Guadalupe Maravilla

Guadalupe Maravilla is a transdisciplinary visual artist, choreographer, and healer. At the age of eight, Maravilla was part of the first wave of unaccompanied, undocumented children to arrive at the United States border in the 1980s as a result of the Salvadoran Civil War. In 2016, Maravilla became a U.S. citizen and adopted the name Guadalupe Maravilla in solidarity with his undocumented father, who uses Maravilla as his last name. As an acknowledgment to his past, Maravilla grounds his practice in the historical and contemporary contexts belonging to undocumented communities and the cancer community. Maravilla describes his series of Disease Thrower sculptures as “healing machines.” Constructed from found objects and developed in part out of his treatment for cancer, the Disease Throwers often incorporate gongs that reference his experience of the healing power of sound and vibration. Maravavilla, like Spence, includes in his artistic practice community involvement and activism, combining “healing and art.”

Guadalupe Maravilla, Guadalupe Maravilla & the Sound of Healing. Art 21 "New York Close Up."
 
a sculpture by Guadalupe Maravilla
Guadalupe Maravilla, Disease Thrower #0, 2022. Gong, hammock, LCD TV, ceremonial ash, pyrite crystals, volcanic rock, steel, wood, cotton, glue mixture, plastic, loofah, and objects collected from a ritual of retracing the artist's original migration route. 118 x 123 x 64 inches. Courtesy of the artist and P·P·O·W, New York. Wearing a fierce expression, a dragon-like head is poised on a wood floor against a white wall. It has a wide open mouth and a single large eye. It is composed of many assembled objects, almost all charcoal or black, that together make a lace-like scaffold of its form. The objects include a suspended black hammock forming the top of its head, a gong at the back of its head, a conch shell, and a braid of metal wires woven through its lower jaw.
a sculpture by Guadalupe Maravilla
Guadalupe Maravilla, Disease Thrower - Purring Monster with a Mirror on Its Back, 2022. Gong, steel, wood, cotton, glue mixture, plastic, loofah, and objects collected from a ritual of retracing the artist's original migration route. 119 x 105 x 95 inches. Courtesy of the artist and P·P·O·W, New York. An airy sculptural form rests on four points, the bottoms of a series of tubes that are joined together. The “body” consists of two hexagons of this pipe or tubing, a larger one below a smaller one. In the bottom portion of the figure, multiple objects are gathered together, including dried grasses, a braided metallic rope, and other found objects. Inside the smaller hexagon, a flat circular object is suspended.

a sculpture by Guadalupe Maravilla
Guadalupe Maravilla, Disease Thrower #14, 2021. Cast aluminum, steel tubing, assorted welded details. 86 x 143 x 79 inches. Courtesy of the artist and P·P·O·W, New York. Along a metal base, steel tubing appears in several geometric forms. From the base, a hexagon of the steel tubes feeds into a large triangle of tubes above it, within which is suspended a large silver circular plate. All across the metal base, numerous biomorphic forms resemble gray outgrowths like corals or stalagmites. Scattered along the length of the metal base are bright green leaves and small green and orange gourds.

About This Site

A Picture of Health: Jo Spence, a Politics of Disability and Illness is a multi-pronged project curated by Kenny Fries and Elisabeth Frost.

In 1986 the British artist, educator, and activist Jo Spence (1934-1992) described the question fundamental to her work: “how to represent a body in crisis.” Spence’s work reveals powerful political and artistic responses to the experience of inhabiting such a body and is as timely as ever. This website places her work in the context of the lived experience of chronic illness and of contemporary Disability Arts.


The Artists

Links to artists, with an image representing each artist that is explored in further detail on the artist's page.