Biography

Adriana Ciudad Witzel is a Peruvian-German artist based in Bogota since 2014. Prior to returning to Latin America she lived in Berlin where she studied at the UdK - University of the Arts and graduated with an MA in Fine Arts at 2008. Her most recent work has been exhibited in BIENALSUR (Buenos Aires), Crisis Gallery (Lima), Museum La Tertulia (Cali), La Casa del Lago (Mexico City), Y Gallery (New York), SACObienal (Antofagasta), Galería El Museo (Bogotá) and in NC-arte (Bogotá). 

Among the awards received are the Grant UNDP (United Nations Development Programe) obtained to produce the Alabaos Project, the renowned scholarship from the DAAD Program (German Academic ExchangeService) obtained to carry out a project in Los Angeles and the Painter Price of the Dorothea Konwiarz Foundation in Berlin. She’s held residencies at Lugar a Dudas (Cali) and SACObienal (Antofagasta), amongst others. 


Artist Statement

By delving into my own emotional and psychological life, I invite viewers to meditate on themes such as grief, maternity, and the female condition. I use painting, drawing, sound and installation to explore these issues via poetic and affective languages.

In 2018 when my mother died, my world came to a standstill. I could no longer feel the ground beneath my feet; I only felt vertigo and pain. “May your chest burst into pieces and break your heart. My soul shatters and I lose my head.” These are the lyrics of the Afro-Colombian death song — Alabao — that I coincidentally came across on the Internet while mourning. This verse spoke to what I was feeling and became the point of departure for Proyecto Alabaos, a multimedia project made in collaboration with the Cantoras of Timbiquí, Colombia. I understood that the only way to approach this project was to allow myself to be vulnerable and immerse myself in the distant and mystical world of Timbiquí. Though from disparate worlds, the Cantoras andI managed to connect through the intimacy of loss. Death, after all, I realized is universal. During the realization of this project, I learned from the Cantoras that it is necessary to lose one’s ground  from time to time and to embrace the fragility of life. This project allowed me to heal. The show opened at La Tertulia Museum in Cali where the Cantoras and myself offered a Levantamiento de Tumba to mourn the public’s dead. More than three hundred people attended and honored their dead in tears and song.

A year later, I gave birth to my son and experienced the other end of the spectrum of existence. I went from grappling with the mystery of death to the miracle of giving life. After twelve hour of pain staking labor and months of sleepless nights I learned that bearing life tests the very limits of the female condition. My body was left shattered and in pain. My mind was overcome with a tidal wave of conflicting emotions.Suddenly I was a shell of my former self, caring for a helpless and beautiful being who needed to be lulled hours on end. But, I too needed to be lulled. Heridas y remedios, is a series of drawings I made just 8 months after giving birth that reflects on the wild transformation that every mother lives in silence. The series, in essence, explores the female exile in which women, out of desperation and loneliness, turn to their grandmothers’ potions and remedies to heal their physical and psychological wounds.  

Now, I have been a mother for two years. I´ve broken out of the shell of my former self and I am slowly learning to take flight as a mother. I´ve stubbornly accepted that my body will never be the same and that I now wear my child’s heart on my sleeve everywhere I go. Only the memory of my former self remains.  Motherhood has opened my eyes to both the power and powerlessness of the female condition.  Sentirla propia sombra is a work-progress series of oil and water paintings were I explore the exasperating yet life-affirming metamorphosis that a woman undergoes in motherhood. The title of the series comes from the Guaraní people of the Amazons where wisdom is to feel one’s own shadow.“Darkness embraces everything”, says the Guaraní leader Carlos Papá Mirim.“Mother darkness is where we come from at birth and where we go to die. Inside the mother’s womb we have our first existence in darkness”.  This series seeks to bring to light the shadow of the condition motherhood in a world that tends take it for granted.



Representation

Adriana Ciudad is currently represented by Crisis Gallery in Lima, Peru.


Biografía

Adriana Ciudad Witzel es una artista peruana-alemana radicada en Bogotá desde 2014. Antes de regresar a América Latina vivió en Berlín donde estudió en la UdK - Universidad de las Artes graduándose con Maestría en Bellas Artes el 2008. Su más reciente obra ha sido expuesta en BIENALSUR (Buenos Aires), Crisis Gallery (Lima), Museo La Tertulia (Cali), La Casa del Lago (Ciudad de México), Y Gallery (Nueva York), SACObienal (Antofagasta), Galería El Museo (Bogotá) y en NC-arte (Bogotá).

Entre los premios recibidos se encuentran la Beca PNUD (Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo) obtenida para producir el Proyecto Alabaos, la reconocida beca del Programa DAAD (Servicio de Intercambio Académico Alemán) obtenida para llevar a cabo un proyecto en Los Ángeles y el Premio Pintor de la Dorothea Konwiarz Fundación en Berlín. Ha realizado residencias en Lugar a Dudas (Cali), SACObienal (Antofagasta), entre otros.

Práctica Artística

Al profundizar en mi vida personal, exploroen mi práctica artística temas como el duelo, la maternidad y la condiciónfemenina. Utilizo la pintura, el dibujo, la instalación y las prácticasancestrales para pasar de lo íntimo a lo colectivo a través de lenguajespoéticos y afectivos.

En 2018, cuando murió mi madre, mi mundo sedetuvo. "Hágase el pecho pedazos y rómpase el corazón. Se me parte el almay pierdo la cabeza." Esta canción fúnebre afrocolombiana habló de lo queestaba sintiendo y se convirtió en el punto de partida del Proyecto Alabaos, un proyecto interdisciplinar (pintura, video-arte, acción) realizado en colaboracióncon las Cantoras de Timbiquí, Colombia en el que exploro el poder curativo delduelo colectivo y el misterio de la muerte desde una perspectiva no occidental.

Un año después, di a luz a mi hijo yexperimenté el otro extremo del espectro de la existencia. De repente, era soloel caparazón de mi antiguo yo, cuidando de un ser indefenso y hermoso quenecesitaba ser arrullado durante horas y horas. Pero yo también necesitaba serarrullada. Heridas y Remedios, es una serie de acuarelas que explora el exilio femenino en el que las mujeres recurren a remedios caseros paracurar las heridas físicas y psicológicas.

Ahora, dos años después de la maternidad, heescapado del caparazón de mi antiguo yo y estoy aprendiendo lentamente a tomarvuelo como madre. He aceptado a regañadientes que mi cuerpo nunca volverá a serel mismo y que ahora llevo el corazón de mi hijo en la manga dondequiera quevaya. Sentir la propia sombra es unaserie de pinturas, aún en curso, en donde exploro la metamorfosis devastadora ymaravillosa que experimenta una mujer en la maternidad. El título de la serieproviene del pueblo guaraní de las Amazonas donde la sabiduría significa sentirla propia sombra.

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