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SALGAN RÍOS DE MIS OJOS (Come rivers out of my eyes) / 2018


Galería El Museo, Bogotá / setiembre 2018


Verses by the “rezanderas” (the praying women) among the souls of Timbiqui
“When a person beloved by the community dies, one feels like it is not only the family’s mourning, but everyone’s. “
Nidia Góngora - Cantora (singer)
There are many and diverse ways we can deduce, investigate and rescue some social structures that should not be seen as separate from memory, and should not become untethered from historical processes. In most cases memory, and that which we define as cultural heritage, needs to be seen in conjunction with the idea of history as a process. Therefore as we revisit certain traditions we reassign meaning and the functions of the present to insert new happenings, situations and facts to that phenomenon we call cultural heritage. Is it memory which leads us to significantly construct our heritage?
The concept we have of heritage, its symbols and its convoluted patterns, in a constant state of construction, has been expanding in these past years into certain ideas that seek to redefine it. What can be shaped into heritage includes not only the inheritance of each people or village, not only specific cosmic visions, but also the cultural accumulations that are recognized in a non specific space and time. In this way, we are capable of evoking heritage as a social construct and we understand it as the scope of cultural negotiations that, coming from a collective disparity, strengthen the embroidery of our identities.
For all these reasons as we start an investigation project in the middle of the jungle, and as we wander and grapple with all these questions about the oral traditions of a community, we certainly come face to face with other meanings that the concept of heritage throws our way. As we face this cornucopia of queries, plus the multiplicity of elements that we observe in the Timbiquí, Cauca, region of Colombia, we could be capable of assigning a new meaning to the idea of starting a laboratory as a constitutive space that has as its principal object to unlock the intangible about the intrinsic value of a territory. As Garcia Canclini emphasizes “at this moment not only the material aspects of a locality are identified but also the inmaterial ones” Having said that, we must also acknowledge that the specific dynamics of one locality and the ethnic conflicts that exist can lead us to question the role of an investigation that, in this case, needs to establish a symbiotic relationship with contemporary art.
Facing off to this preliminary rethorics, the ethnographic introspection of the visual artist Adriana Ciudad and her connection, specifically with the “alabaos of Timbiquí” (which could be roughly translated as the devotions or ovations of Timbiquí), expands these meticulous sensitivities that we evoke stretching from the basis of anthropology and from paradigms of heritage, and also, it must be said, within a social context affected more and more by its many layers of hopelessness.
The “alabaos” are call and response songs with lyrics that evoke pain and grief but also encompass hope. In this sense, the society of Timbiquí coexists with death from within a cosmovision that has already been diagnosed by the unknown. It is worth mentioning that which the european conquerors had designated as evil - the rituals organised by slaves taken from Africa - is today the vibration that connects a whole community’s reality and imaginarium with its deceased.
Every interpretation, visual and auditory translation, set up by this artist is a constant pilgrimage among the diverse esthetical playfulness that has cemented her own artistic work. Even so, these offerings are not only connected to imagery. A better way to describe them would be as an infinity of epiphanies that overflow temporalities when faced with the limits that nature knits around us.
In these landscapes music is a fundamental platform for knowledge and it is here where the work of the “cantora” (singer) Nidia Gongara makes an appearance, as she presents to Adriana Ciudad the sounds and songs of Timbiquí that can be assembled with the innumerable voyages that together with other chronicles constitute the conservation of these rituals. Furthermore, another key part of this multidisciplinary group is C S Prince, who comes into this melange from the perspective of audiovisual ethnographics and who portrays events as they unfold in this singular analisis from a collaboration standpoint.
Adriana brings to life the essence, the nooks and crannies of Timbiquí, using a series of mediums, such as photography, installation, video, and painting, that have been emerging organically through the process of her collaboration and that mesh together to transport us to an immersive space of sounds, the body , and internalized heritage. At the same time we feel like this created space is homologated with other previously constructed spaces. This arena also invites us to deepen our knowledge and empathy with this indeterminate marginalisation that is the conceptual basis of the “alabaos”, and it confirms the feeling that the embroideries of sound and feeling generated by these “rezanderas” ( praying women) are not easily encompassed within a single theoretic or epistemological framework. Everything we see and hear here is derived from a hybridisation of community practices together with the diverse memories imposed by the social environment.
So it becomes indispensable, on the one hand, to remember that these “alabaos” give us a “before” and an “after” image of the communities, and , on the other hand, that they guide us to perceive the diverse complexities and problems that knit together this sung poetry, so burdened with an interesting collective wavelength and with the social and historical filiation of a people. Through these created spaces the “cantoras” and their “alabaos” have restructured the use of time and of the space that contains the ritual as distinctive elements of a cultural otherness circumscribed by grief and prayer. Or, as they themselves describe it: between “rezanderos” (person who prays out loud at catholic events) and “ánimas” (souls or ghosts). From across the street, this expository project by Adriana Ciudad has created and labelled an interesting, suggestive mode of fieldwork that combines several factors to frame what is still seen as a “work of art”. This also provokes a dialogue from a different starting point, in a different framework and breaking away from the underground image these rituals normally evoke among locals.
At first sight, this project generates a shift and a replacement within the aspects we normally consider a part of the colombian jungle, the aspects we as outsiders like to browse through and convert into arbitrary concepts. It is worth citing here what the curator Claudia Segura wrote on the subject: Starting from the interdisciplinary and artistic look at a grieving, reconciliation and reparation process that takes place post conflict , this initiative resolves into a work that starts as symbolic but operates in the physical realm, and shows us how art can be a device for social transformation and political discourse. *1 Without a doubt, the “alabaos” permit us to create a necessary space for community reflecting but also act as a narcotic to numb our pricking conscience in a violent present and an increasingly uncertain future. Within this humid jungle, the language of the “cánticos” (songs) is translatable among themselves and awaken other sensory emotions inside us who are not a part of these jungle expanses.
To summarize, these communities attempt to maintain a relationship with death, an interconnection that catapults other symbolic dimensions and dimensions of identity. Therefore it is imperative that we remember that these “alabaos” offer us a relentless before and after of community, and that these same captured moments convey us to the different quandaries that construct the chronicles of a community. In this way, these songs, loaded with an interesting frequency, are without a doubt the social and historical filiation of the ancestral people of Timbiquí.
Rodolfo Andaur, september 2018
translated by Sofía Rodriguez


