Artist Riaq Miuq invokes the spirits of the forest
The visual artist Riaq Miuq lives and works in Galicia, where he created Omgra, exhibited at the GKo gallery in the summer of 2019. Currently, Riaq Miuq is starting the second part of his project by exploring more of the Iberian rites that pass through it. Trained in Applied Mural Arts and Organic Agriculture, Riaq Miuq combines these two disciplines in an organic work that questions the life cycle and the imprint of spirits on the natural spaces that tend to urbanization.
Omgra is inspired by your personal relationship to your hometown.
I grew up in a town in Collserola mountains, close to Barcelona. And its landscape shaped me. It is a strange atmosphere where you can dive into the presence of a mediterranean forest, but you get constantly reminded of the crazy huge human pressure around. Thousands of electric pylons, abandoned industrial installations, old garbage dumps in all the valleys… All this elements, coexisting with the traces of the old rural life, are being covered day by day, by the force of Nature. This is a common picture around the world today. And I build my imaginary around it.
I paint murals, drawings, masks and installations. I look for simple techniques using materials available in the surroundings, such as collected pigments, vegetal fibres, clay, and industrial materials like garbage, ink, paint or bleach. I am currently living in Galicia, starting a new garden and studio in the Atlantic coast.
How does Omgra fit into the material world of the living, but also of the spirits?
Omgra started with the aim to create bridges between the industrial world and the natural or ancestral world. Experimenting with ritual work, I created four masks that represent the four natural elements, and the eternal cycle of plant life. Another purpose of this project is the ambiental and social complaint of the degradation of the landscape by our society.
Death is a part of life cycle. In a forest, can be observed that the soil is covered by dead leafs, trees, corpses. And all of them are slowly decomposed by mycelium and bacterias, becoming soil for new roots to grow. All the subtle and invisible processes that take place during the becoming of life are so huge, and for me there is a lot of mystery around. But by observing oneself patiently, these shadows become more clear.
Your 4 masks are handcrafted. What are they made of ?
I started making the Harvest mask during 2018 summer, in autumn came the Soil mask, on winter the Rain one, and the Light mask was made during 2019 spring. For the main structures I used Lagenaria Siceraria fruits (harvested and dried up for 9 months), and wild plants such as Brachipodium retusum and Spartium junceum. The details were made with Arundo Donax canes, Phoenix Dactilifera stems, clay, slate rock, nogaline ink, old bottle caps, feathers, bones, roots… and other objects found in the forest and the streets.
Why did you want to present your masks through the photographic medium ?
The pictures are the fruits from the collaboration with Pol Ventura. We chose analog photography for its more manual process and the magical and dreamlike atmospheres it provides. Together we searched for meaningful locations where the four entities experiment with movement, seeking communication with the environment. Monumental industrial constructions, designed only for its practicality and with a huge impact on the landscape, combined with natural wild spaces, serve as temples to perform the ritual of integration between this two worlds, apparently confronted.
Images crédits: Riaq Miuq et Pol Ventura