Abait’s current solo exhibition, “A Letter to the Future” – featuring photo-based, hand-embellished works from her “Iceberg Series” – is on view in Terminal 7 at LAX as part of The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and Los Angeles World Airport’s (LAWA) art program. The installation activates a dazzling interplay with the light-filled, airy architecture of the Terminal 7 gallery. When Abait developed the artworks for the show in 2018 and 2019 – which spotlight her “Iceberg Series” – her focus was on raising awareness about environmental issues, immigration, and migration forced by climate change. “When A Letter to the Future” first officially opened, it soon collided with the global lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, immediately rendering airports barren and deserted spaces. With travel opening up, flyers can put the exhibition on the itinerary for their next journey.
On June 23rd at 12 noon, Luciana Abait and LAX art program director Sarah Cifarelli will conduct a walkthrough of, and conversation about, the artist’s vision about the future of our planet. To join: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_b3lAeIJTQUC5a0eyOug-bA
This universal Covid crisis became an integral part of the exhibition’s semiotics. Abait says, “The desolation and isolation portrayed in these artworks becomes not only a burden shouldered by those who have immigrated, but now by all of humanity, since we all have become as isolated as icebergs, locked down in solitude inside our homes. The virus has spread so fast through our global community. I have come to realize that COVID-19 has changed the world that we all knew, and the way we interact, forever. We will all be immigrants in our own shared new world.”
Abait’s “Iceberg Series” is not only inspired by environmental issues – it is also a personal reflection for the artist. Her practice is informed by her own immigration history, from South America to the United States in the 1990s. She uses natural imagery including mountains, icebergs, and oceans – juxtaposed with man-made artifacts – to act as metaphors for her journey. She says, “Icebergs represent me as a wanderer, shifting between oceans and continents.”
The series comprises photo-based, manipulated landscapes with a message underscoring the urgent need for corrective actions to halt human-kind’s destabilization of our planet. Within these frosty and inhospitable terrains, Abait inserts supernatural colors and fragments of civilization – such as theater seats, billboards, and ferris wheels – to produce a surreal yet eerily recognizable dreamscape. The presence of these out-of-place elements suggests issues of adaptation, assimilation, isolation and displacement, and serves as a reflection on the intrusion of humans on the natural world—even in the most remote places on earth, similar to what the pandemic has wrought.
Presented by the Los Angeles World Airports – whose mission is to present diverse art projects to enhance and humanize the travel experience – and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Abait’s “A Letter to the Future” imagines a vast and elemental universe where all humans are immigrants in an unknown new world still challenged by the precarious state of our collective health and our beautiful natural environment.