Category Archives: Investigations

THE MURALS IN GUATEMALA AS A MEMORY AND RESISTENCE INITIATIVE

Memory initiatives have served several purposes: to recover the memory of what happened and make public denunciations, dignity and honor the memory of the victims, promote community organization and social reconstruction, inform and educate new generations, and to demand redress and justice.

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Daniel Hernández-Salazar: Photography as Intervention

This topic came two weeks ago, after a good discussion with Nitin and Julian and my curiosity on the use of images on handling the issue of enforced disappearance from the point of view of a Guatemalan artist. After research, I realized that enforced disappearance is one of many techniques used by the military dictatorship to kill their own citizens. The main thing still remains: people were died so horribly and no justice has been done ever since. What the government did (and still does) is institutionalizing forgetfulness. So, the thing that has to be done is how to keep the historical memory alive, and not forgotten. Daniel Salazar’s work has been instrumental in keeping the memory alive. Through his Angels, he has a specific way to employ what he called a ‘guerilla art,’ an artistic and political approach and a visual intervention in public places in Guatemala that took the Guatemalan residents by surprise, that asked them to always remember and that proves to us all how art can be powerful in making a political statement.

My presentation: Photographic Art as Visual Intervention in Public Places.

Update on My Research

For quite a while I chose the topic of enforced disappearance with focus on the psychosocial aspect of Guatemala. Within this focus, I already contacted my source, a Guatemalan activist who also happens to be a director of de La Liga Guatemalteca de Higiene Mental. Since it hasn’t come into a fruitful result yet, I moved on to a new topic starting last week, thanks to a good discussion with Nitin and Julian. My new topic is now: Visual Intervention with focus on the work of Daniel Hernández-Salazar’s Angels in public places. The plan is interviewing him while also investigating and learning about his particular techniques in intervening public places. I actually also had a plan to interview and investigate the technique that HIJOS employed in their project, Empapaladas. However, my lack of knowledge in Spanish language becomes my disadvantage since many literatures about this is in Spanish so my focus now is in Daniel’s work.

Looking for Blackness | Update

I’ve connected with Mai Elka Prado Gil who is the co-founder of The Afro Latino Project. It’s an organization that has as mission to serve as a digital resource center and archive for the historical and material documentation and preservation of the cultures, histories and experiences of Afrodescendant people in the Americas and the Caribbean. We are planning to get together to talk further about the ways she and her partner, Amilcar Maceo Priestley can help in developing the project, Looking For Blackness. My hope is that it will be a seamless addition to the overall Guatemala project. Mai Elka mentioned that they are connected to the Garifuna and have collaborated on other projects. Right now I’m looking at developing an installation of video, photography and live performance. Included will be a panel discussion on race, art and curation in Guatemala/Latin America. Taking a cue from Julian, who suggested connecting with AfroLatinos here in New York, we can draw out the connections between the American experience and that of Latin America, with regards to questions of racism, curation of art and general access or cultural inclusion. I also have a connect in Belize that I am exploring.

Article for Thursday Workshop – Relationship Between US and Guatemala & Update on Project Investigation

1. Link For Thursday Workshop:

Below is the link of an article that describes the reality of Guatemala, and the US foreign policy in Guatemala. It describes briefly and chronologically the early history of Guatemala, its connection with the U.S including the CIA and the exploitative neocolonialism through banana monopolization (which reminds me of the art that I saw in our Guggenheim field trip and Jessica Kaire’s Such is Life in the Tropics).

A “killing field” in the Americas: US Policy in Guatemala.

2. Update on Project Investigation:

The topic that I’d like to focus is still about enforced disappearance that I have previously posted on our blog. The person who I’d like to interview still hasn’t replied to me yet and just tonight I found out why: because he cannot speak English. I’m concerned about this since I can’t speak Spanish and I think that he is really good to be interviewed and then we can relate him to HIJOS’ proposal. His work is mentioned in the conference of Advocacy for Legislation Against Enforced Disappearances here (read the part where he works as the director, The Liga Guatemalteca de Higiene Mental).

Below are some articles and reports about human rights violations (enforced disappearance included) in Guatemala and other Latin America’s countries:

Guatemala, Silent Holocaust

Enforced Disappearances in the Americas are a crime of the present

Human Rights Advocacy and the History of International Human Rights Standard

Justice and Impunity: Guatemala’s Historical Clarification Commission 10 Years On

Guatemala Memory of Silence

Until We Find Them: The Disappeared in Guatemala