Régina José Galindo & Abelino Chub CaalRíos de gente, performance view, festival Libertad para el Agua, Guatemala, 2021. Produce by Maíz de Vida.
Photo: Juan Esteban Calderón, courtesy of the artist

From Water

Ileana L. Selejan
There is not yet one person, one animal, bird, fish, crab, tree, rock, hollow, canyon, meadow, or forest. All alone the sky exists. The face of the earth has not yet appeared. Alone lies the expanse of the sea, along with the womb of all the sky. 
— Popol Vuh6 6 - Allen J. Christenson, trans., Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Maya People (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007).

A view of Lake Atitlán flanked by volcanoes. In the foreground, submerged tree trunks, bleached by the sun, jut out of the water. The artist enters the frame, carrying bright-yellow textiles stacked upon his shoulders. He begins carefully interweaving the fabric among the tree trunks, turning them into a type of support. For the next five minutes or so, we watch a series of repetitive actions and movements as layers of red, white, and black fabric are added, or woven, into the scenery, as the title of the work, Tejiendo el paisaje (Weaving the Landscape) (2020), indicates. The gestures evoke those of weavers laying out their threads, outlining their patterns, as they prepare to work. The sculptural presence of the piece, the materiality of the textiles and wood, is further emphasized — monumentalized, even — by the vastness of the surrounding landscape. Indeed, it is not just these immediately intervened-upon elements that constitute the installation. Water — through its reflective, fluid surface — amplifies it.

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This article also appears in the issue 109 - Water

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