The Guatemalan Biennale Arte Paiz will open July 13th, 2023, in Guatemala City and July 15th, 2023, in Antigua Guatemala.


Bebí palabras sumergidas en sueños (I drank words submerged in dreams) is a fragment of a poem by Maya Cú, one of the referents of Mayan poetry in Guatemala, whose body of work represents the search for identity establishing a feminine genealogy and a heritage in resistance. Her verses accompany the construction of this project, whose themes, ideas, participants, and structure have been taking shape in a collective work process with a curatorial assembly convened by Francine Birbragher-Rozencwaig and Juan Canela and formed together with Minia Biabiany, Marilyn Boror Bor, Duen Sacchi, and Juana Valdes. The conversations and meetings have been braided around the existing links between language, body, and territory since the first shared intuitions. Writing, orality, story, corporality, presence, movement, community, territoriality, landscape, nature, and community are some concepts that emerge from these relationships, articulating narratives that challenge hegemonic stories and imagining futures that delve into the possibilities of lives in common.


The project is built from a polyphony of voices that emerge from the dialogue with the participating artists and the reflections that emanate from their work. These voices and gestures emerge from different territories and evolve while experimenting with what is close to articulate meeting spaces. There is an unequivocal will to work from undefined certainties born from intuitive spaces and diverse spiritualities.


The exhibited works, displayed in different venues in Guatemala City and Antigua, delve into linguistic, poetic, dreamlike, telluric, political, psychic, emotional, or affective territories in which materialities, subjectivities, and subjectivities, and desires take shape from the conviction of building bridges. The works by five pioneering women artists serve as an inspiration, anchor, and starting point for the biennial’s development. The practices of Margarita Azurdia, Ana Mendieta, Fina Miralles, Maria Terezha Negreiros, and Cecilia Vicuña opened paths at the time that many of us have followed since. Paths cleared many times using words, spoken or written. Words emerge from the depths of being and delve into the essential relationships with the bodies and the world surrounding them.


In addition to the works presented in the exhibition, the biennial features a Shared Knowledge Program curated by Esperanza de León. It offers mediation resources designed to gradually introduce its themes, bringing them closer to the public and expanding the biennial’s temporality. These pedagogical and discursive formats are born from the meeting of knowledge and complementary cognizance and invite the general public, local artists, and specific communities to participate. Given the need to think about this type of mediation activities before the exhibition’s opening, the program began in March, allowing audiences to meet early on and understand the biennial as a project whose complexity responds to different formats, intensities, vibrations, and actions.


In these days of global societies’ climatic, social, and structural crises, embracing broad listening, attentive gaze, close attention, and radical tenderness is essential. May the dreamy sips of each language remind us of the words of our grandmothers and honor our ancestors to imagine a shared future capable of weaving one with the other.

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