River Makers is a new exhibition by Alicia Paz, presenting paintings and installations, referencing water and the notions of fluidity and change, as positive forces in the formation of female identity.
Combining influences from social history with fiction and fantasy, she explores the metaphorical dimension and rich symbolism of the sea, and of estuaries and rivers, considering them as areas of movement, exchange, transition, and renewal.
Images of eels and octopus tentacles are playfully combined to create intricate visual compositions. These are accompanied by an evolving series of paintings of historical female figures titled Juntas (Together). They are a kind of inspirational ‘family tree’, representing women thinkers, writers, artists, and also female swimmers, who have interested, moved or influenced Paz over the years.
The title River Makers references the long history of water management and the legacy of historical European migration to areas such as the Fens, and the Isle of Axholme neighbouring the River Trent in North Lincolnshire – specifically the Dutch and French Huguenot colonies that were involved in the draining of the marshlands to create the landscape we know today.
River Makers is curated by Lassla Esquivel, founder of Periferia Projects, and has been generously supported by Arts Council England.