Maria Berrio creates complex collages from paper handmade in Asia and Latin America. Drawing from South American mythology and folklore, her large-scale images reflect on displacement, global migration and intercultural connectivity through visions of kaleidoscopic color and otherworldly existence. In this work, Berrio addresses migration by depicting the prelude to a journey. She shows a moment of preparation in which three people help transform a fourth into a human-bird hybrid for her flight to freedom. In astronomy, the term “syzygy” refers to the alignment of three celestial bodies, usually in reference to the Earth, sun, and moon. In this case, it refers to the three standing figures, aligned in the process of creating the hybrid immigrant. Berrio more loosely uses the metaphor to reference things being joined together, in this case a human and bird, or the natural and the spiritual.


  • Title: Syzygy
  • Creator: María Berrío
  • Creator Birth Place: Bogotá, Colombia
  • Date Created: 2017
  • Location: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • Physical Dimensions: 80 × 96 inches (203.2 × 243.8 cm)
  • Type: Mixed Media
  • Publisher: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • Rights: © María Berrío
  • Medium: Collage with Japanese paper and watercolor on canvas
  • Art Form: Mixed Media
  • Credit Line: Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Gift of Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger. Courtesy of the artist and Praxis Gallery, New York.

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