Visual Arts

Accessible art displayed at new FU ‘neighborhoods gallery’ in Little Haiti

FU Gallery owners Miguel Ullivarri and Valeria Fiñana with artist Ciler selecting some of the final pieces for ‘Ponzoña,’ his first solo exhibit in the United States.
FU Gallery owners Miguel Ullivarri and Valeria Fiñana with artist Ciler selecting some of the final pieces for ‘Ponzoña,’ his first solo exhibit in the United States. cportilla@miamiherald.com

Miguel Ullivarri has been a life-long fan of art and wanted to begin a small personal collection without the highbrow attitude and pricey tags associated with expensive galleries.

On Wednesday, he opened FU art gallery in Little Haiti with his business partner and friend, Valeria Fiñana, bringing their concept “Galería De Barrio,” or neighborhoods gallery, to the area.

The concept was born out of the barrier Ullivarri felt created by galleries that would acknowledge him only if he seemed like an interested buyer. At FU, the theory is simple — accessible art at reasonable prices for anyone in the neighborhood. Prices range from the low hundreds to $5,000.

“We both come from creative backgrounds but our experience wasn’t in art galleries,” Ullivarri said. “I think this works in our favor because we are not bound by specific rules, prices and styles most galleries follow.”

The gallery will feature local as well as Latin American artists, and opened with an exhibit by Mexican graphic artist Alexis Mata known as Ciler.

Ciler got his start in Mexico as a graffiti artist and has been transitioning during the last couple of years from the streets to fine-art galleries.

He gained popularity through his defacement of political and religious images. Ciler said the purpose of his work is to generate a dialogue and send shockwaves to his viewers while encouraging them to question the systems in power.

“Ponzoña” is his first solo exhibit in Miami and is a collection of pieces he created at the beginning of this year that focuses on images of people overtaken by disease. For Ciler, disease can be anything from consumerism to false ideologies of beauty.

“Ponzoña to me is an infection in which we are all contaminated,” Ciler said. “I am leaving it up to the viewer to draw on their own point of view to which ideas they want to relate it to. I want them to challenge themselves to see how bad we are really doing as a society. Sometimes people don’t even realize what I’ve done with the piece and that’s when I can tell how informed they are.”

Ullivarri and Fiñana see the area becoming inundated with art but want their gallery to be a place where neighborhood and international artists can find a common ground.

“It’s a constant exploration of what will develop here as the times goes,” Fiñana said. “We want something that will appeal to everyone. With the area changing we are open to meeting artists who will bring their style and mix it with our vision.”

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If you go

What: FU art gallery.

Where: 8373 NE Second Ave., Miami.

Hours: 1 to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; weekdays by appointment.

Information: 305-803-0641 or 786-553-9355; or visit www.facebook.com/fuartmiami/

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