Fusing music and painting, artist connects with her 'ancient land'
In order to convey her deep love and pride for her native land, Chilean artist Jacqueline Unanue fuses music and visual art in her newest work, “My Ancient Land.”
The exhibition, made up of 17 different pieces, will be on display at the 3rd Street Gallery in Old City until May 1. The collection is being curated by Gloria Garafulich-Grabois and sponsored by Chilean Committee of Delaware Valley and Bloomfield Avenue Dental Associates. Unanue, who is based in Philadelphia, said the paintings are inspired by the music of six Chilean classical composers.
“I have always worked while listening to classical music,” she said. “Around two years ago, I began inspiring my art with the music of Czech composers like [Bedřich] Smetana and Antonin Dvořák. Both of them have works greatly inspired by their countries. That’s why they are considered to be nationalist composers and are very important to the development of music in their country.”
It was then that Unanue said she began to think about her country and how music has defined it.
“So I found myself thinking, ‘Why don’t I start looking toward Chilean composers for my inspiration,’” Unanue said. “So that’s where this exhibit began. After some research I found myself inspired by six different composers.”
The music of these composers ranges from folkloric-style music to impressionist european compositions. Unanue said the “revelation” of combining music and painting led to a “wandering” where she traveled with her work throughout the world. The pieces have been on display in Washington D.C., Barcelona and, of course, Chile.
“Showing my work at the Washington embassy of my country was very significant,” she said. “But with my exhibit in Viña del Mar, Chile, came another side to this which was a homecoming of sorts. Being able to show this work to my colleagues, friends and family and being able to show them what this work means to me and how I feel about my country was powerful.”
As she developed the idea behind the paintings, Unanue said she was surprised to find out how renowned some of the Chilean composers were. Juan Orrego-Salas, for example, was one of the founders of the Latin American Music Center at Indiana University.
“He’s had a hugely impactful life,” said Unanue. “He’s made almost all of his music career her in the U.S. I had a wonderful time talking to his son and even got a chance to talk to him as well.”
The paintings represent the artist’s feelings as she “experience” the music she chose. She says, the paintings are a special dialogue that she participating in which combined the love for arts and love for country.
“Each of the composers have a very unique styles and that gave me such a rich palate to work with, so to speak,” said Unanue. “This showing of the paintings marks the end of a journey I took to find my roots.”