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The Institute of the Arts and Sciences Galleries are closed for summer holiday until September 26, 2023.

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Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas: The Blessings of the Mystery

May 5 - August 13, 2023


Institute of the Arts and Sciences
100 Panetta Ave, Santa Cruz, CA
P (831) 502-7252

Dates and Times

May 5 - August 13, 2023
Hours: 12- 5 p.m. Daily
(Closed Mondays)

Composed of a diverse series of installations, The Blessings of the Mystery materializes Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas’s research into the connections and tensions between the cultural, scientific, economic, and socio-political forces that shape landscapes in the United States from Santa Cruz to West Texas.

The exhibition, which has previously been shown in various iterations at Ballroom Marfa, the University of Texas at Austin, the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, centers on The Teachings of the Hands. The film combines observational and experimental documentary with oral histories, reenactments, and archival footage to narrate a complex history of colonization, migration, and ecological precarity, Told from the perspective of Juan Mancias, Chairman of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, scenes from the present day are woven together with those from 4,000 years in the past to investigate the transformation of Somi Se’k* by way of industry, infrastructure, and private property.

Immersive installations of surveying flags and tools, series of drawings and collages, and a collection of original watercolors from the 1930s by artists and amateur archaeologists Forrest and Lula Kirkland that depict the ancient rock art of the Lower Pecos, expand on concepts in The Teachings of the Hands. The watercolors, rarely seen plein air paintings, are on loan from the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory at the University of Texas, and document the original forms and vibrant colors of murals that were still visible in the 1930s before flooding, erosion, and human interaction damaged or destroyed them. Together, the rich assortments of artwork explore the myriad relationships between environmental justice, encounters between history and memory, and Indigenous rights and cosmologies. 

*Somi Se’k means the Land of the Sun and is the way the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe refers to the land known as Texas.

About the Artists (Tab to skip section.)
person with black tshirt and scarf around neck sits at a crowded desk

Carolina Caycedo

Carolina Caycedo (b. 1978) is a multidisciplinary artist known for her performances, video, artist’s books, sculptures and installations that examine environmental and social issues. She has held residencies at the DAAD in Berlin and The Huntington in San Marino; and received funding from Creative Capital and Prince Claus Fund. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Museum of Modern Art, New York (2022); Ballroom Marfa, TX (2022); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2022); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2021); and Institute of Contemporary Art Boston (2020). Caycedo has been featured in group exhibitions at Serpentine Galleries, London (2022); El Museo del Barrio, New York (2021); Museo de Arte São Paulo (2019); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2019); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2018); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA (2017); and Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea (2017).

hands holding a black and white picture

David De Rozas

David de Rozas (b. 1979) is a multidisciplinary artist and award-winning filmmaker whose practice merges experimental documentary and contemporary art forms, revisiting and relocating the politics of memory. De Rozas films have been screened in festivals and film curated series worldwide, such as Visions du Réel, Sheffield Doc/Fest, True/False, and Kassel DocFest. He directed and produced GIVE (2018), winning seven international awards including Best Short Documentary at FullFrame and Best Experimental at the Smithsonian African American Film Festival. The film was nationally broadcasted on P.O.V. and nominated for an Emmy under the Documentary Outstanding New Approaches category in 2019. David de Rozas is currently working on Here We Is, a new body of work that focuses on Downtown Los Angeles’ current explosive development and its history of community erasures.