Calida Rawles presents Away with the Tides, an exhibition at Pérez Art Museum (PAMM) featuring all-new, site-specific works alongside a novel large-scale video installation. Marking Rawles’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, Away with the Tides reflects aspects of Miami’s diverse communities, natural environments, and rich history.


Internationally recognized for her intricate and delicate acrylic on canvas paintings, Rawles blends hyperrealism with poetic abstraction and situates her subjects in dynamic, undulating spaces. Her recent work utilizes water as a vital, organic, and multifaceted element—as well as a historically charged space that concomitantly represents racial exclusion and individual healing.


Away with the Tides bridges the past and present, depicting elements of Miami’s history through the eyes of its residents. Delving into the experience of Black people in America, Rawles partnered with members of the historically Black community of Overtown in Miami. Akin to Tremé in New Orleans, the Historic West End in Charlotte, and countless other neighborhoods in the United States, Overtown transformed from a thriving cultural and commercial hub for Black people in the 1930s to a town subjected to gentrification, systemic racism, and mass displacement beginning in the 1950s and 60s.

Rawles’s process began with a series of preliminary photoshoots in Virginia Key Beach and the public pool at Theodore Gibson Park in Overtown, which then informed the subject matter for the lifelike paintings on view. Ranging from a 10-month-old baby to senior citizens, the portraits provide representation for those who call Overtown home while capturing the generational shift the community has undergone and giving shape to an American experience that is often overlooked. With residents as the subjects of her paintings, it became evident that the exhibition would be a transformative experience for some, it would also be their first time at a museum, emphasizing the silos Miami still struggles to navigate despite geographical proximity.


Furthermore, by photographing Black individuals in the ocean, Rawles interrogates the Atlantic Ocean's history as the site of the supremely exploitative Transatlantic Slave Trade. As a result, the finished work critically engages with Miami’s wate-entwined climate, while connecting to larger histories of beauty, oppression, and persistence in contemporary American life.

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