the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute and the United Nations. Karen's practice explores the relationships between humans and nature through factual and fictional narratives inviting us into a fantastical world She received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in 2010 among other distinctions. She lives in New York City with her mother.

Here is Karen's artist statement on her latest series MEDA.

"MEDA is fictitious. As in its Latin root: to make by hand; made of clay; to earthen. It pertains to the imagination, to the realm of dark creative force.

Informed by the southwest landscape where I lived, these images explore our relation to nature from the principle of myth and memory embedded in the body as the first land and the land as the first body.

Obu-Oja, 2019, large format paper negative color print, triptych, 108 x 36 in. ed. of 3, © Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira

To talk about the desert is to speak of water, its vestige exposing a tactile earth story, what does it mean for the psyche located in myths and in the memory that lives in the skin? In the languages of the Original people, Iyurina, ya sankofa; to remember by contemplating the land.

Deep in the mind of every living human there are memories that can be traced back to millions of years and they can be activated under specific sounds, patterns, and images; ancient cosmologies shaped by geography, dust and blood. I seek a relation to nature that is spontaneous, collaborative and non-binary. Matriarchal sustenance birthed from transformation, pain and power. What I capture and encounter in these women is their relation to the body as the first land that we live in, which is also a land that bleeds.

Gathering Roots, 2018, large format paper negative print, 38 x 22 in. ed. of 5 © Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira

Photography has the ability to confront illusion: as both, a layering subjective process and as a raw direct experience.

We live in tumultuous times, contemplating the land is contemplating our origin and also where we are heading. MEDA is an anthology of the essentiality of intersectional storytelling, blood memory, a celebration of resilience, and our increasing need for a new paradigm."