Galería El Museo, Bogotá / september 2018


Wall installation: Poema of the experience of a ritual in Timbiquí, by Adriana Ciudad


A Tomb Lift in Timbiquí
A ritual for Renate: The last night to say goodbye to my mother.
13 Singers (11 women and 2 men)
A white altar. Flowers. The picture of my mom in the center.
It was magical. Shocking. Everything vibrated. The songs opened a portal.
The altar was the door.
The songs invoked. The space became timeless.
The women became spiritual guardians,
full of temper, empathy and love.
Powerful women accompanied by two male and sensitive guardians.
Tremendous women, tremendous songs.
And suddenly, the butterfly appeared.
The Singers later told me that before I knew it,
I already had the butterfly turning my crown:
"It fluttered around you, until it landed on the altar."
The black cloth butterfly contrasted with the white butterfly.
The ritual of songs and prayers increased its strength with the butterfly there.
It is at that moment that the rivers begin to come out of my eyes.
Nidia hands me a candle and they all stop. We form a path of two rows towards the altar.
The space is filled with light from sustained candles.
The songs increase their vibration and the butterfly emerges from the altar.
The Singers become powerful keys, they become my protectors and my support.
I go into a trance.
I feel the first hug that my mother gave me at birth; I see his smile,
I feel his enthusiasm for the life that always captivated me,
I hear her speak always so eloquent and spicy,
I see her take giant shells out of the sea, I see her dancing without music,
I also see his vulnerability, which he could not overcome,
but I always feel her as loving, dignified and noble,
until when his end of illness came.
Fly and fly butterfly around me,
until it disappears along the path of women and light.
"Your mom just got off the earth.
It is already beyond and in peace"
whispers Nidia to me.
Oliva approaches me smiling and proud she says:
"I helped you cry, ok?"

Adriana Ciudad, 2018


Galería El Museo, Bogotá / september 2018


Galería El Museo, Bogotá / september 2018


Sound sculpture: Aquí nadie nace solom ni muere solo (Here, nobody is born alone, nor dies alone / 2018 / oil on triplex, perforated aluminum sheet, aluminum profiles, iron corners, loading wheels and internal sound equipment / 180 x 150 x 100 cm
Sound piece: Nosotras sentimos (We, women, feel) / 2018 / 35:13 minutes in loop
Content:
1. Sounds of the jungle at night in Timbiquí
2. Poem “Se va la matrona” (The matron goes away) by Teresa de Jesús Venté Ferrín
3. Alabao: At the edge of the stream - sings Lucy Canchimbo
4. River and jungle sounds
5. Alabao: "Sábado de mañana" (Saturday morning) - sings Lucy Canchimbo
6. Fragment of NASA Symphonies of the Planets - Voyager Recordings
7. Alabao: "Ya me estoy muriendo" (I'm already dying) - sings Emeterio Balanta
8. Fragment of NASA Symphonies of the Planets - Voyager Recordings
9. Alabao: "Plegaria" (Prayer) - sings Nidia Góngora
10. Rain sounds
11. Poem "Negra soy" (I am black) by Teresa de Jesús Venté Ferrín
12. Sounds of river, rain and birds
13. Chigualo: "Velo qué bonito" (Watch how nice it is) - sings Lucy Canchimbo


