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Gala Porras-Kim

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Gala Porras-Kim lives and works in Los Angeles.

Porras-Kim investigates institutional and linguistic frameworks that define, legitimise and preserve cultural heritage. Considering how oral traditions or archaeological remains of Mesoamerica are represented and exhibited, the artist underscores history’s methodological and ideological tools to analyse and ultimately control narratives and access to knowledge. Porras-Kim’s work questions the ethical principles of museological conservation while also inviting us to imagine stories and give new meanings to artifacts displayed inside museum display cases or assembled in its storage rooms.

In this video recorded in February 2021 for tropical papers, Gala Porras-Kim briefly introduces her latest research project about artifacts of the Cenote in Chichen Itza, Mexico. This sacred pit dedicated to the Mayan rain god Chaac was excavated in the early 20th century by Edward H. Thompson, who took some of this sanctuary’s sacrificial objects to the Peabody Museum in Harvard. The artist is currently working with lawyers in the hypothetical legal inquiry: if Chaac were a person, could he benefit from property rights or any agency on the objects originally deposited there as a sign of worship to him?

Her work has been shown at the Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, Korea (2021); São Paulo Biennale, Brazil (2021), Whitney Biennial (2019), LACMA (2017), the Seoul City Museum of Art (2017), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2017), FRAC Pays de la Loire, France (2016), the Made in LA biennial, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016). She has received awards including Art Matters (2019), Artadia (2017), Joan Mitchell Foundation (2016), Creative Capital (2015) and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation (2015). She had a solo exhibitions in 2021 at Kadist NY, Gasworks London. She was a recent David and Roberta Logie Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and is a current artist in residence at The Getty.

Olivia Ardui for tropical papers



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