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A Nexus of Culture in Little Haiti

The Moksha Family Arts Collective

Monica Torres

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Within a row of warehouses in Little Haiti’s burgeoning arts district resides 7th Circuit Studios and The Moksha Gallery, Boutique & Pleaidian Lounge. A combination gallery and event space, the warehouse has a large stage where live bands and DJs entertain. On the venue’s walls are colorful and trippy, nature inspired artwork from some of Miami’s best-known artists like Luis Valle, Donna Torres, Anya Nadal, Alvaro Santamaria, and Eva Ruiz.

One of Ruiz’s paintings “Birth of the New Woman,” depicts a dread-headed African American female with a tree-trunk physique, and is a representative image for the Moksha Family Arts Collective. Ruiz’s image of a woman with roots deep in the earth and leaf-filled limbs branching upwards is on the flyer for the collective’s monthly Moksha Roots Live. The image represents a connection to Mother Nature, spiritual freedom, and cultural harmony, ideals that this “nexus of artists, musicians, technicians, and visionaries” aspires to embody through art.

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On every third Friday evening of the month, 7th Circuit Productions Presents Moksha Roots Live, the official after party for the Rhythm Foundation’s “Big Night in Little Haiti.” On this night, an outdoor area opens visitors to a vibrant, communal experience with nature, art, and music. DJs and musicians perform culturally harmonic tunes under the moonlight. Drummers create a circle of beats in which fire dancers spin around flaming, fuel-lit props and hula-hoopers undulate like waves to the night’s rhythms.

An aging hippie bus parked on the grass takes one on another kind of journey. Sitting inside the cushioned seats of the smoky stationary ride, one jams out on conga drums with fellow passengers. The unmovable ride gives the strange sensation of going on a musical ride through time. On this night, delicious home-made vegetarian foods are served-up to an earth-friendly, spiritually conscious crowd. This Friday, Moksha Roots Live presents “A Taste of Peruvian Culture” to celebrate Peruvian Independence Day. https://www.facebook.com/events/599558786828788/

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Moksha refers to the Sanskrit term for “enlightenment.” The collective “celebrates the mystery that unites us with an eclectic mix of performances by individuals and groups from local and international communities.” Some performances are “contemporary, some traditional and sacred, yet all are magical and meant to explore the inner landscape on the quest for universal oneness.”

In addition to festive celebrations, the Moksha Family Arts Collective has also been hosting a bi-monthly lecture series. The multidisciplinary gathering is a place to share ideas and dialoguewhile exploring consciousness and a connection with the universe.

Topics have included plant medicine, shamanism, spirituality, natural and social sciences. Since 2002, speakers have included Dennis McKenna, Alex Grey, Dr. Joe Tafur, and Daniel Pinchbeck. Currently, for this month of July, Constantino Manuel Torres, Professor Emeritus of Art and Art History at FIU is giving a series of lectures on Art and Shamanism. The topic of magic, ritual, and mysticism curiously sparks the interest of many. “Art and Shamanism” includes four lectures on Thursday evenings over the month of July.

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“ART AND SHAMANISM”

  • I. Introduction – Shamanic flight: trance, transformation and the quest for ecstasy. General characteristics and antiquity of shamanism.
  • II. Shamanic case histories – The far north: Siberia, the Inuit, and the Tlingit.
  • III. Shamanism and the ritual use of visionary plants in the Americas 1.
  • IV. Shamanism and the ritual use of visionary plants in the Americas 2.
  • Conclusions – Shamanism and contemporary life: implications for the creative process.

Art opening and class – Thursday, July 10, 2014:  Doors open at 6 p.m. Lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. The next classes are: July 17, 24 and 31 (7to 10  p.m.) $15 donation per day, $40 donation for four classes (suggested for continuity)

  • *MOKSHA ART GALLERY OPENING*
  • ~DONNA TORRES~
  • ~EVA RUIZ~
  • ~ANYA NADAL~
  • ~ALVARO SANTAMARIA~
  • ~LUIS VALLE~

7th Circui Productions
228 NE 59th St. Miami, FL 33137
For info: 305-757-7277
Log into Facebook, then click the link below:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1381329488823573/

Constantino Manuel Torres, Professor Emeritus, Art and Art History, Florida International University, is an art historian who specializes in the study of pre-Columbian cultures and artifacts. Recent publications include his third book, Anadenanthera: Visionary Plant of Ancient South America. Routledge, 2006 (with David Repke as second author); and the forthcoming chapter,”The Relationship between visionary plants and iconography in the art of Tiwanaku.” In Images in Action: Studies of the Southern Andean Iconographic Series, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C., and Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles (2015).

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