My art is rooted in the land that shaped me, and the stories it continuously tells.
I claim the body as a space for narratives that defy categorization, that grow in the peripheries. I seek the animistic territories stored in the underground layers of the skin, while also building a social practice that centers storytelling and story keeping.
I see the body as a vessel for the most primal creative force, and I know the necessity to dream inter-species and co-create with the earth.
I am interested in the performative maps that the body stores, specifically in connection to ancestral technologies, ecology, sound and resilience, which I explore through a variety of mediums such as photography, performance, ceramics and sound objects.
When I contemplate on the earth, I travel to the past and future simultaneously, and this act of contemplation, ignites my spirit.
Grounded in Indigenous ontologies, Latinx anthropology and nepantla; I seek to understand the sonic and oral traditions that have populated the Americas for millennia as a way to repair, reclaim and reimagine temporalities of healing and to tell stories across time and space. I gaze at the night sky the way my ancestors did, to inquire about how to make sense of the world and ultimately connect with them and their stubborn capacity to survive within us.
I re-construct pre-Columbian instruments that have been locked away in museums, reclaiming their sounds and sovereignty. Through this act, my body becomes a vessel for the most primal creative force. I perform so that we may reaffirm our connection to the earth.
To adorn these instruments and to turn them into ceremonial objects, I use achiote, mango leaves, shells, tobacco string, and iridescent pigment that reminds me of the skies in the coast of Ecuador, the ancestral homelands of my ancestors who played these instruments. My work is the past and future conjugated in the present. By reclaiming we remember, by remembering we heal.
I imagine how sounds and rituals can restore a subjective-geographic relation to living systems and engage with intersectional technologies that can dismantle imperialism and ecological degradation in order to tend to the earth and heal mutually.
We must remember everything, especially those things we never knew.
Koyoltzintli, is an interdisciplinary artist, healer, and educator living in the USA. She grew up on the
pacific coast and the Andean mountains in Ecuador, these are geographies that permeate her work.
She focuses on sound, ancestral technologies, ritual, and storytelling through collaborative processes
and personal narratives. Intersectional theories and earth-based healing inform her practice.
Nominated for Prix Pictet in 2019, her work has been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in
Washington, DC, the United Nations, Aperture Foundation in NYC, and Paris Photo, among
others. She has been an artist in residence in the US, France, and Italy and has taught at CalArts,
SVA, ICP, and CUNY. She has received multiple awards and fellowships including the Photographic
Fellowship at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, the NYFA Fellowship, and the IA grant by the
Queens Council of the Arts. Her first monograph Other Stories was published in 2017 by
Autograph ABP, and her work was featured in the Native issue of Aperture Magazine (no. 240). In
2021, her work was included in the book Latinx Photography in the United States by Elizabeth
Ferrer chief curator at BRIC. In 2022 she is one of the artists in residence at Socrates Sculpture Park
and she has been awarded the Latinx Artist Fellowship by US Latinx Art Forum (USLAF).
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Drop a line, share your thoughts.
When [in the world] one sees nothing else,
hears nothing else, recognizes nothing else:
that is [participation] in the infinite.
But when one sees, hears and recognizes only otherness:
that is smallness. the infinite is immortal, that which is small is mortal.
But Sir, that infinite, upon what is it established?
Upon its own greatness -- or rather, not upon greatness.
for by greatness people understand cows and horses, elephants, gold, slaves, wives, estates.
that is not what I mean; not that. For in that context everything is established on something else.
This infinite of which I speak is below. It is above. It is to the east, to the west, to the south and to the north.
It is in fact, this whole world.
And accordingly, with respect to the notion of ego:
I also am below, above, to the east, to the west, to the south and to the north. I, also am this whole world.