JÔNATAS and Dana Blickensderfer would first cross paths in 2016 during Miami Art Week. Dana, a businesswoman and visual artist, would arrange to meet JÔNATAS, a professor and multimedia visual artist, through Kelly Murray, a common acquaintance who had just directed JÔNATAS’ art auction fundraising gala for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
As Dana hosted a Youtube series on the challenges of being a South Floridian artist relocating from New York, Dana felt compelled to join JÔNATAS for his solo exhibit during the 2016 Miami Art Basel Week, as she also exhibited her own collection at a local art show. Besides her prolific art studio practice, Dana’s main commitment was to shine a light on the local art scene, mainly by showing its strength, potential, and raw power. JÔNATAS on the other hand, was an aggressive artist-scholar, first-generation Brazilian-American immigrant, who dedicated as much to his writings and publishing as he did to the expansion of his paintings and installations on the topic of Diaspora Identities.
Quickly after their first meeting, Dana and JÔNATAS would find a deep sense of connection, which would eventually develop into the founding of The Wandering Masters Art Salon – meant to ignite the passion for the arts through 19th century salon-style group exhibits – which focused on promoting the artist experience without boundaries or bias, not shying away from bringing together the familiar with the progressive, and the traditional with the controversial.
From 2016 to 2018 the Wandering Masters Art Salon would promote intense conversation through in-person and podcast interviews, on-site and virtual exhibits, and immersive art experiences. One of its main accomplishments was an exhibit at CAMEO – Miami Beach’s largest night club – which would bring together thousands of people for a multidimensional art show. The exhibit’s highlights were a large-scale time-based projection on outside the building – visible by thousands from Washington Avenue in Miami Beach – and a public performance dinner that focused on the 2018 American Immigration Crisis.
As the Wandering Masters Art Salon became more complex, with an ideological discourse perceptually further detached from the post-Modernism held by most American contemporary art players (in Academia, the museum, and the gallery world), JÔNATAS and Dana Blickensderfer realized it was time to understand, process, and formalize this evolution.
And so, in 2018 JÔNATAS received Dana at his Wynwood art studio in Miami, where for many hours they discussed over coffee their newfound sense of identity. As they examined their thoughts and intentions, they got closer to understanding what truly set them apart from all other art collectives and players:
They realized they functioned as a didactive, philosophical, political, constructivist, and spiritual art collective. They recognized that they wanted to change the status-quo by mobilizing other artists to embrace their rightful role as agents and makers of culture. And they understood their mutual belief that change will not come from the System, but from self-starting artists who can flourish in a globalized, fast-paced, information-rich, and culturally underfunded world.
It was with this sense of immediacy, oneness of mind, and certainty of mission, that the JADA Art Movement was born.