PROPEL: LIVING with ART
By Alissa Shams and Randi Eisenstein
This past month, PROPEL had the pleasure of co-sponsoring a contemporary Latin American Art showcase with RBK Art Advisory, founded in 2019 by Rachel Khafif. After graduating in 2018 from Sotheby’s Institute of Art with a Masters in Contemporary Art, Rachel founded RBK Art Advisory with the encouragement of her mother, Robin Braka. Robin is the Senior Art Consultant for RBK and also serves as a PROPEL board member and sponsor of PROPEL’s Robin Braka School of Art. Together, mother and daughter hosted this event with PROPEL as part of RBK’s forthcoming series entitled “Living With Art.” The series aims to build community around art education and to expose both art lovers and emerging collectors to the work of female artists within unique art venues.
This “Living With Art” kickoff event featured a Q & A with Uragyuan artist Vicky Barranguet inside Artemisa gallery, a contemporary Latin American art space which is not only an exhibition gallery but also the home of its gallerist, Mariana Broda. In the intimate setting of Broda’s Chelsea townhouse, approximately thirty women gathered around the living room sofa — with exotic iced teas and edible flowers crafted by Mariel Tawil Events — to hear Barranguet narrate her artistic journey. Barranguet described the challenges of balancing her career as an artist and raising two children alongside her musician husband, Gustavo Casenave. She recalled how her creative process thrived when her husband was playing jazz or classical music, and Rachel Khafif, while interviewing Barranguet, described the artist’s abstract compositions as “symphonic canvases.”
And yet, these are anything but typical canvases. Barraguet paints lengthy scrolls, bursting with color and crescendo, and allows her patrons to select and cut portions of the scroll that most speak to them. She also described how her scrolls can be exhibited in their entirety, and spoke of a recent art commission for a 150-meter long painting that is going to be wrapped around the inner hallways of The Galleria Vik Milano, a hotel in Italy. One of the most interesting moments of the afternoon was when Barranguet described a lack of female artistic mentorship, as abstract expressionism is commonly stereotyped as a male-dominated medium. This underscored the importance of RBK Art Advisory’s focus on female artists and building community for women through the arts, as well as PROPEL’s commitment to supporting women in finding their professional passions.
Frieda Braha, a young contemporary artist, connected with Barranguet’s career trajectory. She noted, “Meeting Vicky was a huge inspiration for me. Being able to see her techniques and hearing how she grew her business widened my perspective as an artist.” Echoing these sentiments, interior designer Elizabeth Braha expressed, “the event gave attendees an uncensored look into the world of art sales with access to artists, advisors, and collectors. What I appreciated most is that PROPEL is always open to giving people interested in the field genuine, unfiltered guidance.” Indeed, this unique partnership between RBK and PROPEL spoke to PROPEL Co-Founder Rebecca Harary. She explained, “Robin
and Rachel brought together what the mission of PROPEL is all about. That working women can be it all and do it all for their families and their careers was spotlighted today.”
A special thank you to Robin Braka & Rachel Khafif (@rbkartadvisory), Mariana Broda (@artemisagallery), Mariel Tawil (@mtevents.co), and Vicky Barranguet (@vickybarranguet) for helping to coordinate such an inspiring event.
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