Marginalia - Guatemala

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Marginalia #94

#Marginalia94 was dedicated to exploring images, poems, actions, works and artists that were part of the 23rd Paiz Biennial in Guatemala

I drank words submerged in dreams
(Fragment of the text written by curators Francine Birbragher-Rozencwaig and Juan Canela for the catalog of the Biennial)

I drank words submerged in dreams  is a fragment of a poem by Maya Cú, one of the referents of Mayan poetry in Guatemala, whose body of works represents the search for an identity establishing a femenine genealogy and a heritage in resistance. Her verses accompany us in the construction of the 23 Bienal de Arte Paiz, whse themes, ideas, participants and structure have been taking shape in a collective work process with a curatorial assembly formed together with Minia Bibiany, Marilyn Boror Bor, Duen Neka’ Hen Sacchi, and Juana Valdés.

Writing, orality, story, corporality, presence, movement, community, territoriality, landscape, nature and community are some of the concepts that emerge from these relationships, articulating narratives that challenge hegemonic relationships and imagining futures that delve into the possibilities of common lives.

Since its inception, the biennial has been built from a polyphony of voices that emanate from their works. Voices and gestures that emerge from each specific territory from experimenting with what is close to articulate meeting spaces. There is an unequivocal will to work from undefined certainties that are born from intuitive spaces and solid diverse spiritualities. The different proposals delve into linguistic, poetic, dreamlike, telluric, political, psychic, emotional or affective territories in which materialities, subjectivities and desires take shape from the conviction of building bridges.

But how do you start walking? How do you start composing? How is this polyphony shaped?

In our case, the conversations have been setting the pace. A rhythm that is often out of step, with discontinuous intensities. A rhythm that we would undoubtedly like to be more leisurely, looser. But a coupled rhythm, after all, to the contemporary life we ​​lead. Sporadic encounters in the presence, constant presence in the distance. The members of the curatorial assembly have been an indispensable part of this flow and of how everything has been taking shape. The conversations have been transformed into a common thought that allows us to glimpse a path that was there, waiting for us to begin to connect some visions with others.

Being aware of the need to be inclusive and decentralize the participation of Guatemalan artists, creators residing in rural areas and indigenous communities whose lines of work are consistent with our vision, were invited. They are the collective Tz’aqaat – Cheen (Cortez) and Manuel Chavajay: Collective Ixqcrear – Elena Caal Hub, Ixmukane Quib Caal E Ixmayab’ Quib Caal: and The New Material Culture – Bryan Castro and Valeria Leiva, as well as Marylin Boror Bor.

Finally, because it is an international biennial in which dialogues and exchanges play a fundamental role, we invite a group of artists who we believe will significantly enrich the exhibition proposal and the Shared Knowledge program. They are: Laia Estruch, Adler Guerrier, Helen Mirra, Julieth Morales, Verónica Navas Gonzáles, Itziar Okariz, Eliazar Ortiz Roa, Sallisa Rosa, Risseth Yangüez Singh and Ix Shells, as well as Minia Biabiany, Duen Nekanen Sacchi and Juana Valdés.

Faced with the climatic, social and structural crises of global societies, we embrace broad listening, attentive gaze, close attention and radical tenderness. We invite you to immerse ourselves in the waters of the different languages, the bodies and the territories that coexist in this biennial, and live experiences that allow us to purify ourselves, create bridges and ties that engender new dreams. May the dreamy sips of each language make us remember the words of our grandmothers and honor our ancestors, in order to imagine a common future that is capable of weaving us together with others.


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