"Planeta Abuelx"

Art
Planet Abuelx
Photograph: Guadalupe Maravilla / courtesy, Socrates Sculpture Park

Time Out says

Socrates Sculpture Park's newest exhibition is a solo show featuring Guadalupe Maravilla’s "Planeta Abuelx," rooted in ancestral and Indigenous practices of holistic healing. It expands upon the idea of Mother Earth by paying homage to our elders as not only a vulnerable group lost to COVID-19 but as keepers of curative ancestral knowledge passed down through generations.

"Retablo Billboard" first greets visitors to the park as a devotional painting made with Daniel Vilchis, a fourth-generation Mexican artist whom the artist met when retracing his migration. The painting depicts the casting process used to create the "Disease Thrower" sculptures (below), along with some of the symbolic materials that are part of the installation, including twisting gourds and ears of corn in the ancestral/medicinal garden.

"Tripa Chuca" is hard to miss—a tall sculpture paired with two separate lines on the earth that create an ephemeral ground drawing plays on a game from Maravilla's childhood called "rotting guts" where players simultaneously draw lines that never touch. The lines, which represent two individual life journeys, are located inside a circle of medicinal plants.

"Disease Throwers (#13, #14) Installation," surround "Tripa Chuca" and reflect experiences of illness and migration. The towering, totemic, twisting forms recall coral formations and are constructed primarily from recycled aluminum-cast water-expanding gel beads and stainless steel tubing. The sculptures feature two large gongs activated during sound baths and various symbolic elements, including cast fruits, vegetables, decorative dishes, and other aluminum parts relating to the artist’s personal healing journey. These two shrine-like, instrumental structures create the central element of the exhibition’s altar-space.

The previously mentioned medicinal garden is part of this installation and includes roses, tobacco and various healing plants and the Three Sisters (corn, squash, beans) that are interspaced with twisting aluminum wires installed to protect the plant beds and as a reference to sacred medicinal plants as well as the artist’s own braided hair, which was cut off as part of a ritual at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of the exhibition, Maravilla has been offering a series of healing sound baths via portable octagonal steel holders that secure additional gongs played by the artist and sound healers. An aluminum fire pit at the center of the installation is also utilized during sound bath activations. The next one is on August 22 and again on September 4 at 6pm. 

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