Spanish painter celebrates historical journeys through art

Rufina Santana is accustomed to painting on canvases the size of living room walls. She is not accustomed to teaching in a classroom. But this fall, the Spanish artist is co-teaching a graduate level course — Water Cartographies — with History professor Aurora Morcillo.

The class combines cartography (the science of making maps) with geography, history and art. It’s something Santana knows a lot about. Nine pieces of her work, including three oversized paintings celebrating nature through water abstracts, are currently on display at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum. Their unified focus is journeys.

rufina-santana-homepage-banner-1“Miami is a point of special entrance for all types of international influences to the United States,” Santana said. “Symbolically, it is also a point of special entrance of influence from the Old World to the New World. My art is very much influenced by the Mediterranean and Old World mythology and traditions.”

Students in the class are studying the conceptual shift from a historical analysis built around political borders to historical narratives that cross oceans, often through art.

Santana holds a degree in fine arts and painting from Barcelona University. She lives in the Canary Islands, where she produces most of her work. Her current exhibit at The Frost is presented in partnership between the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, Spanish and Mediterranean Studies Program. It is sponsored by the Delegado del Gobierno de Canarias en Miami with additional support from TotalBank. The exhibit is on display through Dec. 13.

Santana and Morcillo will give a presentation on the Water Cartographies exhibit Wed., Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the FIU Frost Art Museum.

Evelyn S. Perez contributed to this story