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8th December – 26th January 2023


JO-HS and Olympia are proud to collaborate and present Works In Gress, a solo exhibition of tapestrie created over the course of the last two years by Cassandra Mayela. The exhibition highlights Mayela’ ongoing Maps of Displacement - a participatory series of site-specific installations created through repurposing Venezuelan immigrants' clothes to create tapestries that evoke one of the largest modern-day refugee crises.

For the past 2 years, Mayela has been collecting clothing from Venezuelan immigrants that hav relocated in different parts of the U.S. and the world. She asks for something that represents them or has a connection with their migratory process. These works are dependent on the collection process itself and oftentimes getting people involved has proven to be hard as for some, reliving their experiences can be quite painful.

By working within a site-specific framework, the tapestries connect with the specificities of the locatio studied through material, scale, and pallet. Each piece opens a repository of personal and social experience of diaspora, blurring the lines between artifact and contemporary sculptural and textile practices.

Maps of Displacement, the central component of Mayela’s textile practice, is recontextualized in the metropolis of Mexico City, with a refined understanding of what it means to complete a work of art, especiall as it pertains to a socio political reality that has no end in sight.

Works in Gress/Trabajos en Greso

“Work in Gress - Trabajo en Greso”

“Work in progress” (WIP) is an acronym often used by artists to indicate that the work being presented is unfinished.

In this context, Maps of Displacement is a ‘Work in Progress’ as the subject of the series is an unresolved and unending migratory crisis. However, when considering the cultural implication of a social crisis, the word regression feels more appropriate than progress.

So, what is progress? And what is regress? What is gress?

‘Pro’ means forward and ‘re’ means backwards. ‘Gress’ derives from the Latin gressus: a step, pace, degree. It indicates almost exclusively, movement.

This leads me to recontextualize my own understanding of forward vs. backwards, and instead use the term Work in Gress (WIG). I want to note that my practice will always be in gress, focusing on the movement without it being related to any sort of system; just movement.”

–Cassandra Mayela

About Cassandra Mayela (b. Caracas 1989)

Cassandra Mayela is a self-taught textile artist working and living in New York since her forced migration from Venezuela in 2014. Her personal experiences as an immigrant and a woman of colour have shaped her curiosity for clothing’s story-telling capacity and how migration affects one’s identity and feelings of belonging. In doing so, her work is largely community-orientated, exploring the idea that fundamental changes in fabric can affect one’s perception of identity, highlighting new avenues of empowerment.

Solo Exhibitions
2022 “_e_ _z_ _ _a, a star”, NADA House NY
2021 “Maps of Displacement: NY” at Olympia Gallery NY

Group Exhibitions
2022 “Third space” at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC (forthcoming) 2022 “Domesticada” at JO-HS CDMX
2021 “Transient Grounds” curated by Acompi /NARS foundation Governors Island NY
2021 “Dodecagon” at Olympia Gallery NY
2020 “Breathmaps” curated by La Salita NY
2019 “American Earthquake” curated by Olympia Gallery NY

2021 “Let me answer with a question” at Olympia Gallery NY

2022 “Learning through art” program at Amant NY 2022 Sucurro Upstate NY