For the first installation of Nasher Public in the Nasher Store gallery, Fort Worth artist Bernardo Vallarino will present an iteration of an ongoing project called Pedacitos de Paz (Little bits of peace), which combines installation with video and addresses the persistence of violence in our society. The central element—hundreds of white ribbons looped in the style of advocacy movements and installed as a pile on a table—speaks to the sentiments of “thoughts and prayers” that often follow such atrocities as mass shootings yet remain empty refrains without concrete actions for change. Several times throughout the duration of the exhibition, the artist will sit at the table within the installation to make these ribbons, a performance the public may witness through the exterior windows of the Nasher building. Inspired by Vallarino’s childhood experiences in Colombia and in the US, where his family emigrated in the 1990s, Pedacitos de Paz will continue to grow as a body of work as long as the violent issues that spurred it into being persist.
Artist Bernardo Vallarino on Pedacitos de Paz
I grew up in Colombia between 1980 and the 1990s, during one of the most violent periods in the country’s history. By 1995, my family moved to the US, where my exposure to violence has been different. When creating art, each body of work begins as notation or a quick sketch inspired by a historical incident of violence or human suffering, past or present. These simple reactions slowly mature into grounded ideas by gathering new pieces of information and facts and eventually becoming concrete works of art. Pedacitos de Paz began with my early life experiences with terrorism in Colombia and the US, and became a work of art after recognizing my frustrations with the pointlessness of people offering endless thoughts and prayers to parents, children, siblings, spouses, friends, etc. after horrific acts of terror.
About Bernardo Vallarino
Bernardo Vallarino is a Colombian-American mixed-media sculptor and installation artist interested in geopolitical issues of violence and human suffering. His works reflect his observations on the hypocrisy he perceives existing between the rhetoric of human life and the violent behavior of humanity. With his artworks, Vallarino strives to engage his audience visually but also morally and philosophically, finding inspiration in history, the media, his personal experiences, and his lifelong interest in insects and entomology. Vallarino, a NALAC (National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures) fellow, graduated with a BFA in sculpture from Texas Christian University, an MFA in the same field from Texas Woman’s University and is the current coordinator of Fort Worth Art Collective and a board member at Artes De La Rosa. He has exhibited widely at galleries and nonprofit spaces in North Texas as well as Oklahoma and York, England. Vallarino is the 2020 recipient of SMU’s Moss/Chumley North Texas Artist Award, which is given annually to an outstanding North Texas artist who has exhibited professionally for at least ten years and has established a proven track record as a community advocate for the visual arts.
In conjunction with Pedacitos de Paz, Vallarino’s Pulse Project is an ongoing project and artwork, begun in 2016, with the names of thousands of victims of violence collected through anonymous public input. The names from the list will be read periodically.
The project’s title refers to the first 49 names on the list—the Pulse Nightclub shooting victims, as well as the rhythmic sound, resembling a beating heart, when the names are read aloud.