DePaul Art Museum > Exhibitions > A Natural Turn

A Natural Turn: María Berrío, Joiri Minaya, Rosana Paulino, and Kelly Sinnapah Mary

​​​​​​​​​September 8, 2022–February 19, 2023

​​A Natural Turn features the work of four women artists María Berrío (Colombian, b. 1982), Joiri Minaya (Dominican-American, b. 1990), Rosana Paulino (Brazilian, b. 1967), and Kelly Sinnapah Mary (Indo-Guadeloupean, b. 1981), and centers on fictional female characters. Yet the realm of fiction here is not necessarily untrue.  Pushing the boundaries of figuration, Berrío, Minaya, Paulino, and Sinnapah create bold and unforgettable images of both truth and fiction, exploring elements of personal and collective history. Their works expose the intersection of our interior imagination and the exterior landscape, spaces in which pleasure and violence are simultaneously generated and entwined. 

Many of María Berrío’s magical realist works are self-portraits and auto-biographical, mixing the chaotic and orderly with memories and mythical stories from her childhood in Colombia. Using patterned Japanese paper and paint, Berrío makes intricate collages that invariably speak to female strength and the “outsider.” The multi-disciplinary work of Joiri Minaya challenges the Western caricatures of tropicality and “tropical” people. Minaya’s installations draw attention to the contested connections between nature and femininity, idealized bodies, and the stereotypes associated with the exoticization of the Caribbean female body. Rosana Paulino reinscribes the Black female body into the layers of Brazil’s historical narrative, complicating engrained ideas of national identity. With anthropomorphic figures, Paulino’s drawings continue the artist’s empowerment of Afro-Brazilian mythological archetypes. Kelly Sinnapah Mary’s installations, paintings, and tapestries depict diasporic myths with a fairytale-like quality of magical enchantment and cruel brutality. Sensitive to the differences between the Afro-Carribean and Indo-Carribean diasporas, Sinnapah Mary's work nonetheless understands that both are victims of an uprooting, suggesting cross-racial solidarities and inspirations. These four artists call into question Western and Eurocentric standards of beauty, femininity, and womanhood. The turn and return to both nature and figuration is natural, real, and stranger than fiction

A Natural Turn: María Berrío, Joiri Minaya, Rosana Paulino, and Kelly Sinnapah Mary is organized by DePaul Art Museum and curated by Ionit Behar, Assistant Curator. ​​