Baik Art presents Bearing Witness, a solo exhibition by Regina Jose Galindo, contemporary Guatemalan performance artist born in 1974, 14 years into the bloody, 36-year armed conflict in Guatemala. By pushing her body to the limit and creating works that depict her own reality as both a Guatemalan and a woman, Galindo challenges the inequities and atrocities that have become commonplace. When she afflicts harm on herself Galindo recalls her predecessors, artists such as Gina Pane, Chris Burden, and Marina Abramović . Her international acclaim has expanded in more recent years as her oeuvre has grown to include works that bear witness to a number of international concerns.
Often placing her body in direct confrontation with an audience, Galindo identifies and illuminates political, economic, and social concerns in her performances; memorializes those involved; and ultimately, evokes a response. Although careful to align herself as an artist rather than an activist, Galindo’s actions invite viewers – through observation and, at times, participation – to consider, to remember, and to take responsibility.
As Galindo has become more internationally regarded for her art, she has remained committed to addressing social justice issues. Constantly performing and exhibiting around the world has influenced her work, with performance locations often informing content. Many of Galindo’s more recent works rely on direct engagement with viewers as a strategy for encouraging accountability and responsibility, a tactic employed by many of her predecessors. Galindo’s performances illuminate a number of human rights issues, including corruption, racism, and gender-based crimes, to incite collective memory and action. While she is working through the system of art, not activism, her works do evoke response – at times corporal, visceral.
Whether performing and exhibiting in a gallery, museum, or town square, in her homeland or around the world, Galindo’s success stems in part from her ability to perform her own reality, while at the same time contextualizing her identity within a global framework. Galindo makes palpable the corruption, discrimination, and violence that others have ignored both within and outside her nation’s geopolitical boundaries.
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