Galería El Museo, Bogotá / september 2018


Galería El Museo, Bogotá / september 2018


Galería El Museo, Bogotá / september 2018


Galería El Museo, Bogotá / september 2018


Galería El Museo, Bogotá / september 2018


Galería El Museo, Bogotá / september 2018


Galería El Museo, Bogotá / september 2018


Galería El Museo, Bogotá / september 2018

ALLÁ NOS VEREMOS, SIN SOMBRA Y SIN FAZ (We will meet there, without shadow and without face) / 2018


What comes here is the result of many conversations and trips, of trying to get closer, to get to know each other; to delve into what unites a community through ancestral practices to dismiss their dead. The personal duels linked those who met to develop this project, and from the common pain they proposed to work together to pay homage to a very powerful way of understanding death.
Many dialogues reflect the interest of the artist to enter that world of the songs of Timbiquí. The singer, the teacher and the poet tell a thousand and one details of the background of a centuries-old ritual. Together they invite a group of singers and singers to record an album, and among all they imagine ways and strategies that allow them to do it in a studio, a space so alien to where it actually happens. They also collect the lyrics of the songs, and edit them in a book that gives an account of the depth of the understanding of death, and therefore of life, that they carry and transmit the praises.
The community allows the filmmaker to be part of the ritual and register it. In the videos they make us witness how everything, the community and the environment, are a world that vibrates in music. They are layers and layers of reality that overlap; past, present and future that coexist in the song, and that the artist seeks to express in their pieces.
Thus configuring a whole that seeks to transmit something of the power of the spiritual that the teachers of Timbiquí teach us, of that register where the edges are not clear and are so real or more those presences that guide and accompany us.

Alejandro Martín Maldonado / Chief curator at the MUSEUM LA TERTULIA, Cali, Colombia / Agosto 2018



Sala de Subterránea MUSEUM LA TERTULIA / august and september 2018


Hágase el pecho pedazos y rómpase el corazón (The breast splits in pieces and the heart breaks) / 2018 / duration: 13:09 min / 3 channels / concept and direction: Adriana Ciudad and C.S. Prince / Musical direction and production: Nidia Góngora / This piece seeks to reflect on the mystery of death and mourning, through the repairing power of the funeral rituals of the Afro-Colombian singers of Timbiqui, Cauca, who perform the Alabaos.


Videostill (Timbiquí river)


Videostill (A Burial in Timbiquí)


Videostill (Spirit)


Videostill (Tomb flowers)


Sala de Subterránea MUSEUM LA TERTULIA / august and september 2018


Sala de Subterránea MUSEUM LA TERTULIA / august and september 2018


Sala de Subterránea MUSEUM LA TERTULIA / august and september 2018


Sala de Subterránea MUSEUM LA TERTULIA / august and september 2018


Detail / Sala de Subterránea MUSEUM LA TERTULIA / august and september 2018


Detail / Sala de Subterránea MUSEUM LA TERTULIA / august and september 2018


Detail / Sala de Subterránea MUSEUM LA TERTULIA / august and september 2018


Detail / Sala de Subterránea MUSEUM LA TERTULIA / august and september 2018


Detail / Sala de Subterránea MUSEUM LA TERTULIA / august and september 2018


Give license to this soul, that this soul wants to enter / 2018 / óleo sobre lienzo / 150 x 200 cm


Where the soul enjoys in eternity / 2018 / óleo sobre lienzo / 120 x 160 cm


There is a flash of light in the sky that illuminates where I'm going (Hay en el cielo un destello resplandeciente que me ilumina por donde voy)/ 2018 / óleo sobre lienzo / 100 x 130 cm


Being infallible to die, where will my soul end up? (Siendo infalible morir ¿dónde irá mi alma a parar? / 2018 / óleo sobre lienzo / 150 x 200 cm


I do not want to die away from you, my Timbiquí del alma (No quiero morir lejos de tí, mi Timbiquí del alma) / 2018 / óleo sobre lienzo / 35 x 45 cm


Things of souls (Cosa de ánimas) / 2018 / óleo sobre lienzo / 140 x 100 cm


Stand up beautiful girl, get up to hear sing (Levántate niña bella, levántate a oír cantar) / 2018 / óleo sobre lienzo / 50 x 40 cm


