Daniela Canizares: Miami as Text

Daniela Canizares, Downtown Miami, February 2019

Daniela is a Sophomore at Florida International University Honor College. She is majoring in Psychology. Daniela was born and raised in Havana, Cuba and she moved to Miami when she was 15 years old. Once she finishes with her Bachelor in Arts, Daniela is planning on pursuing a Masters in Science in Professional Counseling. Daniela is very passionate about the Spaniard influence in the American culture because for ten years she was a flamenco dancer but she stopped to focus on her academics.

Deering as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Hidden Gem”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Deering Estate, September 9th, 2020.

Surrounded by 444 acres of land, we find Deering Estate, one of the only historical places conserved in its original estate ever since it was built. Even its location at Palmetto Bay in Miami makes it hard to believe that this place is one of the key components in the history of this city (taking into consideration that the heart of Miami itself is more towards the North of the City). Upon arrival at Deering Estate, visitors could feel the contrast between “old Miami” and the “new Miami”. The moment you cross the wooden gates, you get the sensation of going back in time to the XX century, when Miami was at its beginnings.

One of the most fascinating components of Deering Estate is its architecture. It has two residencies: The Stone House, which was used by Mr. and Mrs. Deering as the main residence, and The Richmond Cottage, which was first used as an inn and then as a winter house. The Stone House’s walls consist of walls in between 14-16 inches each one, which makes the structure safer due to its closeness to the Bay. Each one of the rooms of the Stone House is built in such a way that in case a fire starts in one of the rooms, it is possible to contain the fire on it, saving the rest of the house’s value. The exterior of The Stone House has engravings of each one of the things representatives of Miami back in the XX century. In those engravings, we see monkeys, pelicans, seahorses, and endemic flowers. On the ceiling of the exterior, we see a mosaic, made with rocks, algae, and shells that the Bahamians building the house would find along the way. On the roof of this house, we see tiles with specific and unique engravings, which workers used as a method of proof to get paid for their work. The house itself mixes Islamic art and modern techniques, which is an astonishing contrast, that makes us see that Miami itself is a mix of multiple cultures.
The Richmond Cottage right next to the Stone House is one of the oldest wooden houses in the whole Miami Dade County. After Andrew, it had to go under reconstruction, but the constructors tried to keep it as similar to the original one as possible. The Richmond Cottage interior design contrasts with the interior designs that we see in Miami nowadays. The rooms are contrastingly smaller than the regular room people are used to, and so are the bathrooms. However, the kitchen’s dimensions are relatively large if we compare the dimensions of the guest rooms and the dimensions of the kitchen. Coming into that room was like going way back in time and looking at a whole different idea, an idea most of us have only seen in Brazilian novelas.
A couple of miles away from the houses, we see a Chinese bridge. It was shocking to see all those cultures mixed, but at the same time it was an escape from the toxicity of the city and the traffic of Miami, as no motor vehicles can go past a certain point, and nature is preserved the same way as it was a century ago.
This visit was more than just a simple walking tour. It was like going back in time, escaping from the XXI century and all 2020 has brought to our lives and going back to the XX century. No motor vehicles, no Miamian traffic. Only history, walls talking by themselves, and an amazing nature ready to tell us all about the unknown, unspoken Miami history.

South Beach as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“A unique community”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at South Beach, September 24, 2020

Miami is a place known for its mixed culture. Rising between the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Biscayne Bay, we find this unique place, originally known as Ocean Beach in its beginnings, and now having the name of Miami Beach. The aspect that makes Miami unique is its architecture, and how the community has been trying to conserve its architecture as it was originally built. For this purpose they have laws in place, making it impossible to change the infrastructure of the buildings.
Miami Beach is characterized by three main styles: Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco, and MiMo. Buildings are showing one or the other, however, there are also buildings having a mix two or even the three of them. From the moment you enter the streets, you start to see a very different landscape from the big buildings surrounding these streets.
Along the styles involving the Mediterranean Revival, we find Versace Mansion in Ocean Drive. This Mansion belonged to Gianni Versace, an Italian fashion designer who after seeing the people at Miami Beach and how freely they walked down the streets decided that was the place he wanted to live for the rest of his life. In his house’s exterior, we see the typical Versace’s logo and some conifer cone’s symbolizing fertility. This design is more European conservative than what we would usually find at Miami Beach.
Another of the styles found at Miami Beach is Art Deco. Their characteristics catch the attention of tourists that are not used to this style as well as residents. We find ziggurat rooflines, eyebrows, curved edges and corners, and elements of three as their main characteristics. They used to only have three storages because it was said that if a building had more than three storages, it would need an elevator, which will take both money to build and space. It was more of a futuristic look. The incorporation of Neon Lights made the streets of Miami Beach unique at that time.
MiMo style came after World War II. They were asymmetric and were characterized by mosaic murals. It was more of a characteristic owned by the own Miami. Its name says it “Mami Modern Architecture”
Even though most of the places along the streets of Miami Beach do not have the same purpose they had at its beginning, they keep the same structures. For example, what used to be a hotel once, nowadays might be a unique restaurant. Or what used to be apartments for retired people, now might be a hotel. However, they conserve their original structure like a city law.
For people coming from the outside, where the only thing they see on a daily base is big skyscrapers, coming to Miami Beach is a travel back in time to the 1950s. It is a unique experience where people get to learn the history and at the same time be a part of it.

