Zahner Center |  January 27 – February 15, 2023
Curated by Claudia DeMonte and Cecilia Mandrile
Organized by Yuni Villalonga, Director of Curatorial Programs, Coral Gables Museum

Participating Artists:
Liene Bosque | Ivonne Ferrer | Maria Lino | Shelly McCoy | Adrian Menendez | Aurora Molina
Patrick Oleson | Fabian Pena | Evelyn Politzer | Zion Rozier | Aida Tejada | Laura Villarreal | Silvia Yapur

Handkerchiefs have accompanied people in celebrations and farewells in many cultures for centuries, offered bodily protection and coverage, and sustained expressions of political tenets and spiritual beliefs. In this project, handkerchiefs become vessels of memories and itinerant narratives; containers of emotions; translators of wounds, and signals of ideological resistance. Each piece epitomizes a soft space that holds disappearing recollections of homeland as well as reflections on displacement and identity that can be carried as a tangible memento. In times when touch appears as a dangerous sense, every single printed handkerchief means a meaningful testament to the continuous nurturing mentorship among artists and educators, reminding us that soft touch remains both as an intimate and universal element of communication.

The World is a Handkerchief is a traveling exhibition rooted in the Spanish saying ‘el mundo es un pañuelo,’ which translates into English as ‘this is such a small world’. The project traces serendipitous encounters, moments of discovering personal connections in distant places or unexpected contexts.

The project began with the meeting of Claudia DeMonte and Cecilia Mandrile as a mentor and student respectively at the University of Maryland, United States in 1995 and has expanded through an international collaborative network between mentors, students, and peers. To celebrate this constant and sustained creative dialogue, in 2019 the curators developed a portable exhibition of 50 handkerchiefs that explored the meaning of belonging and interconnectedness that this Spanish saying so tangibly evokes.

In the reconstruction of this alternative family made up of artists and collectives from different latitudes and generations during the last two decades, both printed an edition of 25 handkerchiefs, and sent a printed handkerchief along with a blank handkerchief to 50 invited artists to intervene with their own reflections on home, identity, and belonging. From this exchange a “wandering genealogy” was born, a tribute to the strong threads that have woven this shared territory as itinerant artists and educators.

Driven by the collaborative nature of their artistic practice and based on extensive research into the history and tradition of the printed handkerchief, it is only natural that this family tree expands its branches through traveling graphic editions. The World in a Handkerchief is a new chapter of the project, a graphic, soft, and traveling portfolio curated by guest artists from the core genealogy. Workshops have been held at the Centre for Fine Print Research, Bristol, UK; Proyecto’ ace and Zona Imaginaria.

This exhibition is the result of the project’s iteration in Miami, where a group of local artists have been selected and invited to participate in the workshop. The resulting works, along with the previous handkerchirfs, will be presented at the Coral Gables Museum from January 27 to February 15, 2023.

Special thanks to our sponsor