School of Art

Yes, you read that right. Artist Mariel Miranda, second-year Master of Fine Arts candidate in the Photography, Video and Imaging program, will bring a dead bird back to life. Not once, not twice, but in 16 new, impossible ways

To pull off this impossible feat, Miranda needs support. Fortunately she just earned the 2021 Marcia Grand Centennial Sculpture Prize, which provides Miranda with up to $10,000 to complete her artistic vision.

Miranda’s proposed project, “Sixteen Necromancy Wishes,” envisions 16 ways in which a small, dead bird can be brought back to life using a taxonomic spell and visual arts.

“My aim in this project is to create an allegorical device to speak about the small and the silent,” wrote Miranda. “For the last 12 years I have lived the embodied experience of the daily threat of a narco-state that operates with impunity in my home country Mexico. Before coming to Tucson, I wondered about all those years now of the pain of death that passes through all of us. But also, and above all, I wondered about the immeasurable beauty of the small and silent acts of courage and love that are applied as tactics against all that terror — acts that we’ll never get to know.”

>> Learn about Sixteen Necromancy Wishes

For more than 30 years, the Centennial Sculpture Prize is given to an MFA candidate, specifically to support the completion of sculptural/3D artwork. The recipient is determined by a committee of staff and faculty via a proposal process. Previous honorees have included Benjamin Dearstyne Hoste, Marina Shaltout, and Karlito Miller Espinosa.

Miranda graduated with honors from the Universidad Autonoma de Baja in Tijuana, Mexico, with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She was raised in the Las Cumbres neighborhood of Tijuana, and her experience there informs her artistic work and research.

“Mariel’s work shows a level of sophistication and maturity that is exceptionally advanced for an MFA student. I am so glad we can offer the support provided by this award in order to bring her project to fruition,” said School of Art Director Colin Blakely.

This story originally appeared on the School of Art website as “Mariel Miranda is bringing a dead bird back to life,” written by Ginette Gonzalez.