Tierra De Nadie, 1998

Museo del Barro, Asunción, Paraguay.

In the language of the Guaraní, one word means both to ‘eat’ and 'to ‘make love.’ Poro’u is the term that binds together the world of sacrifice, sexual pleasure, and gastronomic pleasure. Thus, cannibalism and making love could be seen as spiritual sites of reincarnation and death. Catholicism’s ‘transubstantiation’ is also at its core, an act of cannibalism. To the faithful, the communion wafer is not a symbol of Christ but its actual flesh and blood. In my piece, the woman offers her body to be devoured and consumed, potentially the provider of new life. To incorporate the spiritual dimension of transubstantiation and the Eucharistic body, I gave my body in plates to the community, multiplied it, and usurped a traditionally-assumed male role.

Historically, It is well-documented that the indigenous inhabitants of Paraguay-the Guaraní-gave their sisters and daughters away to the Spaniards to facilitate family ties and ensure ‘peaceful’ relationships. What this may have meant for those women may have been radically different … rupture, fear, rape, or perhaps an inexplicable fascination with the Other. The body in dinner plates alludes to both cannibalism and communion. The mestizaje or hybridization (the mixing of the bloods) is represented by the central panels, containing hair of different types and colors which I collected from various hair salons in Asunción. Hair, which is bodily, visceral, evocative of death, life, and fetishes, provokes fascination and repulsion while alluding to the animal, the sexual, and the Other.

Salina Art Center, Salina, KS. 

Body

Mixed media: 16 meters of bridal satin fabric, photosilkscreened photographs onto plates, wooden table, human hair.

Dimensions: variable, room size.

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Individual Artists Of Oklahoma (IAO), Oklahoma City, OK.

 
 
 

Museo del Barro, Asunción, Paraguay.

Photo credit: Luis Vera