Sound Botanica is Guadalupe Maravilla’s first solo exhibition in Europe at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Norway. The exhibition presents a survey of Maravilla’s body of work, bringing together pieces from four of his major series: Tripa Chuca, Embroideries, Disease Throwers, and Retablos.
Tripa Chuca (Dirty Guts) references the Salvadorian game that Maravilla played during his childhood and along his migration route towards the USA. The series is also represented in a site-specific work at the Henie Onstad, in which Maravilla “plays out” the game in collaboration with a previously undocumented person. In these drawings, Maravilla directly treats the topic of migration and his own immigration history.
In his Embroideries series, Maravilla condenses the thematic elements of his drawings. On each embroidered work, disembodied limbs, hands, and clenched fists are stitched with dripping blocks of ice (a reference to ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), skulls, and a hand sowing seeds. These are fictive, contemporary emblems created by the artist to symbolise resistance against the persecution of and political pressure on undocumented immigrants.
Retablos are devotional “ex-voto” paintings, a popular art form traditionally used to express gratitude for surviving dangerous events. In Maravilla’s retablos, and in the long inscriptions he has inscribed on each of them, the artist gives thanks and expresses gratitude for, among other things, a new chance in life after his cancer treatment, which has made it possible for him to continue as artist and healer.
The fourth series, consists of a set of freestanding sculptures entitled Disease Throwers, which are created from found objects and materials collected while Maravilla retraces his migration journey. At the heart of each sculpture is a gong that is activated during sound baths; a collective, ritual, and meditative healing experience created by the artist.
During the opening weekend on 18 March 2022, at Henie Onstad, four sound baths, two on Saturday and two on Sunday, were open and free for visitors to attend (registration is necessary).