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Birds lead the way to Cúpula debut

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our top headlines will appear in your inbox each Monday and Thursday.

A visitor takes photos of sculptures by Japanese artist Kimiko Yoshida during the 2015 Art Paris Art Fair at the Grand Palais in March. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images)
A visitor takes photos of sculptures by Japanese artist Kimiko Yoshida during the 2015 Art Paris Art Fair at the Grand Palais in March. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images)

Mérida, Yucatán — A little bird told us about a new artistic entity in the Centro. Actually, it was lots of little birds, which have been stenciled all over the city for well over a year.

Yes, those mysterious birds have been teasing the formation of the Centro Cultural la Cúpula, which debuts to the public on Thursday, Dec. 17. It starts out at 7 p.m. with “True Lights,” an art exhibit by Japanese/French artist Kimiko Yoshida; forward-thinking furniture pieces by Ernesto Velázquez; and at 8:30, chamber music from the ongoing Mérida International Brass Festival, and a piano recital by Tomoko Mukaiyama. The exhibits remain on view through Jan. 31, and Mukaiyama returns for another recital 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21.

The birds’ creator, artist Guillermo S. Quintana, will be at the debut. Quintana is part of the center’s operating team as leader of the art studio, and his now-iconic bird has been made part of the cultural center’s logo by Alison Wattie.

The Cupúla Cultural Center stands on along Calle 54 in Mérida's Santa Ana neighborhood, on the corner of Calle 41.
The Cupúla Cultural Center stands along Calle 54 in Mérida’s Santa Ana neighborhood, on the corner of Calle 41.

“If you walk by the cúpula, from time to time you will see the real bird on the top of the monument,” said Diana Castillo Castro, the center’s administrative and educational director.

The cúpula tops what used to be horse stables for the Palacio Cantón on the Paseo de Montejo. Its adjacent buildings will house the cultural center’s studios for both art and yoga, and areas for music and art exhibits.

A familiar little bird sits atop La Cúpula's logo. Created by artist Guillermo S. Quintana, the bird mysteriously appeared on the streets of the Centro for more than a year.
A familiar little bird sits atop La Cúpula’s logo. Created by artist Guillermo S. Quintana, the bird mysteriously appeared on the streets of the Centro for more than a year.

The Japanese/French exhibit underscores the international flavor promised by the founder, Leïla Godet Voight, who purchased La Cúpula as a private residence, then opening its doors for the Red Ribbon Ball in 2013.

 

Self-portrait from "Something Blue" by Kimiko Yoshida
Self-portrait from “Something Blue” by Kimiko Yoshida

Yoshida, whose contemporary self-portraits will be part of the center’s launch, was born in Tokyo in 1963. After her studies, feeling her options in Japan were limited, she pursued her career in France, where she has lived and worked since 1995.

“Since I fled my homeland to escape the mortifying servitude and humiliating fate of Japanese women, I amplified through my art a feminist stance of protest against contemporary clichés of seduction, voluntary servitude of women, identity and the stereotypes of gender,” Yoshida told Time magazine in 2012.

La Cupula in Merida, Yucatan, was partly a horse stable for a mansion on the Paseo de Montejo.
La Cupula in Mérida, Yucatán, was partly a horse stable for a mansion on the Paseo de Montejo.

The Cultúral Center is in a large lavender complex on Calle 54 at Calles 41, a corner traditionally called “La Cúpula.” Latest news of the organization will be on their Facebook page.

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