The Shell in the Clouds by Pavel Acevedo

Experience the artworks of Pavel Acevedo as he transports you to the clouds of Oaxaca in his solo exhibition wherein he explores Zapotec traditions and imagery through print

Ma' concht' do't nub't in Zapotec (El caparazón en las nubes or The Shell in the Clouds) is Pavel Acevedo's culminating exhibition as Self Help Graphics' Beyond the Press artist in residence. Pavel's residency began in mid-January 2020 and was interrupted by the pandemic hit.

Persona del Monte / Brittle Bush (2021) by Pavel AcevedoSelf Help Graphics & Art

About the artist

Pavel Acevedo was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and resides in Riverside, CA. Through printmaking and muralism, he explores the topics of migration, immigration, borders and the duality many immigrants contend with after leaving their homeland for a new nation. 

Turtle Land (2021) by Pavel AcevedoSelf Help Graphics & Art

Turtle Land (2021) by Pavel AcevedoSelf Help Graphics & Art

As a prolific artist, Pavel diligently worked away carving into his linoleum and wood plates, documenting last year's events and his recurring theme of migration and adaptation to new environments.

These themes are visually conveyed through mythological characters inspired by the Zapotec stories shared by the artist's grandfather.

Comparsa De Fuego (Fire Procession) (2021) by Pavel AcevedoSelf Help Graphics & Art

And what we find ourselves in is an otherworldly atmosphere of sea creatures, half-human half-animals called nahuales, that lead viewers in a procession.

The exhibition's title, The Shell in the Clouds derives from the belief that their rulers descended from supernatural beings who lived among the clouds and that when they died, they returned to there. For this reason, Oaxacans are known as the "People of the clouds." These centuries-old stories have inspired Pavel's practice and are interwoven throughout his work.

Somos Millones Cuentanos Bien (2021) by Pavel AcevedoSelf Help Graphics & Art

For example, the nahuales in When we fight, We Win or in El grabador/ eating fire represent wild animals forced to adapt to the urbanization and eventually become active participants in a new system- much like migrants who move from one country to another.

El Grabador/ Eating Fire, Pavel Acevedo, 2021, From the collection of: Self Help Graphics & Art
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El Grabador, Eating Fire - Woodblock, Pavel Acevedo, 2021, From the collection of: Self Help Graphics & Art
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When We Fight We Win, Pavel Acevedo, 2021, From the collection of: Self Help Graphics & Art
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When We Fight We Win, Pavel Acevedo, 2021, From the collection of: Self Help Graphics & Art
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AWE, Pavel Acevedo, 2020, From the collection of: Self Help Graphics & Art
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El norte, Pavel Acevedo, 2020, From the collection of: Self Help Graphics & Art
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Persona del monte, Pavel Acevedo, 2020, From the collection of: Self Help Graphics & Art
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Tepetl, Pavel Acevedo, 2020, From the collection of: Self Help Graphics & Art
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DEFUND, Pavel Acevedo, 2020, From the collection of: Self Help Graphics & Art
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Nisa, Pavel Acevedo, 2020, From the collection of: Self Help Graphics & Art
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For Pavel, the prints in this series are a celebration of the rebelliousness that is part of ourselves. Since living in Oaxaca, he participated in protests, and seeing them in the U.S. inspired his work throughout his residency.

Greed (2020) by Pavel AcevedoSelf Help Graphics & Art

Mixtepec, Pavel Acevedo, 2020, From the collection of: Self Help Graphics & Art
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Queremos Todo Para Todos, Pavel Acevedo, 2020, From the collection of: Self Help Graphics & Art
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Ciclos (2020) by Pavel AcevedoSelf Help Graphics & Art

Rebellious (2021) by Pavel AcevedoSelf Help Graphics & Art

Rebellious (2020) by Pavel AcevedoSelf Help Graphics & Art

Listen to the artist, Pavel Acevedo, discuss his artwork and process in the studio.

Studio interview with the artist Pavel Acevedo

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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