Alexandra Gapihan
Alexandra's portrait

My original name is Benvinda, meaning 'welcome' in Creole-Portuguese, for I was born in the Cape Verde islands, near Senegal (West Africa). But I was mostly raised in the Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). Since I fell in love with my brother Alexand's name, I asked to be called Alexandra. My mother is Grace Hemmings-Gapihan, an American UN worker on women's all over Africa, and my father is Jean-Yves Gapihan, a French Agronomist from Brittany. I became an artist since a little girl, when I discoveted I could make different colored prints of fresh cherries acording to this maturity stage, on a kitchen piece of napkin. 
   Half of my childhood was spent in Internatinal Community School of Abidjan. When the civil war in the Ivory Coast broke out in 2000, my parents decided to send me to live in Boston with my Uncle David and Aunt Ellie, I spent my last year of high school at the Cambridge School of Weston.
   I went to college at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) in Baltimore, which became my best memorable 4 years of Artistic Education. After I graduated from General Fine Arts in 2005, I decided to go live with my Mother who was at that time working in Ethiopia, and there I lived many travel adventures.
   I then made the choice to come back to the United States in order to live other adventures in Taos, New Mexico, and be again with my Bostonian family. Just before living for Taos, trying for the first time Aikido at MIT, I met and fell in love with Javier Bravo, who became my Spanish boyfriend, beginning a long distance relationship between Taos and Spain and from him, my name turned to be 'Alee,' short and sweet.
   In 2008, I decided to move to Pamplona, in the region of Navarra, to live with Javier. We now live together, in our small apartment here in Huarte. I have a little room all to myself, which I have made it into my studio. I decided to call it "Moon Ris/ce estudio," in honoting the cycle of the moon we are all submitted to as women, the moon rising, or a wordgame of the 'rice' I use so much in my works.
  Moon Ris/ce Estudio has become my little nest where everything is possible... all types of creations, since I love mixing medias, from painting with watercolors, acrylics or oil, mixing up with dried or oil pastels, differend fabrics, rice, seads, natural elements, sewing, collaging, paper cuttings, and so much more... There are times I concentrate on large figurative chalcoal drawing, which I have come to call them 'Meditations' or there are times when I dedicate myself more on drawing the tinyest lovely children with graphite pencils. This is my sacred world, between exhibitions, comissions and personal projects and just trying to make a living out of my passion. With a little music, surrounded by my loved little plant beings, artists books and colored dangling lights.... and with the help of my newest assistant/sous-chef Neko, a black and white cat Javier and I decided to save from the streets, life is sweet and happy in Moon Ris/ce Estudio, with yet so much more to learn and discover...
   Between Javier, my Art and projects, Aikido, Neko, my home and cooking, my family in the States, France, Portugal and Cape Verde, and my family-in-law in Spain, I feel like the luckyest woman in the world to be able to breathe and fully live everyday!!!