Bake House as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Bringing nature back to life using the arts”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Bake House, October 9th, 2020

Hidden behind the entrance of the now culturally known Wynwood, we find the Bake House Art Complex. Judging it by its exterior, tourists might even get to think it is just one more of the houses of the neighborhood – having into consideration it is right next to apartments, no so close to the known Wynwood walls, and right in front of a Middle School. However, passing behind those walls, we enter a new world, something we would not imagine seeing in this location. We enter the world of the arts. Or better said, where art is born. One of the artists we find in this magical place is Lauren Shapiro.
Lauren Shapiro combines the world of the arts with nature. Her latest project tries to make people open their eyes to what is happening to the Coral Reefs, and what they can do to help them survive. Her hands-on project allows people from all over the community to work on her art, and feel with their bare hands the texture of nature, which is later put together as a big design.
The novel virus COVID-19 makes it harder for this project to happen at a faster rate, however, by making a reservation, people can go to the Bake House Art Complex and be part of it.
Once you are about to start your session, Shapiro gives you a little insight about why she wanted to specifically work with the corals and just by listening to her you feel how passionate she is about the topic and how well learned she is about it as well, which makes you want to contribute even more to this cause. Then, she teaches you how to mold the clay and gives you instructions on how to choose the coral that tells you a story, the one that calls your attention, and then make a coral clay out of it. You could incorporate color to it, always under your perspective. Shapiro only gives you the instructions and then lets you put your point of view on this project. You could either work with gloves or without it, but the best experience would come out of feeling the art and becoming one with it.
After finishing this step, you proceed to place the corals on a bigger picture, a mural that contains all the other corals from the people collaborating.
If someone ever gets to have the opportunity of being part of this experience, it is a rewarding one. They would get to learn about nature, and be part of the eye-opening experience. It is a wake-up call brought to people through the arts.

Rubell Museum as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“The Unspoken Art”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Rubell Museum, October 25th, 2020

Making an astonishing impact for its location, we find the Rubell Museum surrounded by Pumbling companies and supermarkets -not the typical place someone would find a Museum of this prestige. This location makes this place unique. Judging it from the outside, visitors passing by might think they are in the wrong place because of its façade. However, once they cross the gates, they start feeling out of this world.

Inside the Museum there is the art that common Museums would not have on exposition. However, this is what makes the Rubell Museum one of its kind. The art on the hallways makes people have a conversation and discuss disagreements. An example is a work by the American artist Tschabalala Self, named “Milk Chocolate”. This painting shows a woman of color completely naked. Being a sensitive topic nowadays, a painting like this one would not be shown in any other exhibition. However, the Rubell family brings this piece into the eye of the visitor to provoke conversation between one another. This is not the typical museum where someone would go and be quiet during the whole visit. This is a museum to go to have conversations and see different points of views on different topics, that out of those walls would be seen as controversial.

Every room in the Museum tells a story on its own. Every artist in this Museum leaves its essence that visitors can catch the moment they enter their expositions. It is a story told by art. The conversation you would hear inside this Museum is not the usual conversation you would hear in any other Museum. This art makes you think, and deeply analyze the artist’s intentions behind it. Not the typical Museum but deserves the title it holds to one of the most important ones in the world nowadays.

Author: Daniela Canizares: Miami as Text

Daniela Canizares was born and raised in Cuba and moved to Miami when she was 15 years old. She is currently working towards her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Florida International University, planning on graduating in May 2023.

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