Massiel Mafes

Region: Northeast


City / State: NYC, NY

  I am a storyteller. Each surface of my paintings is a stage where I direct, compose, and position my characters to play out a narrative. With thread and a sewing needle, I stitch together reality and imagination. My work is a vessel that draws on themes of displacement and migration by referencing art history, Latin American literature, poetry, and autobiographical details. I explore these ideas through painting, drawing, and collaging. Treating fabric like paint, I stain, layer, cut, and meticulously hand-stitch small pieces of secondhand clothes until they become images. This material is the foundation of my practice—a carrier of stories, memories, and lived experiences of the people who once wore them. I use my family’s discarded clothing that they ship from Miami to my studio in New York City. It is a tactile connection to my Cuban ancestry. I make this work to honor my community and unite the stories of the people displaced worldwide and the memories of the place they once called home.