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On April 24–28 in Tulum, Art With Me—the city’s premiere arts and ecoculture festival—returned for its second edition. The fun-filled week featured a number of performances, workshops, classes, and other programming on the Caribbean shoreline, including a lineup of presentations by contemporary artists like Michael Benisty, Pepe SoHo, Simon Vega, and more.
At the entrance of the beach pavilion, Daniel Popper’s ASANA greeted guests, stretching upward toward the sky. Shaped after a woman in the spine-aligning upward dog asana position, the sculpture represented nature breaking apart from Earth, inviting visitors to reflect on the power and fragility of both.
We also enjoyed an interactive art experience with David Graziano and Martin Russocki collaborative work entitled It’s-A-Maze-Ing—an elaborate bamboo maze filled with wonders. After navigating the maze, participants came across a giant wooden wheel. Rotating this piece started a deep 3-D sound meditation that featured music by LUM, the rotation of a six-meter bed, and the spinning of a chandelier of 300 ivy plants above.
Photographer Pepe SoHo caught our gaze with an audiovisual journey entitled Sanctuary. The experience allowed viewers to encounter a sacred connection with Earth, awakening a spiritual consciousness.
Another not-to-miss highlight was undoubtedly Michael Benisty’s AGAUE, which illustrated the story of a goddess of the sea. Translating to mean “illustrious,” AGAUE embodied both a figure of natural beauty and a dialogue between the human world, the depths of the oceans, and stories of Greek Mythology. The goddess is said to protect the sea, aid sailors in distress, and stand between humans and her home, pioneering peace and unity between the separate worlds.
With the help of MAIA Contemporary, Simon Vega captured our attention with Tropical Space Hotel. Inspired by the future of tourist colonialism, and the Russian Space Agency’s plan to start space travel for tourists in 2022, Vega created a capsule that was presented as if it crash landed on the beach. This scenario leads to obvious questions of possible harsh landings, alien space castaways, and failed attempts at space travel. Made of used wood, metal, and found materials, the piece paid tribute to the Latin American shantytowns, as a 15-foot trail of colorful plastic that trailed away from the work added a layered narrative—the direct harm tourism can cause to a local ecosystem.
And Jimmy Nelson’s “Hommage To Humanity” gave us a unique look into the daily life of some of the world’s most remote cultures through a pair of VR goggles. The presentation was accompanied by an artist-hosted talk, where Nelson aimed to spread awareness on the lesser-known indigenous cultures of our world through a photographic immersion.