Ana Segovia painting inspiration for Frame to Frames: Your Eyes Follow, Fotogenia, & Link for Entry forms
The ‘Frame to Frames: Your Eyes Follow’ II prize (£200) is judged by an independent panel of leading poetry filmmakers, and awarded by myself for ekphrastic poetry films based on paintings or other types of art. The deadline is 30 September 2023 and all rules and regulations can be found in the entry forms (English and Spanish) below. Artists can submit (up to three) films from their own choice of artwork or this year, as we are in FOTOGENIA festival, Mexico City, (23/11/23–2/12/23) we also are proud to showcase an important and timely painting by leading contemporary Mexican painter Ana Segovia entitled Huapango Torero (2019) from the Karen Huber Gallery. [huapango means ‘a fast and complicated Mexican dance four couples that is usually performed on a wooden platform to accentuate the rhythmic beating of heels and toes’.]
When I selected this work, I felt it conveyed, through both the painting and the narrative suggested, a catalyst to inspire other breakthrough imaginations. Whilst with obvious connotations reflecting harmony with animals, it is also meant to be interpreted widely, or with broader understanding of symbolism. It may be helpful to learn more about Ana’s background (click here) and approach to patriarchal culture as subject matter, and also the fascinating and extraordinary story behind the painting (click here) (and the La Faena project) which is itself a re-imagining of another traditional painting relating to bullfighting hanging in Mexico City. Furthermore, I discovered that Ana’s work inspired poet Bruno Enciso to write a poem that accompanied the painting.
Artist Ana Segovia (b: 1991) lives and works in Mexico City and has been defined as one of the leading artists of their generation. Through their bold and brilliant figurative paintings, they exude an extraordinary confidence with colour, using it to confront patriarchal culture or ‘archetypes of Mexicanness [mexicanidad]’ head on. They have recently finished showing in the long-running ‘Who Tells a Tale adds a Tail’ group exhibition at Denver Art Museum where they were ‘interrogating mass culture’s creation of prevailing ideas about “Mexicanness” and masculinity’. See here for link.
I was drawn to their work for two reasons: in my own figurative and semi-abstract painting from the 1980s and 1990s (particularly of horses) I always worked with large canvases, and expressed form and a political and subjective eye through colour and expressive brushstrokes. But importantly, they centre on the unspoken (or historically culturally accepted) ideological drama of a scenario, creating through joyous hues a detournement of a binary gendered narrative that could be described as even anachronistic today. Whether examining cowboy culture, football or movie frames from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema it is as if a light has been shed on one moment in time. They seem to ask the viewer to reconsider, ‘propose a different way of looking at history’ to rethink every situation, every constructed cultural understanding of normativity.
There is also a fantastic poem in English and Spanish version based on the painting by leading American poets Lois P. Jones, and ekphrastic poet Elena K. Byrne which you also can use with the painting or create your own poem. Here is the poem in English.
Self Portrait with a Line from Lorca
after the painting Huapango Torero by Ana Segovia
Can I measure this distance between barbed wire and stone
wall bearing all the red delirium of spring,
between dawn and hunger and who has the upper hand…
How is it that something as small as a pistol or a knife can do away
with a man who is a bull? Or
a woman crowned by the farewell party of free speech?
There’s just this rose in my fist, and in the other, a pale sheet,
not of surrender but the torn petticoat from Lorca’s white
wedding. It was enough to hollow my mind. Enough to enter
this field the way I enter a sky full of bedroom windows.
One, witness to a bystander’s silence,
one is my child self, and another, the face of the bull.
You can’t see them, but women are singing across
the sugarcane, the sorghum, avocados,
and the wild Blue Agave. Their song carries me into the evening.
To know, like night, I begin again, entering these selves as
I climb through, step over each threshold
of who I am to test this outlawed animal mettle of our
youth, because I want to know who you are under this half-
blanched moon at the side of the hour’s
road and its unending fields that I now claim as my own.
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