Calafia: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise

6 Oct 2019 – 12 Jan 2020

Regular hours

12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00

Cost of entry


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The early 16th century novel Las Sergas de Esplandian, by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo, described a mythical California as a rugged island paradise, populated entirely by women, and ruled by the great black queen Calafia with the help of her army of warriors and their man-eating griffins.


This legendary version of California serves as a point of departure to examine the region and its peoples as a collective territory, criss-crossed and scarred by political, psychological, and geological borders. Featuring projects from contemporary artists on both sides of the border, the exhibition weaves urgent questions about feminism, indigenous rights, gentrification and displacement, misogyny, post-colonialism, and resistance movements into and through the current and historical political climate of the region.

Calafia: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise is organized by the curatorial team of the MexiCali Biennial: Ed Gomez, Luis G. Hernandez, and Daniela Lieja Quintanar. The MexiCali Biennial is a non-profit, contemporary visual arts organization that focuses on the area encompassing the California and Mexico border as a region of aesthetic production. Originally started as a project critiquing the proliferation of international and regional art biennials, it operates nomadically and may appear at any time and at any location. Its exhibitions appear on both sides of the California/Mexico border through partnerships with arts institutions to showcase both emerging and established artists working in all media. This fall, the MexiCali Biennial brings Calafia: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise to the Armory.


Daniela Lieja Quintanar

Luis G. Hernandez

Ed Gomez


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