Sala de Subterránea del MUSEO LA TERTULIA / agosto y setiembre 2018


Sala de Subterránea del MUSEO LA TERTULIA / agosto y setiembre 2018


Sala de Subterránea del MUSEO LA TERTULIA / agosto y setiembre 2018


Sala de Subterránea del MUSEO LA TERTULIA / agosto y setiembre 2018

Acción UN DUELO COLECTIVO como inauguración de la exposición


The exhibition at the Museum La Tertulia was inaugurated with a participatory action where we invited the public to be part of a traditional funeral ceremony of Alabaos, led by the Timbiquí Singers. This ancestral ritual aims to guide the soul of the deceased to the beyond and also relieve the grieving of their loss. The people came with their dead. Me, along with some volunteers from the Escuela Canalón Foundation, went around the room writing the names of the dead that the public asked to invoke at the ceremony. The "tomb" (timbiquireño altar) with photos and names of all the dead was completed. The room was full of people, both living and dead. It seemed that the heat of Timbiquí moved to the La Tertulia Museum. And so the action began. First, the poet Teresa Jesús de Venté opened the ceremony reciting one of her poems: "The matron goes away". The poem tuned everyone. The atmosphere became propitious to begin with the songs. Teacher Lucy Cachimbo read the names of the dead hanging among flowers and photos on the altar. The public added more names out loud. And the songs opened the portal. The room filled with vibration. It was prayed, it was sung, it was invoked. In the end, some had already left the room, but they were at the side, taking the cocktail Viche prepared by Nidia Góngora. Precisely that is the dynamic in a funeral ritual in Timbiquí, between prayer and celebration. Everyone accompanies the farewell, each in his own way. To close the ceremony, the poet recited a last poem and with some songs the grave was undressed, opening the way for souls to cross the threshold. I felt a great complicity with many of those present who brought their dead. We democratized death and taking it out of its taboo, we were able to share the loss together. The singers gave us the courage to do so. Thank you Timbiquí and Cali. Adriana Ciudad / august 2018



Parece que aún la oigo / 2017-18


The proposal "It seems I can still hear her" it is part of the Alabaos Project that I began to investigate in the Artist-In-Residency at LUGAR A DUDAS in Cali, Colombia and seeks to deepen about the grieving processes used by Afro-Colombian singers of the Colombian Pacific who interpret the Alabaos. These funeral chants led by women point to the healing of their communities.
I am interested in deepening the theme that is behind this practice that I feel as a powerful act of feminine resistance and resilience: What is "the beyond" for the Afro-Colombian community of the Pacific? Where do they think the dead go? Do the songs help you to repair the loss? What does it mean to sing in community? Is there a trance component in the Alabaos that takes participants to another state of being?
In addition to this, from my point of view as a foreign resident 4 years ago in Colombia, with a background of Peruvian violence (The Shining Path Terrorist Group and the dictatorship of Fujimori) as well as a German background (post-war in Germany) I feel that Colombia, although it has already undertaken the process of peace, continues mourning.
The proposal "It seems I can still hear her" it is composed from these questions and reflections, seeking to process in a poetic way the mystery of death, reparation and mourning. The installation consists of a wall intervention with acrylic spots and ink drawing. Superimposed are 8 to 10 oil paintings of small format (30 x 40cm and 40 x 50 cm) that as a constellation dialogue between them and with the wall intervened. An audio set contains a sound piece that is part of the experience of the proposal. The piece contains sounds of the Alabaos mixed with sounds of the universe.


Proyectspace at PINTA the Latinamerican Artfair in Miami / 2017 / óleo sobre lienzo, tinta sobre pared y pieza sonora con arreglo floral / 354 x 157 inches


please click here to listen to the soundpiece


Parece que aún la oigo #1 / 2017 / oil on canvas / 15.7 x 19.6"


Parece que aún la oigo #2 / 2017 / oil on canvas / 15.7 x 19.6"


Parece que aún la oigo #3 / 2017 / oil on canvas / 15.7 x 19.6"


Parece que aún la oigo #4 / 2017 / oil on canvas / 15.7 x 19.6"


Parece que aún la oigo #5 / 2017 / óleo sobre lienzo / 13.7 x 19.6"


Parece que aún la oigo #6 / 2017 / óleo sobre lienzo / 13.7 x 17.7"


Parece que aún la oigo #7 / 2017 / óleo sobre lienzo / 13.7 x 17.7"


Parece que aún la oigo #8 / 2017 / óleo sobre lienzo / 15.7 x 11.8"


Parece que aún la oigo #9 / 2017 / óleo sobre lienzo / 11.8 x 15.7"


Parece que aún la oigo #10 / 2017 / óleo sobre lienzo / 11.8 x 15.7"


Parece que aún la oigo #11 / 2017 / óleo sobre lienzo / 11.8 x 15.7"


Proyectspace at PINTA the Latinamerican Artfair in Miami / 2017 / óleo sobre lienzo, tinta sobre pared y pieza sonora con arreglo floral / 354 x 157 inches