Gasworks is pleased to present the work of Chilean artist Patricia Domínguez as part of an exciting new virtual collaboration highlighting female voices in Latin America, which brings together over 150 living female artists from the region. Domínguez had her first solo exhibition in the UK at Gasworks in 2019 and has gone on to exhibit internationally, including solo exhibitions at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary and CentroCentro in Madrid, as well as her forthcoming inclusion in the 2021 Gwangju Biennale.
Patricia Domínguez’ work explores the emancipatory potential of the artistic imagination as an antidote to the legacy of colonialism and the subsequent effects of late capitalism, in particular the resulting ecological destruction within South America.
The three photographic works on display are taken from two projects that decentre human experience as a strategy to rethink the current ecological crisis, which has had a devastating impact on the Global South and especially for indigenous communities. Through including animals, Domínguez employs visual-narrative fiction to demonstrate how the colonisation of the living environment cannot be disentangled from its effect on people.
Eres un Princeso (2013) is the result of Domínguez’ time spent researching the relationships between thoroughbred horses and their caretakers at the Santa Leticia stables in Honda, Colombia. The prized horses, belonging to Colombian narco-traffickers, are fed, washed, trained and exercised by child workers. A symbol of power and wealth brought to the Americas by Spanish invaders in the Sixteenth Century, the horse has been mythologised throughout history. Eres un Princeso upends the conquistador and his horse narrative allowing a new story to emerge. A young boy tenderly washes his horse, merging into one mythical horse-human being. In the second photo, a boy on horseback is adorned with palm leaves. Domínguez notes that these leaves can be found decorating the entrances of Colombian fincas as a mark of territorial conquest. Through subverting these hierarchies, the mythic-being of The Princeso acts as a decolonial gesture.
Following the catastrophic fires that raged through Bolivia in 2019, Domínguez visited the Refugio Biothermal Aguas Calientes, an animal rescue centre in Bolivia established by the local community to care for the affected wildlife. For Darwin y el Maléfico (2019), Domínguez further develops her use of fiction to advocate for a different present. Her mythical characters include Darwin, a 17-year old caretaker, and a rescued green parrot named ‘Maléfico’, or ‘The Evil One’. The work depicts Darwin as a sci-fi hero and his sidekick Maléfico, both emitting a green glow. ‘Green, the colour that keeps us sane,’ suggests Domínguez in her accompanying text. The clear reference to Darwin’s theory of evolution is not lost, however, through Domínguez’ photo, the pair are immortalised.
Shown together, the three works encourage the viewer to mobilise their imagination towards a process of collective healing. Fiction in Domínguez’ work digs up the colonial roots, enabling space for agency in creating new ways of co-existing.
To view the exhibition, please click here.