Little Haiti from Bhakti Baxter’s Phone Lens

Bhakti draws. Bhakti paints. Bhakti makes sculptures, collages, and assembles found objects. Bhakti throws parties that are public art installations where “Everyone is invited, but no one may attend”. Bhakti is a Sanskrit word for devotion, and it means “Universal Love”, “Divine Love”. Bhakti likes the magic of geometry, its symmetry. Bhakti disrupts conventional boundaries, twists our perception, questions how we look at the mundane. Bhakti is from Miami and has exhibited in France, Italy, and in several places around the US. His studio is in Little Haiti, the name given to Lemon City in the late 80s, when a big wave of Haitian immigrants settled down. Little Haiti was one of the poorest places of Miami and was stigmatized as a dangerous area (according to the 2010 Census, 12,800 residents had left). However, since the turn of the millennium, it became appealing for investors.

Bhakti also takes pictures of Little Haiti with his phone and uploads them to his Instagram and Facebook. They’re beautiful from a formal perspective—sometimes he plays with the colors of the environment, juxtaposing them with the colors of people’s clothes, or he does the same thing with the shapes of buildings, artifacts, and people’s bodies, reminding us of constructivist compositions. From an iconographic perspective, the photos are also extremely significant. The pictures can be seen as anthropological studies, and also as a historical record of a place that is in the midst of change.

BBCD: When did you start taking pictures in Little Haiti and why did you pick that place? 

BB: I’ve been working at an art studio in little Haiti for about 5 years.

CD: What do you look for to photograph? 

BB: Whatever catches my eye…people, clouds, dogs, trash… I shoot first and compose later.

CD: What was your perception of Little Haiti before you started taking pictures there? 

BB: a colorful place.

CD: Has this perception changed after you’ve been photographing the neighborhood for a while now? 

BB: Not really… if anything the colors have become more vibrant.

CD: How do the people react when you photograph them? 

BB: Most of the time they don’t know I’m taking pictures of them with my phone… when its too obvious I ask but that usually means they’d prefer I not photograph them, so I stick to shooting without asking.

CD: How do you think gentrification is affecting/will affect the area? 

BB: Gentrification will eventually make it more difficult for me to work there. As property values increase buildings get sold, resold, and artists are displaced in the transaction.

CD: Is there anything about Little Haiti you’ve learned that we might not know?

BB: It is best to walk in little Haiti if you want a good picture, get something to eat, or get to know the area better. Everyone in Little Haiti walks or rides a bike. It’s one of the only places in Miami where you see pedestrians everywhere, even though the streets are not pedestrian friendly.

For some of our favorite Bhakti snaps, see the gallery below and be sure to follow Bhakti @bhaktimar

Words by Camila Alvarez


The Symmetry of Yuri Tuma

By Natology

There is a universal formula at the basis of all design. Whether it’s in the three-dimensional structure of an atom or the blueprint of a building, a beautiful mathematical equation lays at the foundation of all form. To see the world in shapes, colors, and lines is a blessing. To capture it, mold it, construct it and deconstruct it is another story. Yuri Tuma sees the world in the form of abstract symmetry, which he’s applied to creating a visual language where images replace numbers and patterns shape the conversation.

Yuri Tuma is a Brazilian artist based in Miami, Florida whose art matches the balance of his personality and the vibrational frequency of his name. In other words, Tuma has a harmonious nature that is reflected in his work. He is a photographer who uses shapes and linear structure to develop symmetrical patterns that mirror the nature of design. There is a left-brain and right-brain balance in his work that merges math and intuition to illustrate an understanding of universal geometry. Represented by the established and rebellious Butter Gallery, Tuma has had four solo exhibitions (2008 – 2013) alongside group shows and art fairs in New York and Shanghai. In his fifth solo exhibition, Tuma presents Headlights at Product/81 Gallery, opening Saturday August 10, 2013 in Miami, Fl.  Commissioned by Fordistas, Headlights presents the study of formulaic patterns and optical-symmetry inspired by the headlights of Ford automobiles.. Tuma sees the application of nature’s patterns in man-made structures, which he presents through a kaleidoscopic lens that makes the inorganic, organic. Here’s a sneak peak of Tuma’s latest body of work for Fordistas! fordistas13EVITE




Giuseppe @ ART BASEL in BASEL

By Guiseppe Bernstein

Just as I thought I would catch my breath, another flight across the globe has me surveying one white cube filled with art after another. Where am I these days? Oh yeah, I’m at Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland, the original one.

With over 300 leading galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa showing everything from great masters of Modern and Contemporary Art to the latest generation of emerging artist. It’s the reason the parties are so libatious. If I weren’t properly lubricated yours truly would catch a rug burn from dragging myself down yet another carpeted corridor. Every artistic medium is represented at this Basel: paintings, sculpture, installations, videos, multiples, prints, photography, and performance.

Here are the staple names of artist we all know and buyers love:  Bourgeois, Close, Koons, Pettibon, Murakami, Weiwei . The European and American markets are showing up in full force this week as the fair opened to the public today.

(LEFT) Eugene Atget Cabaret de l'homme armé, rue des Blancs Manteaux, c. 1900  (RIGHT)Edward Steichen Matches and Match Boxes. Fabric Design for Stehli Silk Corp., 1926 Courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery

(LEFT) Eugene Atget
Cabaret de l’homme armé, rue des Blancs Manteaux, c. 1900
(RIGHT)Edward Steichen
Matches and Match Boxes. Fabric Design for Stehli Silk Corp., 1926
Courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery

Among the first to enter the fair of course, I was stopped in my tracks several times. Seeing the beautiful photography at  Howard Greenberg Gallery, such as this portrait by Eugene Atget and still life by Edward Steichen, offered a balance to the other photography shown at fellow New Yorker, Bruce Silverstein Gallery. Todd Hido at Silverstein holds up nicely beside the photographic greats and add something that was missing on the showroom floor – a bit of risk taking. (more…)