Dorazio’s latest body of work, Symphoniae (from συμφωνία, meaning agreement or concord of sound) is grounded in the notion of creating harmony from disparity. More than the simple juxtaposition of objects, these works extend and flow, flexing a certain malleability to connect, to weave together what is apart. Images plucked from dreamscapes, rendered in the unforgiving medium of egg tempera, mingle with popular art techniques, suggesting universal connections that supersede the mundanely uni-cultural, hinting at some cosmic organizing force that would fold symbols and artifacts into its metaphysical, spherical embrace. Al-khous palm frond weavings, crafted by Emirati Bedouin women, spiral throughout the work, forming the basic movement-infused backdrop across which dance other elements, some crafted, some appropriated. 

But the eclectic components of Symphoniae don’t just invite a multiplicity of interpretations in the satisfying glow of some happy universal ideal. They also rub salt in the wound of what it means to “cannibalize” other cultures.  Recalling Oswald de Andrade’s Cannibalist Manifesto (1928), in which the Brazilian poet argues that Brazil’s history of cannibalizing other cultures enabled it to escape European postcolonial cultural domination, the artist tugs at syncretism, asking us to find the regional in the universal, and vice versa. 

Image: ANTLIAE, 2017
Khous, tempera on board and straw
1.56m x 1.86m

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