Artist Carlos Estevez Starts a Kite-Making Craze That Will End Up in Gables Shop Windows
In the best-selling novel “The Kite Runner,” the children battle each other with kites that are designed to cut each other’s strings. The last to stay airborne is the winner.
The opposite is the case this month, as children from across Miami-Dade County are being encouraged to construct kites by local artist Carlos Estevez. Everyone is included and everyone who participates is a winner.
The project is part of Illuminate Coral Gables, a city and donation-funded art installation project that will dramatically light up buildings around the downtown starting in the first week of January. Estevez was tagged to join Illuminate after curators of the massive light show saw his work on display at UM’s Lowe Art Museum. The building he will illuminate is City Hall, which will come alive with animated forms dancing across the windows at night.
In the meantime, Estevez – whose own kite creations have become collectable fine art (Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli owns one) – has filmed an instructional video workshop that will be shown via the Miami-Dade school system to students from 2nd through 12th grade.
“This workshop for children consists in building flying kites,” says Estevez. “They represent our quest for reaching our dreams. The kites include the construction of the structures and the drawings that cover them. The subject will be a self-portrait of each child, depicting their faces in an imaginary way.” The kites also represent the idea that anyone can create art using simple materials that can be found at home, a reflection of the resource-challenged Cuban childhood of Miami-based Estevez.
“Carlos would use household items that he would create things from,” says Matt Hegge, who handles public relations for Illuminate, and whose firm MHCPCOLAB produced the instructional workshop video. “Likewise, the children [here] are building the kites from basic items they can find at home, in everyday life.”
The idea of the countywide kite building program was to include greater participation in what promises
to be a national level art event for the city. “The kites are about self-portraiture and identity and inclusivity,” says Lance Fung of San Francisco-based Fung Collaboratives, the lead curator for Illuminate. “It shows the full nature of what art and Coral Gables embraces – that everyone should have a seat at the table.”
Originally, plans called for kids from across Miami-Dade to assemble near City Hall for a “giant kite parade” involving dance and music, as part of the Illuminate program. But the pandemic put an end to that. Instead, at the suggestion of Gables culture director Catherine Cathers, the kites will be offered for window displays throughout the downtown.
“We are offering them to businesses that are open if they want to incorporate them into their displays,” says Patrick O’Connell, senior VP of BHHS/EWM and co-director of Illuminate Coral Gables. The massive new lobby of the Plaza Coral Gables office tower on Ponce Circle will also be displaying a vast array of the kites.