Regina José Galindo is another Elena suggested I look into. She is a performance artist that addresses contemporary issues through her performance work.
In the YouTube video “The Thing About…”, Regina presented her work and described a number of performances she’s done. They are deeply disturbing. The piece that sticks with me most from the video I saw today is her piece called “Perra (Bitch)”. It’s a piece based on a series of mysterious murders of women in Guatemala, whose bodies were found in a wide variety of places, but the one thing that linked them together, was the word “perra” had been cut into their body with a knife. Regina’s performance involves her carving the same word into her thigh.
Read: Making Visible the Haunting Absences of Latin America’s Violent History – a Hyperallergic article worth reading about the show: BASTA!, an exhibition that was presented at the Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a show that reflects on violence in Latin America.
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Looking up more of Regina’s work online, I realize now she is one of the artists Jean Marie presented in our “Art of Getting Lost” workshop and is the artist who created this piece:
Regina walked from the National Palace to the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City with a bowl full of blood, recreating footsteps along the way, in a response to General Rios Montt’s presidential genocide campaign, for which she received the Venice Biennale Golden Lion award and numerous other recognitions.
“I live in a violent country, and that is where my violent art comes from” – Regina José Galindo.
Here she speaks about being – or rather, not being – an activist:
“Any artist creates from a concept, and for a Latin American artist it is very difficult to keep surrounding circumstances at bay. However, there is a huge distance and separation between being an artist with a clear political point of view and being an activist. I respect activists because they are altruistic humans, who will give their lives for the causes they believe in. They get killed and they work to help others, which is totally opposite to an artist’s mind and way of acting. An artist has ego problems and is always looking to find himself. His main objective is himself and no other. With my work, I am not even getting close to offering solutions to problems, and that is why I am not an activist at all.”