By Julia P. Herzberg, Ph.D.

Ruby Rumié’s exhibition Divine Breath NYC is at La Mama Galleria at 47 Great Jones Street, New York from October 4- 26. Simultaneously the artist’s exhibition Common Place is showing at the Nohra Haime Gallery, 500 West 21st Street, New York.

"Hálito Divino", vista de sala.

Born in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), Ruby Rumié focuses her art on social issues such as gentrification, domestic violence, social barriers, and the ennobling of culture whose roots are in local communities. She currently lives and works in Cartagena, Colombia.

This project explores the pain shared by women who have endured domestic violence, identifies the damage this violence does to them, and recognizes the need for them to fully mourn in order to revive their self-esteem.

The exhibition includes a unique prototype of the ceramic vessels created by each of the ceramic artists, the one-hundred NYC vessels, photographic murals of the Colombian women with their vessels, photographic murals of the NYC women with their vessels, and projected quotes from the NYC women expressing their tribulations.

The participants joined Ms. Rumié in intimate ceremonies of meditation and breathing exercises, after which, each woman exhaled her pain into a ceramic vessel, as a symbol of recognizing, releasing, and transforming her silent pain into divine breath. The goal was to collectively create a positive and transformative experience for the women. To represent the diversity of New York City, the one-hundred ceremonial vessels were made by seven local ceramic artists: Rana Amirtahmasebi, Will Coggin, Paula Greif, Eleni Kontos, Ben Peterson, Biata Roytburd and Mia Schachter. 

Through this exhibition, Ruby Rumié joins the voices of the Colombian survivors to the New York survivors, showing us that domestic violence is a universal problem that transcends age, race, class, and culture. The Divine Breath project does not merely represent this hidden and escalating social issue but instead, infuses it with hope and dignity for the survivors and those who experience the exhibition. 

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Divine Breath committee and the support of the Safe Horizon Foundation, this exhibition recreates the artist Ruby Rumie ́s project with one hundred survivors of domestic violence in Cartagena, Colombia with one hundred survivors in New York City. Safe Horizon is the nation’s leading victim assistance organization whose mission is to provide support, prevent violence, and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities. Safe Horizon invited women survivors from their programs to participate with the artist.