Leslie Sardinias and the Time & Space Foundation are pleased to announce the debut presentation of Sardinias's Compass Locator series on December 3rd in Miami Beach, Florida. 

In each of the artist's Compass Locator works, Sardinias constructs a cosmos of a possible world. Within this fabricated realm, Sardinias positions the hopelessness of striving for specific goals against the abstract merits of the journey. The work's titles are only reference points on the horizon: "Compass locator, Rio do Janeiro," or "Compass locator, NYC, Vertical Limits."

The accumulated mythos of the sea, from Odysseus' travels to Hemingway's time in Cuba, provides a fertile ground for the project's iteration in Miami. Here, Sardinias invokes the 90 miles of water situated between Cuba and the United States. Oriented cardinally, the work's tables and frames map a geographical region, representing the cultural and symbolic landscape as a spatial overlay. But by wandering among the discrete elements of the installation, the viewers experience the wood and plexiglas supports as the frame of a ship. The isolated boat navigates its own uncertain territory, "a tribute to the sea as a natural medium of communication, an homage to my family and their arrival to Cuba."

What is the main theme behind Compass Locator, 90 Miles – Miami?

Compass Locator, 90 Miles – Miami talks about the distance between two geographic points and what exists between them. In this case, the two geographical points are the cities of Havana and Miami, between them is Florida’s strait, the sea. The works play on the figure of the sailor dealing with the loneliness he feels during his journey. This figure can represent a fisherman, an emigrant, or anyone that finds himself in the sea, in the middle of two concrete geographical points.

This series does not make reference to the Cuban Diaspora, though it may raise the issue in some way, as the sea is the main migration channel for islanders to go to Miami. I reference the mariners at sea, and how they feel during those experiences. It is not a project based on migration; it is more of a tribute to the sea as a natural medium of communication, an homage to my family and their arrival to America from Europe by the sea a century ago. The theme is simply the distance between two focal points in geography, and how this distance may seem big for some people and small for others… I am simply trying to build a bridge over the sea.

As references during the creative process I have used “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway as well as the symphonic poem “La Mer” by Claude Debussy.

What will the visitor see in this installation?

The table represents different point in geography (Miami and Havana) and the space between, the ocean. This structure contains the work: a small sized red colored sculpture (addressing the Caribbean waters and its coral barriers); along with it, two cubic sculptures representing the midpoint of this journey inside their empty spaces (The Sea); a third sculpture closes the group, formed by measuring tape where the numbers have been erased (there is no scale which leaves an empty numeric value to the observers criteria). Closing this group, floating underneath the table, there are a series of ball sculptures in soft plush, with a bunch of small eye balls growing up to the sky. This work is named "Death Souls" and it is an homage to all the people that die in the sea, as well as Gogol’s novel "Lost Souls" and the etchings by Chagall inspired by it.

“Aguas Malas” is a group of four mixed media drawings are displayed surrounding the table. These works are based on the marine plankton, sea plants, and all the creatures that live in the ocean. Its title is wordplay: a term that is often used to designate jellyfish in Cuba, but it is also commonly used to designate Florida’s strait, due to all the people who die in these waters attempting to make it to the US coast. 


Born in Havana, Cuba in 1974, Leslie Sardinias obtained his studies in art at the National Academy of Visual Arts in Havana Cuba and later furthered his studies with a Masters degree in Design and Animation. After living for several years in Europe, Sardinias returned to New York, where he currently lives, to continue his investigative work in painting animation and design.

His work is part of important private collections such as the Spanish Royal Collection, Melia Cohiba Collection, Alexander Rosenberg, Arte Viva Foundation, to name a few. Sardinias has also shown in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts of Havana, Angel Museum in Segovia, Spain, the Casa Lamm Collection in Mexico, the Bagagli Deposit Museum in the Piazzoni Palace in Italy, among others.

Leslie Sardinias has participated in a number of collective and solo exhibitions. Among the most remarkable is the VII Florence Biennale in Florence, Italy where he was honored with the Lorenzo Medici Award in 2001. In 2012, Sardinias exhibited in Times Square, where he captured the public's attention by replacing the advertising billboards with his animation "Watching You."

The Cuban Artists Fund, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is committed to supporting artists of Cuban ancestry and providing the public with programs aimed at creating broader appreciation for Cuban arts and its global impact both historically and in today’s society. CAF supports artists by helping to identify resources and people to create networks for Cuban artists, arts and culture groups, and cultural exchanges.