Lucía Ixchíu is also cofounder of the Festivales Solidarios collective (2013), which focuses on the dissemination of information, local research collective work, the accompaniment of political prisoners and event production. Together with architect Gabriel Rodriguez, she curated the exhibition Muchas somos todxs (Many of Us are All) at the Spanish Cultural Center in Guatemala (2022). The exhibition is an example of how other realities and histories can be seen. In this case, it is not about the bicentennary of Spain’s independence and the creation of the nation-state, but about commemorating the indigenous uprising that occurred two years earlier, with figures such as Atanasio Tzul. Lucìa Ixchíu now lives in exile in Bilbao, Spain, with photojournalist Carlos Ernesto Cano, with whom she founded the Festivales Solidarios (Solidarity Festivals). In this interview we talk about the community in the arts, music, and cultural management as a way to search for freedom, and about painting as therapy.
C& América Latina: On your Instagram profile you call yourself “K’iche, guardian of the Forest, community feminist, cultural manager, artist, architect and community journalist.” Is one of these elements, roles or characteristics more central to you? What is the connection between all of these elements?
Lucía Ixchíu: I believe that human identities are multiple, no identity is ever static. It’s not about saying that I was born this way and I will die this way, but rather that each of these ways has been part of my history and has shaped what I am today.
It is important to mention that my first intervention exercise from the community was art and cultural management. If I talk about my political and artistic work, I always say that I became a cultural manager at the age of 11 because I had a rock band. Together with my sister, we organized our own events. Music and cultural management were a way for me to search for my own freedom. For those of us who came from an indigenous population that was conservative and sexist, that was something very important. So that’s where my political work started without knowing that I was already doing something political.