My involvement with “Guatemala Despues” began over a semester ago, in Spring 2014, and since, with each new speaker we have been introduced to, my interests within Guatemala have broadened. Because of the high volume of performance/ installation art, I, a self proclaimed non-artist, have seen the art coming out of Guatemala as not typical of what’s around. Artists like Regina Jose Galindo, whose 2003 piece “¿Quién Puede Borrar las Huellas? “ have shown me a bold and socially aware community that is fed up with the erasure of history and demand to be acknowledged, even if it means leaving a trail of actual human blood in front of the national palace. Time and again we have been introduced to a strong aesthetic, a medium I appreciate very much so.
The aspects of Guatemalan society that have intrigued me have been race centered; understanding the race relations in a country whose horrific genocide was led with goals of wiping out indigenous groups, whose horrific genocide, that lasted 36 years, was left unknown to citizens from towns over, even for years after. The race relations of Guatemala have been presented as strict, with many rules that are understood within the country. With the majority of the country identifying as indigenous, mestizo and/or ladino, but the power laying in the hands of the minority-white (affluent) community the race relations seem poorly distributed throughout the city.
My personal project along with my partner, Novel Scholars, Black Banana, aims to represent the black community of Guatemala, a marginalized group within the country. The black identity is part of the latin american identity. The majority of slaves were transferred to Latin America, migrating throughout the Americas and Caribbean. Guatemala included. Today, there is a black community in coastal areas of central america, some countries with stronger representation than others. Guatemala’s representation of their black community is seen as a disturbance, something they have forgotten about but that is still around. Our project rose out of what we noticed as a lack of black stories from a country that we know to have multiple ethnic groups. It aims to explore this absence in Latin American art curations, particularly in Central America.
I would like to continue my exploration of race relations in Guatemala, specifically how it ties into the memory and identity of the people, through interviews captured on film. My goal is to collect footage of Guatemalans talking about the race relations within the country and how it has influenced how they see themselves.