Afro-Caribbean Artist Awilda Sterling and Her Captivating Exhibition Gets An Extension

Artwork by Awilda Sterling (Photo courtesy GAVLAK Palm Beach)

The GAVLAK Palm Beach gallery in Florida, U.S.A., which has been exhibiting Puerto Rican artist Awilda Sterling and her “Unbound Rhythms” artwork since April, has announced it will extend the exhibition for an additional week due to its positive response.

Sterling is an acclaimed painter, performance artist and dancer who explores themes of identity, gender, diaspora, language and migration, challenging conventional notions of culture, national and gendered boundaries.


“Unbound Rhythms” is Sterling’s premier exhibition at a U.S. art gallery and has been showcasing her new works, including, “…blindfolded,” her most ambitious and impactful work to date, since April 15.

The Whitney Biennale 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept featured Sterling’s work “…blindfolded” that was created at the museum, on site. This work is part of ongoing series of dance-drawings, fusing Afro-Caribbean dance, music, drawing and performance.

Awilda Sterling (Photo courtesy GAVLAK Palm Beach)
Awilda Sterling (Photo courtesy GAVLAK Palm Beach)

During the “…blindfolded” performance, Sterling blindfolded herself while listening to improvisational jazz, composed by Miguel Zenón, one of the most influential and innovative jazz musicians of his generation. Moving freely, she translated the music through her body into dance movements on the surface of the paper with sharp actions and a sense of playfulness.


Sterling’s dance-drawings resonate with life, visually expanding and exploding with different colors, lines, textures and depth. Marks of bright pastel extrude past the boundaries of the black construction paper onto the walls. The abstract choreography of pastels act as a kinetic record that utilizes the imaginary.

“In the moment, while making those images, I don’t have a sense of what I am doing, but I am enjoying grasping the concept,” Sterling says. “Abstraction gives me that openness and that freedom; from there, I can go further, be riskier in how I work.”

Sterling adds that she’s been forcing her brain “to push ideas for so long that I don’t need to see what I am doing. To me, this is what is most abstract. Precisely because this information is encapsulated in my body, I don’t have to see what I am building on. I just have to feel it first.”

Abstraction gives me that openness and that freedom; from there, I can go further, be riskier in how I work.

Awilda Sterling

Sterling’s experience as a woman of color and her Afro-Caribbean upbringing in Puerto Rico work deeply informs her work. Improvisation and abstraction are key elements in her art. She does what feels honest, and centers herself in a vocabulary rooted in traditional Afro-Caribbean dances, cultures, and religions. She aims to bring these traditions into a more contemporary focus.

Building from these traditional religious dances, Awilda Sterling creates a vocabulary of movement and gestures that translates to active abstraction filled with joy.


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