When the axial skeleton decides to speak, 2023

Sofía Salazar Rosales, When the axial skeleton decides to speak, 2023; Glass aggregate, polyglass, resin, fiberglass, vinyl glue, metal, seed beads; 271 × 196 × 25.5 cm

In her practice, Salazar Rosales focuses on the lives, origins and functions of materials, many of which come from the vernacular construction used in areas in Latin America and the Caribbean to speak to us poetically of rootlessness, the past, and reinvention.

In this series, the artist has represented a bent IPN beam, or the structural element most commonly used in civil construction in order for a building to withstand the heavy weight it must carry. Typically made from steel, the reimagined beams of Salazar Rosales are constructed using fine, white-blue glass fixed onto fiberglass. Bent into irregular positions, these industrial structures (without which we could not safely inhabit many interior spaces) are shown to be fatigued by the burden they are destined to resist. The artist explains, “I imagined that they were fragile and uncared for and since they are hidden we cannot see how they are.” By removing them from their urban origins, Salazar Rosales offers an empathetic contemplation of their emotive condition. The title, When the axial skeleton decides to speak, thus poetically treats the sculpture more like a body by referring to it as a skeleton.

This work also carries with it an Orula necklace, a handcrafted necklace used by practitioners of the Yoruba religion in Cuba. Recurring in her practice, these beaded charms represent small moments or gestures of protection, contextualizing Salazar Rosales’s works in an environment of affection and love.