Written by Zion Sealy
Even in the midst of the pandemic, FIU Art+Art History alumni are finding opportunities to showcase their work.
Alumnus Abdiel Acosta '16 recently had his work featured as part of a virtual exhibit hosted by the Coral Gables Museum.
In response to the recent social distancing orders, the Coral Gables Museum has transitioned to a fully online experience and are featuring new artists every Monday and Wednesday.
The Portfolio Review Series is a platform created by the museum in order to link local artists with the Coral Gables art community and public. The exhibit is especially unique in not displaying the work of the artists on walls, but rather, “their portfolios, sketches, catalogs, small, unframed pieces, and other materials, for an evening of great conversation.”
The museum also hosted small discussion groups in order to connect and network with other local upcoming artists.
The recent exhibition, which featured Acosta’s work, depicts the historical and mythical creatures of wetlands and seas through eye-catching black and white print aesthetics. All of the uploaded pieces were originally done as ink wash on scratchboard paper—and throughout the pieces, a contrast can be noted between modern society and a prehistoric past. This is especially seen through the juxtaposing of the different creatures with current infrastructure. See sea turtles, herons and manta rays are featured alongside tall bypasses and highways, portraying the overall feeling of “Displacement” and “Heading in the wrong direction” - the names of two of his pieces.
In 2016, Acosta, who graduated with a master's in art education, was awarded first place in the 53rd Annual International Coconut Grove Art Festival in the category of printmaking and drawing. As a student, he was awarded FIU UGS Provost Award for Outstanding Creative Project.
“I felt honored and excited to work again with Yuneikys Villalonga, the chief curator for the Coral Gables Museum. I felt it was a great opportunity for a wide range of audiences to view my work... It is always a great honor when your community museum seeks out to showcase their local talent,” Acosta said.
Acosta loves giving back to his community by mentoring younger students who share in his love of art. Outside of teaching in Miami Dade schools, he participates in the Arts 4 Learning program as a core faculty teacher and even provided advice to our current FIU Art students.
“My advice is to not leave any stones unturned. Work hard. It takes time to build a series of work. In the beginning, you are discovering yourself and your voice will slowly take form... Keep chipping away at that stone. Sometimes that stone feels overwhelming, but you must continue fighting and looking for opportunities.”
In the midst of the social distancing orders, Acosta believes that times like these bring out the best in us since we all have to evolve. He spends his time now familiarizing himself with the online art space from promoting to exhibiting his work. He sees it as an opportunity for another “tool” we can utilize in the future.
“I believe that the students that are coming out of this are even more knowledgeable of this and they are better for it. The writing is on the wall, and once we do go back to some sort of normal, these tools will be invaluable.”
Acosta’s virtual exhibition can be viewed here. You can also find more of his work on Facebook and Instagram: @abdielacostaart.