By Karla Kantorovich
Curated by Rina Gitlin
Ámate is an immersive art installation inspired by ancestral paper techniques, particularly the Mexican Amate paper tradition. In her exhibit, artist Karla Kantorovich invites visitors on a transformative journey of healing, love, and self-discovery through a contemporary interpretation of handmade paper works using locally sourced recycled materials.
The name “Ámate” is a play on words, combining “Ámate”, the imperative verb in Spanish meaning “love yourself,” with “Amate,” derived from the Nahuatl word “amatl,” which refers to the ancient bark paper produced in Mexico. This bark paper is historically associated with healing rituals and is still preserved by generations of shamans.
At the heart of Karla Kantorovich’s installation stands an immense handmade paper tree, symbolizing our intrinsic longing for connection. Emerging from a corner of the exhibition space, the tree’s roots provide grounding, while its branches and leaves offer protection and shelter. The vast canopy of the tree invites visitors into a serene and meditative space, a sanctuary for self-reflection and self-love.
With the theme of transformation in mind, Kantorovich explores the inherent qualities of paper—its malleability and fragility, its potential to burn or endure for centuries. Paper can be both easily destroyed and reconstructed, recycled and preserved.
To support this noble material, Kantorovich uses fabric to strengthen and create movement in her tree canopy. She also incorporates found leaves and branches, representing her spiritual bond with the natural world, and unites all the elements with delicate threads.
In a world filled with anxiety, isolation, and uncertainty, Ámate proposes a peaceful space for contemplation and reflection. It offers visitors an opportunity to experience the safety provided by a tree and to deepen their connection with themselves and the natural world. Through introspection, visitors can explore the possibilities of healing, renovation, and personal growth.
Ámate was funded in part by Oolites Arts. It premiered at Piero Atchugarry Gallery in Miami, Florida, in 2022 and is looking for a new home.
Karla Kantorovich is a mixed media artist from Mexico based in Miami, FL. She works with paintings, fibers, and assemblages, leaning into the importance of texture and dimensionality to explore renewal. She is inspired by nature and incorporates its textures, hues, and nuances into her work. She embraces transformation and the potential for change through her artistic practice with recycled paper.