Isabel De Obaldía: Metates 2012

This short film documents the preliminary stages of the artist’s process for creating a group of large sand cast glass metates made at Wheaton Arts in Millville, NJ.

Film and original music by Pedro Joaquin Icaza.

“The work with the most direct visual links to Panama’s archaeological past is De Obaldía’s series of cast-glass metates, based on the Pre-Columbian stone ceremonial ‘thrones’ found in Panama and Costa Rica. Stone metates, used to grind maize and other foodstuffs, were probably incorporated into ancient rituals and the decorative quality of some Central American examples certainly suggests a ceremonial function. Carved from porous volcanic stone, they often have protruding animal heads and tails and are covered in geometric relief carving. Linked to rites of fertility, it has also been suggested that some of the larger and more ornate examples may have served as thrones for rulers.”

-Susan L. Aberth, “Emissaries from the Primordial Realms: The Presence of Pre-Columbian and Indigenous Art in the Work of Isabel De Obaldía”, essay from the catalogue for Primordial: Paintings and Sculpture by Isabel De Obaldía at Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southereastern University, 2011-2012