Siguaraya is a very common tree in Cuba characterized by wide leaves. Its flowers are of a deep green color and its nectar is very sweet. In the Afro Cuban magic religious system this is a plant that represent the Chango deity and it is the first tree that you greet in the Palo religion. This is why Chango is considered the guardian, the one who grants access to the mountain. For Cubans, this plant also symbolizes rebelliousness and resistance.
The series Siguarayal is inspired by the meaning associated with the tree. It conceptually expresses a state of free mind and free spirit. The series includes 365 metal masks that symbolizes the guardian that protects our harmony from the inside out. Inspired by the spiritual characteristics accredited to the “siguaraya,” this body of work aims to visually represent that sense of protection that we can feel when we are in peace with our senses. Consequently, these masks function as a bridge that connects the language of the nature with the language of the spirit. Absorbed between the encounter of two cultures, the Meso American and the Western African, these masks visually express an extra sensorial language.
Each mask is independent and possesses its own language that it is not limited by the whole series. This is a metaphor of our reality as human beings: we are alone with our thoughts and our language until we connect and interact with one another putting our masks on.
We are alone but also, we cannot entirely exist in loneliness. In a similar way, each mask is independent in the plurality of the collection and encloses thoughts, but also dialogues and the noises of random people in the street that we are not directly engaging with, but whose sounds we unavoidably hear and absorb.
Finally, Siguarayal also refer to the daily transformation that our being is subject to and how we change our mask according to our interlocutors.
Below you can find some of the Siguarayal masks. Dimensions vary.