Cover for Calida Rawles: Away with the Tides
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)
Calida Rawles: Away with the Tides
Rawles’ transcendent, hyperrealistic paintings of Black bodies in water reckon with the legacy of racial injustice.
Edited with text by Maritza M. Lacayo. Foreword by Franklin Sirmans. Text by Regina R. Robertson, Enuma Okoro. Interview by Christine Y. Kim
Designed by Beverly Joel, pulp ink.
Published 2024 | ISBN: 9781636811406

Merging hyperrealism, poetic abstraction and the cultural and historical symbolisms of water, Los Angeles–based artist Calida Rawles (born 1976) creates unique portraits of Black bodies submerged in and interacting with bright, mysterious bodies of water. The water, itself a sort of character within the paintings, functions as an element that signifies both physical and spiritual healing, as well as historical trauma and racial exclusion.

For her first solo museum show at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, Rawles creates a bridge between her signature style and a story within Miami’s history that is often ignored and obscured. She takes as her subject the residents of Overtown, a once prosperous Miami neighborhood dismantled by systemic racism and gentrification. For the first time, Rawles photographed her subjects submerged in water at the formerly segregated Virginia Key Beach. By taking photographs in situ, Rawles directly engages with the legacy of the Atlantic slave trade, the Jim Crow–era south and Miami’s own ecological history.