Juliana Durán
22 March – 15 April 2023

The tropics have long been associated with exoticism, lushness, and excess. As Nancy Leys Stepan shows in Picturing Tropical Nature, “The ‘tropical’ came to constitute more than a geographical concept; it signified a place of radical otherness to the temperate world, with which it contrasted and which it helped constitute”.

Tropicality, although a concept that first appeared with colonisation, is deeply rooted in pre-hispanic ways of life, where resourcefulness and creativity were essential for survival. By embracing these values, these works pay homage to the real legacy of the tropics. Being exotic is not a quality of the object, person, or place itself, but rather a feeling or reaction that the observer experiences temporarily.

Tropical Debris is not only a collection of upcycled objects but also a statement of identity and a challenge to cultural assumptions and stereotypes associated with the concept of tropical. By giving new life to discarded materials, the pieces defy the absurdity of a society that often prioritizes waste over resourcefulness.

Photography by Ardit Hoxha