Toyin Odutola


Three binational pairs of artists created lithographs this summer in the Tamarind Institute workshop that explore issues such as equality, inclusion and identity in Brazil and the United States. Meet the final pair during the closing reception for "Afro: Black Identity in America and Brazil" on Friday, Aug. 24, 5:30-7 p.m. at the Tamarind Institute, 2500 Central Ave. SE. The exhibition is also open through Friday, Aug. 31, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sidney Amaral is a painter and sculptor from Brazil who finds inspiration in ordinary objects like flip-flops and scissors and reproduces them, with a twist. His work has been included in exhibitions at Alameda Lorena and Central Galeria de Arte Contemporânea in Brazil and Culturgest in Lisbon, Portugual.

Toyin Odutola was born in Ife, Nigeria, and moved to the United States as a young child. She received a bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Master of Fine Arts from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She said she's "totally sold on lithography" after her residency at Tamarind.

Other artists participating in the exhibition are Brazilian artists Rosana Paulino and Tiago Gualberto and American artists Alison Saar and Willie Cole. They created lithographs at Tamarind earlier this summer.

The exhibited works show the artists in their customary media. Amaral usually works in watercolors and pencil. He said lithography is a challenge, but he can readily adapt because the process is similar to drawing. In lithography, the artist draws an image in reverse with a grease pencil on a limestone slab or aluminum plate. Tamarind's master printers then handle the complex chemistry involved in printing each lithograph.

Odutola, who has primarily worked in pen, said lithography is better for getting highlights a certain way and picking up nuances. "It's more forgiving and allows you to play and experiment more," she said.

Odutola said the ink drawings included in this exhibition are from her first time drawing males – her brothers and a friend. She previously drew mainly self-portraits. They are also the first pieces where she worked with color. "I was intimidated by color," she said.

Tamarind Institute Director Marjorie Devon said all of Amaral's work features himself in some way. An exhibited work, "Como Construir Cidades" or "How to Build Cities," shows the artist knitting yarn streaming from his eyes and mouth into cocoons binding three figures – also the artist. Amaral said the image represents "knitting together threads of humanity."

Tamarind Institute, a division of the College of Fine Arts at UNM, is a nonprofit center for fine art lithography that trains master printers and houses a professional collaborative studio for artists.