Allá Abajo/Down Below: A Reaction to Our Times by Ornella Ridone
Allá Abajo/Down Below is a visual response to Philadelphia by artist Ornella Ridone. Her pieces, all sewn on discarded clothing, feature stories from both Mexican and American residents, and illustrate the complex, multilayered relationship between the two countries.
Ornella Ridone is a contemporary artist who lives in Oaxaca, Mexico, and is the first recipient of the Julia Zagar Residency for Women Artists. Hosted at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, Ridone’s exhibition features hand-embroidered textiles suspended throughout PMG’s galleries.
The goal of the residency is to support contemporary female artists working in the tradition of handcrafting and folk art, with a particular focus on Mexican and South American artisans. Ridone’s work is heavily influenced by traditional folk art embroidery and her themes revolve around gender narratives and the inner lives of women. The pieces, all sewn on discarded clothing, features stories from both Mexican and American residents, and illustrates the important and complex relationship between the two countries.
In Spring 2017, Ridone traveled to Philadelphia to observe and react to the city, as well as interpret America and its current climate as a whole. She spent two weeks drawing, conversing, and absorbing the culture, then returned to her studio in Oaxaca to translate her experience.