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Desierto (Desert)

Regina José Galindo, Guatemala City (Guatemala, Guatemala)

Regina José Galindo’s  Work

Desierto, a performance piece, took place July 7th, 2015 in the Gallery Gabriela Mistral in Santiago de Chile.

Desierto, Desert, was created for the Chilean context: it speaks of forms of oppression, abuse, racism and colonialism that hide behind the successful industry of pine that has invaded the Mapuche indigenous territory in that country, generating increased damage to the ecosystem. The work is not only about one site, however. In the artist’s words, "[t]he problem of land and indigenous peoples that have been violated and pillaged by wealthy families and the State is not a stranger to Guatemala context…during the war in my country, the scorched-earth strategy was a constant. Thousands of indigenous Maya were kept in their communities, were murdered and their lands expropriated. Many of these lands passed into the hands of the State, oligarchs, or foreigners. Many of these lands are currently exploited through mining, hydroelectric industries or areas of monoculture. In Guatemala there are no pine-forests, but there is another way to annihilate the Earth. In Guatemala, the African Palm has caused havoc. Recently the factory Xerxes (that produces Palm oil Olmec brand) contaminated the rivers’ waters and thousands of fish and other species have died in an ecocide without precedent".

Speaking to this violence, in this work, the artist remains naked, buried in the sand dunes of sawdust created inside the Gallery. Sawdust refers to waste resulting after the over exploitation of the land and the ongoing desertification of large tracts of land, both in Guatemala with the cultivation of African Palm, as in Chile with the large scale cultivation of pine and eucalyptus. The desert is no longer the North but the South.

Regina José Galindo image 1

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Commissioned and produced for the Gabriela Mistral Gallery, Santiago de Chile
Curated by Soledad Novoa Donoso
Photos by Rodrigo Maulen
Video by Andrés Lima, Sebastián Pando

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Regina José Galindo is a performance artist who specializes in body art. Galindo has participated in exhibitions such as the 49th and 51st Venice Biennales; 2nd Moscow Biennial; 1st Auckland Triennial; Venice-Istanbul; 1st Canary Islands Art and Architecture Biennial; 4th Valencia Biennial; 2nd Albania Biennial, Tirana; 2nd Prague Biennial; 2nd Biennial of Lima, Peru; 1st Festival of Corporeal Art, Venezuela and IX Festival of Performance ExTeresa, México City.

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