The still-life photograph Birds of Paradise is part of a larger series called The Matriarchs that affirms the generative power of women’s voices within an increasingly fragile and threatened landscape. Combining flora, time-sensitive materials, and fragments of the body while referencing the Dutch vanitas tradition of the 16th and 17th centuries, the works allude to the fragility of life while at the same time looking to women as culture bearers who offer alternate ways of relating to our environment, and to each other.
Cristina Molina is a visual artist who hails from the subtropics of Miami and currently lives and works in New Orleans—two environmentally precarious sites that have influenced her research on identity, loss, and disappearing landscapes. Spanning performance, video installation, photography, and textile design, Molina’s artwork is set amongst vulnerable terrains both real and imagined. Using the language of magical realism, her works reshape and centralize little-known narratives to upend dominant histories. Molina’s projects are typically collaborative and often include the participation of The Crystal Efemmes—a collective that produces immersive installations and performances with feminist agendas and mythical proposals. From 2014-20 Molina was a member of the New Orleans artist-run project, The Front where she curated artwork and co-organized The Front’s annual film festival. Cristina Molina is an Associate Professor and Gallery Director at Southeastern Louisiana University where she received the 2018 President’s Award for Excellence in Artistic Activity and was the recipient of the Viola Brown Endowed Professorship in Visual and Dramatic Arts from 2020-22.
Recent accolades include a fellowship at the Artist in Residence in Everglades program (2019), the Joan Mitchell Center (2021), and project support from the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2020 Molina was one of 61 artists selected for the national exhibition State of the Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Previously, her work has been featured at the New Orleans Museum of Art, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, The Polk Museum, New Orleans Film Festival, and Syros International Film Festival among others.