The exhibition Miradas Alternas explores alternative approaches to the photographic representation of violence in contemporary Mexico. It features photographs, video and printed material by women lens-based artists from Mexico: Juliana Alvarado, Alejandra Aragón, Koral Carballo, Mariceu Erthal and Sonia Madrigal. Combining artistic, documentary and journalistic approaches, their work responds to the ongoing femicide crisis that has exponentially increased in recent years, along with enforced disappearances and multiple forms of criminal violence, amidst an ongoing armed conflict of unimaginable horror and yet so full of images. Rejecting the forensic gaze common to news photography and mass media, they draw on language, use poetic devices and employ performative strategies to produce photographic images differently. Focusing on the affects of loss, grief, rage, and fear, their work evokes the absence of missing and murdered women and tell stories that claim spaces for presence, visibility and justice.
Juliana Alvarado (b. Cuautla, 1990) is a visual artist interested in examining social, economic and political systems in relation to space, architecture and built environments. In 2016 she won an artistic residency at Oficina de Arte (Mexico City) and recently her work was selected for Mexico’s Photography Biennial (2018) and FotoMéxico Festival (2019).
Alejandra Aragón (b. Ciudad Juárez, 1983) is a multidisciplinary artist whose work explores the identities of border regions and how territories determine one’s experience. in 2019 she was awarded the Mexican Fine Arts Grant (FONCA) and a film production grant from the Tribeca Film Institute If/Then Program. This year she is one of the participants of the 2020 Joop Swart Masterclass.
Koral Carballo (b. Poza Rica, 1987) dissolves frontiers between photojournalism and visual arts to address issues of identity, land and violence. Her work has been published internationally and awarded by Bronx Documentary Center, Women Photograph + Getty Images, Magnum Foundation Fund, Open Society Foundations, among others. She is co-founder of Mirar Distinto, a documentary photo-festival based in Veracruz, Mexico.
Mariceu Erthal (b. Querétaro, 1989) uses documentary photography as a bridge to reflect and question humanitarian issues that traverses Latin American territories. She is a 2020 W. Eugene Smith Fund Grant Recipient and her work has been published in The Guardian, Ph Museum, Witness by World Press Photo, among others.
Using multiple visual narratives Sonia Madrigal (b. Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, 1978) explores the intersections of gendered bodies, violence and territory, particularly within the Eastern periphery of Mexico’s Greater Metropolitan Area. Her work has been published internationally and this year she has been awarded the Mexican Fine Arts Extended Grant (SNCA-FONCA).
Andrea Sánchez Ibarrola (b. Cuernavaca, 1988) is an MA candidate in Critical and Curatorial Studies at the University of British Columbia.
This exhibition is supported by the Killy Foundation and the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies through the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia.
Image: Sonia Madrigal, From the series Death rises in the East, ongoing since 2014, Inkjet print, courtesy of the artist.