Fragmentario/ María-Elena Pombo

María-Elena Pombo is a Venezuelan interdisciplinary artist based in New York City. She is the founder of Fragmentario, a platform for research and experimentation. 

She is best known for her work using avocado seeds collected by restaurant workers, reflecting a strategy of engaging participants from diverse backgrounds. She recontextualises and transforms avocado seeds through speculative projects, reimagining them as a material with numerous applications, including dyeing fabric and making bricks and biofuel. Through her work she seeks to examine a range of contemporary concerns, including the functioning of oil-dependent economies such as her native Venezuela.

Pombo’s work has been exhibited at Somerset House in London, A/D/O in Brooklyn, Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan and many other exhibition spaces in the US, Europe and Japan. Pombo won the 2021 London Design Biennale’s Theme Medal for her project La Rentrada, which explores the idea of an avocado-seed economy for a post-petroleum Venezuela. She is a member at NEW INC, the New Museum’s cultural incubator.