Jorge Mayet

Laying Down Roots: Jorge Mayet’s Cuban Inspired Sculptures

Roots are the things that tie us down to places – whether it is the place we were born, or a place we’ve come to think of as our own. For Jorge Mayet, roots form an integral part of his artistic work. In his collection of tree sculptures, roots extend out in a flurry of different materials, like feathers and wire, while the branches hug houses or hang above landscapes of various terrains.

As a Cuban expatriate now living in Mallorca, Spain, a lot of Mayet’s work harks back to his time in Havana and the surrounding Cuban scenery. Unlike many artworks that purport political connotations of Cuba, Mayet’s work acts more as an ode to his home country. Not only do his pieces reminisce about the nature of Cuba, but they also hint at his new found liberation in Spain.

Jorge Mayet

Perhaps the most striking thing about Mayet’s sculptures, though, are the intricate designs that take place below the surface. More often than not, the roots are far more expansive that the scenes above ground, encouraging viewers to remember that what we can see is usually only half of the picture.

Using wires, paper, and fabric, Mayet’s works are a concoction of conceptual connections between his far-flung memories of Cuba, as well as a visual metaphor of his uprooting to Spain. Together, this combination provides a surreal experience that can be perceived in many different ways.

Jorge Mayet

According to Mayet, his memory is photographic, which is why he can so easily bring Cuban scenes to the forefront of his mind, despite not having lived there for more than two decades. But his memories of his home country aren’t the only inspiration behind his pieces. “The landscapes in my paintings are a combination of many things,” he says, adding that “the imaginary work is, of course, influenced by natural landscapes surrounding me.” But there’s always a bit of himself in each piece. “I live like a tree pulled from its roots,” he says, but goes on to add that each and every one of us should value the earth and nature, “because it is from she that we are able to live.”

Jorge Mayet

The tree forms a prominent part of Mayet’s work, which is no coincidence. In Cuba, a number of trees are revered for the mystical symbolism. Many locals pray and ask these specific trees for things by offering something in return. For Mayet, including trees in his work transforms it into a dreamlike vision and honours the beliefs of his people.

Jorge Mayet

To create each piece, Mayet uses electrical cables to construct the tree, which forms the focal point of each image. When the shape is in place, he uses paper mache to add texture and details to the tree and to give them a personality of their own. Sometimes, he’ll include feathers to add an organic element to his work, though he is careful “that they do not come from birds belonging to a threatened species or those in any danger of extinction.”

The result brings together a sense of uprooting and suspension, where nature seems to be the only element holding everything together.

Enjoy the track “Stationary” by Silent Servant while viewing additional work by Jorge Mayet.

Jorge Mayet

Jorge Mayet

Jorge Mayet

Jorge Mayet

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