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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami


María Berrío
The Petition, 2020

Bronze with patina
Body: 11 x 68 x 34 in., Birds: 21 x 10 x 38 in., 25 x 11 x 22 in., 31 x 12 x 33 in.
Museum Purchase with funds provided by Andre Sakhai
María Berrío The Petition, 2020 Bronze with patina, body: 11 x 68 x 34 in., birds: 21 x 10 x 38 in., 25 x 11 x 22 in., 31 x 12 x 33 in. Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami Museum purchase with funds provided by Andre Sakhai

María Berrío crafts scenes and imaginary landscapes that speak of female strength, intercultural

connectivity, migration, and humankind’s relationship to nature. Her densely layered and

patterned collages, crafted from Japanese paper, appear like daydreams of her native Colombia.

Drawing from the artist’s own biography, Berrío’s works reflect complex realities that connect

cross-cultural references of global migration with South American folklore through

kaleidoscopic utopias. “A lot of my work is autobiographical . . . it could be about me, or my

time in the world and how I am feeling or what I am imagining,” she says.

Her first sculptural work, the cast bronze The Petition (2020), depicts a lifeless female figure

lying on the ground surrounded by three life-size ibises, appearing to guard or mourn the

woman’s body. “To me, birds symbolize freedom of the soul and transcendence of the earthly

human form,” Berrío says. In many of her works, the relationship between the human figure and

their animal counterparts is one of equanimity, portrayed side by side interacting at eye level

rather than in a hierarchical relationship. The artist says, “The springboard to our future

liberation requires an understanding of our place in nature, conceiving nature as not something to

be dominated and ordered, or from placing our species as somehow beyond the rhythms of the

world.” With The Petition, mortality and its eternal cycle of life and death become the

connecting element between humans and animals.

María Berrío (b. 1982, Bogotá, Colombia) has held solo exhibitions at the Norton Museum of

Art, West Palm Beach, Florida (2021), and Praxis Gallery, Miami (2017; 2015; 2013; 2012),

among others; and has been featured in groups exhibitions at the Bronx Museum of the Arts

(2021); the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (2018);

Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina (2017); and El Museo del Barrio, New

York (2015); among others. Berrío’s work is in the permanent collections of the Crystal Bridges

Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice,

New York; Nasher Museum of Art; Pérez Art Museum Miami; Pennsylvania Academy of the

Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Weatherspoon Art Museum; Whitney

Museum of American Art, New York; and the Yuz Museum Shanghai. Berrío lives and works in

New York.