Latinx Artist Fellowship

Home » Maria Maea

Maria Maea

Multidisciplinary Artist

Los Angeles, CA

Instagram @maeamaria

I work with palms that I’ve foraged from across Los Angeles. The woven works act as map makers and record keepers of the landscape, blending disjointed parts of the city together. The works that emerge from these woven palms are usually figurative or architectural. The body is used to tell a collective history as well as address the personal journeys of my family and their lived and imagined experiences. Architectural works offer space for the viewer to become a part of the work, allowing our roles as witness to become active and engaged.

Maria Maea is a multidisciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation, performance, film, and sound. Through her art practice, she deepens her connection to land, somatic memory, and ancestry. Her works act as a residue of her lived experience as a first generation Los Angeleno of Samoan and Mexican heritage. Using plants and repurposed found material gathered throughout Los Angeles, Maea builds film set-like sculptures that relate to storytelling & myth-making. With experience in film production, she understands the invisible labor and processes that happen behind the scenes and creates works that invite viewers into a cinematic universe of her own imagination. She uses palm fronds foraged from the greater Los Angeles area to build these sculptures that play in the space between figurative and abstraction. These sculptures, called future ancestors, are made from concrete, rebar, collected objects and both living and dead plants. The work seeks to complicate art’s relationship with institutions around ideas of contamination and preservation. Many works structurally contain seed pods that over time will crumble to dust, however the seed will remain—making the artworks multi-generational. Maea’s greatest inspiration and collaborator is nature itself. Mythos and time also function as sculptural materials in the artist’s work, much in the same way as the plants, concrete, and rebar do. By composing pictures of family with family, Maea produces fragmentary, nonlinear narratives for herself and her relatives, which pointedly work against Western notions of both temporality and lineage.

Selected Works

A figure with an extended hand sits next to a water-purifying fountain.
A figurative sculpture of a boy riding his bike out of the mystical puddle.
A mother figure is surrounded by a woven whirlpool that pushes and pulls her in.