HELICONIA PROJECTS presents The Fragility of Ancestral Time, a group exhibition of four international artists: Francisca Sosa López, Clara de Tezanos, Cecilia Fiona, and Olamide Ogunade.


Spanning sculpture, photography, painting, and textiles, the exhibition touches on how time is a fragile construct – our connection with the past, present, and future is fleeting. The individual’s connection, albeit unnoticeable, with its ancestors is a notion Walter Benjamin explores in his writings, specifically in “On the Concept of History”. Benjamin explains our connection with the past fittingly – referencing a ‘secret agreement’ with past generations or ancestors. Benjamin alludes to a weak messianic power represented by the revolving movement of time: our strong relationship with our predecessors and how this can bind us to certain realities. The ultimate answer Benjamin arrives at is that the future and present are built over contemporary legacies.


Self-taught Danish artist Cecilia Fiona examines the idea of our roots in nature. Fiona looks to transformation, connectedness, and movement as central powers in her practice; coming to the realization that we each have an ecosystem within us, a portal for other species in our microbiome. She ingeniously constructs dreamlike scenarios through mystical figures – both sculptural and in painting, as well as costumes. Her oeuvre is filled with stories where time is just a construct: life and death occur simultaneously, in a symbiotic way. Fiona’s intricate visual vocabulary lends to a masterful practice, rich in unique materials such as rabbit skin glue. The Danish artist blends the glue (normally used as primer) with natural and handmade pigments to create a luminous finish across the canvas.

Reflecting on her roots in Venezuela, Francisca Sosa López intervenes readymade materials such as disposables, spare threads, buttons, and used textiles from her family’s home in her native South American country. Her work is deeply influenced by Venezuela’s colossal migration crisis. The concept of creating a beautiful piece out of what would otherwise be taken as trash is an important part of Sosa López’ oeuvre. Her multidisciplinary practice symbolizes her complicated relationship with her country of origin – emotions (affection, anger, disappointment) are stalwartly palpable in her intricate weavings. Sosa López evokes her motherland from the point of view of reconstruction – to build something better through her practice. Combining rich colors with faint hues, the Venezuelan artist dexterously uses materiality as a form of expression.

Guatemalan artist Clara de Tezanos’ practice crosses the frontiers of photography, installation, and sculpture. De Tezanos’ works are also tied to her native Guatemala, starting with her experimentation from an early age with photography – light and color were the primary drivers of her work. Challenging classical compositions, her multi-disciplinary practice hints at the theme of infinite time and the divinity one can find in this concept. Using objects such as wood, leather, glass, and semi-precious stones, the Guatemalan artist intricately gestures towards a fullness of each objects’ spiritual power. The astronomical-esque layout of her art presents a unique power of filtering natural light – alluding to the sun as a sacred healer. Featuring gemstones that radiate rainbow light infractions, De Tezanos’ work speaks on the boundless nature of the cosmos and how our ancestry relates to that. Her work is a pilgrimage to her, a necessary investigation into what she refers to as the ‘divine light’ – a quest for the truth about time and ancestry.

The Nigerian artist Olamide Ogunade’s delicate portraiture reflects on moments in time. Ogunade’s oeuvre meditates on the presumption that time is abstract albeit finite, while moments are everlasting. He argues that time may seem like a fast-moving construct, yet the moments we create are time-bending in their permanence. The artist depicts women from the past, so as to show that this too shall pass. Any hardships those women have gone through, they have survived in a resilient way and are now in the present moment - which is the only moment that is everlasting. The artist comments on the female gaze through his depiction of empowered women, using a mix of bold colors and masterfully painted prints, Ogunade tears down stereotypes of the West African woman as a dependent and further parley on the theme of individualism. The unique contrast of his use of charcoal for his subjects paired with the saturated background creates a luminosity and elegance in the human form.

The fragility of ancestral time. Group exhibition by HELICONIA PROJECTS at Casa Velazquez, Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.


Heliconia Projects is a nomadic gallery and curatorial platform, founded by Nicole Bainov and Elsa Maldonado, two Dominican Republic based collectors driven by their passion for art and the fostering of connection and community through culture. Heliconia Projects' program of pop-up exhibitions and events within the Dominican Republic showcases some of the most compelling emerging and established artists on the international scene, often being shown in the country for the first time. Reciprocally, Heliconia looks to contribute to increasing connections for Dominican artists within the international art world.