A woman stands in the middle of a meadow, naked, unmoving, stoic: Regina José Galindo. A digger is digging a hole around her exposed body. With each blow of the machine, the woman’s death floats in the air, more threatening each time. “How did they kill people?” asked the public prosecutor in the audience hall in Guatemala in 2013. “First, they ordered the person operating the machine, officer García, to dig a hole. Then, they parked trucks, laden with people, close to the pine tree, and one by one, they went passing by. Once the cavity filled, they let the shovel of the machine fall over the corpses.” This statement was made by a witness who gave testimony in the historical trial against the dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, accused of committing genocide against the lxil, a Guatemalan indigenous tribe.
Regina José Galindo was born 1974 in Guatemala City, in the middle of the civil war. Today, she is one of the most provocative and renowned artists in Latin America. At the past documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany (2017), Galindo presented three pieces. And also in 2017 she organized the performance Make America Great Again in Los Angeles. Using simple visual language to haunting effects, Galindo manages to directly access complex thematics while still avoiding the clarity which would give way to the one-dimensional. Her naked body becomes an intensely politicized surface for projection, encouraging an approach not only to concrete events but also to evident existential and universal circumstances marked by injustice and oppression.