Argentine Artist Ana María Hernando’s Spring Oasis Amidst New York’s Winter

In the heart of New York City, amidst the cold embrace of the year’s first winter storm, Argentine artist Ana María Hernando unveils a breathtaking installation in Madison Square Park. Her latest project, a whimsical landscape crafted from clouds and cascading pink tulle, starkly contrasts the city’s prevailing grey tones, infusing warmth and light into the urban fabric.

Embracing Winter’s Chill with Spring’s Longing

Braving the snow and chill, Hernando’s creations, on display until March 17, embody a longing for spring’s softness and lightness. “I wanted to bring spring forward, to attend to our yearning for what is soft and light, for what helps us keep walking,” Hernando shared with EFE. Her work reflects a more profound desire to nurture the good within us, to prevent the metaphorical freezing that hinders our movement towards better things.

The installations, reminiscent of flowers rising to meet the viewer, floating above the park, became even more striking as they dawned covered in snow. This intensified the juxtaposition between the harsh winter reality of the city and the spring-like ambiance Hernando aims to evoke.

Symbolizing Light in the Shadows

Hernando’s work speaks to a ‘winter’ ravaging humanity, casting a shadow of darkness worldwide. “I wanted to create a piece to remind us that we are much more than darkness, much more than our sadness,” she explained. In this context, her work in Manhattan’s renowned plaza becomes a metaphor for shared human experience, emphasizing social unity’s importance in combatting darkness, winter’s gloom, and the burdens of contemporary life.

Her project seeks to convey hope, strength, and resilience to viewers through various shades of pink tulle, which adds volume to the sculptures and creates an illusion of movement. The cloud installation, titled ‘Letting the Sky Know,’ is a poetic gesture, inviting viewers to ponder what they wish to communicate to the universe. Meanwhile, the cascading tulle waterfall, ‘A Spring of Wild Kindnesses,’ evokes New York City’s ‘jungle of kindnesses’ filled with charitable acts among strangers.

Inspiration from Women Weavers

The women who handcraft textiles are central to Hernando’s work, a tribute to her youthful days working in her family’s textile factory in Buenos Aires, sewing alongside women she now profoundly admires. She also draws inspiration from afternoons spent with her mother and grandmothers, gathering at home for conversation and crochet. “I admire the circles of women who have gathered throughout the centuries to collaborate, work together, and support each other. In my work, I seek these moments of union,” she stated.

In her art, Hernando finds inspiration in both traditional and contemporary creations by Latin American women and those who have emigrated from their home countries. She also incorporates influences from the embroidery of cloistered nuns in Buenos Aires and the textiles and goods of Peruvian women from the Andes.

Cultural Threads: Latin American Influences

Her passion for tulle emerged during the COVID-19 quarantine in 2020 when it was the only material she had at home. Facing a situation beyond her control, she embraced the flow of events. “When something happens that’s out of our control, one can either fight it or join the movement and flow with what comes. I took it as an opportunity,” she expressed.

This project marks the 20th anniversary of the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s art program. To celebrate, the park will host additional events such as artist meet-and-greets and the screening of a short documentary, further enriching the city’s cultural tapestry.

A Sanctuary Amidst Winter’s Bleakness

Hernando’s installation in Madison Square Park is not just an art exhibit; it is a sanctuary of hope and beauty amidst the bleakness of winter. Her work invites New Yorkers and visitors alike to pause and immerse themselves in a world where the softness of spring prevails over the harshness of winter. It’s a visual and emotional journey, a reminder of the resilience and beauty inherent in nature and humanity.

The unique fusion of Hernando’s personal history, cultural influences, and artistic vision culminates in an installation that transcends mere visual appeal. It becomes a narrative of interconnectedness, resilience, and the enduring human spirit. Her use of tulle, a material transformed by necessity during the pandemic, symbolizes adaptability and creativity in adversity.

A Homage to Women and Latin American Artisans

Hernando’s art resonates on multiple levels. It is a homage to the collective strength of women, an ode to the enduring spirit of Latin American artisans, and a celebration of the small acts of kindness that define the human experience. Her work is a testament to art’s power to inspire, heal, and bring people together.

As the installation graces Madison Square Park, it becomes a beacon of light and hope. It is a bold statement against the backdrop of a city characterized by its relentless pace and towering skyscrapers. Hernando’s work offers a moment of reflection, a space for contemplation, and a reminder of the softer, more colorful aspects of life often overshadowed by urbanity.

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Ana María Hernando’s installation is more than just an art piece; it’s a profound statement about resilience, hope, and the enduring beauty of the human spirit. As visitors wander through the pink tulle cascades and gaze up at the cloud-like structures, they are invited to dream, hope, and remember the brighter, warmer days ahead. Hernando’s work in Madison Square Park is not just an artistic achievement; it’s a gift to the city of New York, offering a vibrant splash of spring in the heart of winter.

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