Date: 20 April – 4 May 2024
Address: Espace Canopy, 19 Rue Pajol, 75018 Paris

Key dates
Vernissage & performance by Linnett Hernández: Saturday, April 20, 6-8pm

Slow looking by MJ Oliveri: April 22, 2pm
Artists talk: Saturday, April 27, 4pm
Finissage: Saturday, May 4, 6-8pm

Espace Canopy and IESA Arts&Culture supported by the Consulate General of Peru in Paris, in partnership with the association Les Talents du 18, is pleased to present HABITER, a photography exhibition featuring the works of Peruvian artist Milena Carranza. This thought-provoking exhibition is the result of a collective international student project organized by IESA Arts&Culture and will be on view from April 20 to May 4, 2024.

Through the lens of spirituality, the project delves into how individuals from diverse backgrounds navigate with their roots when confronted with immigration or other transformative life experiences.

The exhibition offers an introspective exploration into the theme of adaptation.

In HABITER, Milena Carranza, a Peruvian photographer, features Linnett Hernández, a Cuban actress, in the role of the muse. Their journey unfolds through a series of photographs capturing the streets of La Goutte d'Or, where Oshun wanders the 18th district of Paris in search of home. Oshun, the goddess of femininity and fresh water of the Yoruba religion (originating in Nigeria and taken, with the transatlantic slave trade, to countries such as Cuba, Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago), embodies themes as the source of life and the strength to move the community forward.

In this way, the exhibition becomes a visual quest for self-discovery, the need to be loved and to be part of something. It is an exploration of human adjustment to a new environment and how we manage to inhabit it. It also celebrates the homogeneity of diversity, emphasizing the connections that unite us. Milena and Linnett found themselves deeply immersed in the African culture of Paris, particularly within La Goutte d’Or, a neighborhood significant to the African community in the city, where they have lived and worked. Here, they discovered a haven resonating with the warmth and freedom reminiscent of Afro-diasporic culture, but also the identification with their issues. This connection extends to Afro-Peruvian and Afro-Cuban influences, providing them with a sense of home and spirituality not easily found elsewhere in the country. Milena, the daughter of Oshun, symbolizing the river, and Linnett, the daughter of Olokun, the ocean deity, both daughters of water intertwine their experiences and spirituality in a compelling narrative.

About the artists

Milena Carranza, born in 1982 in Lima, Peru, boasts a rich educational background holding a degree in Audiovisual Communication, a diploma in Photography, Therapy through the Expressive Arts, and a Master's in Cultural Management. Actively engaged in the Afro-Peruvian community since 2000, member of Afro-Peruvian youth associations, Milena was selected by theU.S. State Department in 2011, participating in a program focused on the cultural heritage of the African Diaspora. In 2012, she established the Iwa Pele Educational Project, dedicated to the reflection on identity through art among children of African descent in Lima's La Victoria district.

Her professional journey includes roles in cultural management at the Universidad Científica del Sur and the North American Peruvian Cultural Institute in Peru, along with international experiences, including work with UNESCO in Paris, in the program “The General History of Africa”.

Milena's photography, acclaimed for its exploration of Afro-Peruvian and African Diaspora identities and cultural-spiritual expressions, has been featured in prestigious venues worldwide, including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC, the Afro-Latino Festival in New York, and the 12th Biennial of African Photography “The encounters of Bamako” in Mali, and the fortnight of diversity, equality and citizenship in Bordeaux, France, where she won the prize for best exhibition. Currently based in Paris, Milena continues her path through her participation in initiatives such as the renown cultural agency Little Africa (2022), as well as by continuously exhibiting its archives and developing artistic projects with other artists from the diaspora.

Linnett Hernández, born in 1983 in Havana, Cuba and educated at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Cuba, has established a distinguished career as an actress in both theater and cinema.

Since 2006, she has been a dedicated member of the Teatro El Público (Havana), venturing internationally with acclaimed performances. In 2008, she played the role of the slave Caridad in Del amor y otros demonios (Colombia), an daptation of Gabriel García Márquez's book directed by Hilda Hidalgo. In the same year, she acted in the film L'homme de chevet, shot in Cartagena (Colombia) and directed by Alain Monne. In theater, she acted in Colombia in Doña flor y sus dos maridos (2009) directed by Jorge Alí Triana, in Cuba in Monólogos de la vagina (2015) by writer Eve Ensler directed by Osvaldo Doimeadios and in France, she plays Santa Cecilia by writer Abilio Estévez directed by Iván Jiménez (2019).

Most recently, she starred in the film Vicenta B directed by Carlos Lechuga (Cacha Films, Havana, 2022), where she plays a respected "santera" who reads the cards and communicates with the dead. The film was winner of best director and actress at Cine Film Festival at Ceará Film Festival in Brazil in 2022. She lives in France since 2018, where she continues her acting career.

About Espace Canopy

The name Canopy refers to the upper level of the rainforest, home to many species as yet unknown to man. This place is intended to be the canopy of an artists' forest: discovering talents and releasing energies. Exploring art, creating convivial encounters in and around the neighborhood, around art. Bringing together art lovers, passers-by, artists, collectors and local residents. Espace Canopy is a cultural space and an association. It's located near the Gare du Nord and Gare de l'Est railway stations, a stone's throw from the La Chapelle metro station, in a multi-ethnic neighborhood that's open to Europe and the rest of the world, and already harbors the potential for creativity and humanity. Espace Canopy is not only an art exhibition space, but also a place for artistic and social expression, offering guided tours. The aim is to bring together and blend several disciplines, with a view to creating synergies and bridges between those involved in today's artistic creation.

Discover more about the students' exhition and students' life here, and about the programs that IESA offers