Claudia Martínez Garay: Caminos de Liberación

Installation Views
Press release


Opening: Friday October 1, 17:00 - 20:00 | Free entry

GRIMM is proud to announce an exhibition of new works by Claudia Martínez Garay (b. 1983, Ayacucho, PE) at GRIMM Van Baerlestraat in Amsterdam. 

 "(...) del control de las almas al control de los cuerpos (...), al control de los bolsilllos (...)" 

"(...) from the control of souls to control the bodies (...) to control the pockets (...)" Walter Mignolo 

Martínez Garay’s new works create a dialogue encompassing ideas of oppression and indoctrination in modern day Peru. In the artist’s second solo show in Amsterdam, she addresses the contemporary effects of neocolonial infrastructures; from genocidal acts perpetrated by the teachings of the Catholic Church, the violence of the communist party and terrorist organization Shining Path, and detrimental Peruvian government policies towards native populations. 

Since the Spanish invasion, Catholic ideologies have driven the eradication of native cultural and religious practices. During the civil war, the development and imposition of racial categories led to enforced community displacement, ethnic cleansing, and involuntary sterilization. 

Martínez Garay’s work animates this history - in marked contrast to the museum displays where one typically encounters remains of the past - the intimate scale of the ceramics gives a viewer a sense that they are looking into a living diorama where multiple dimensions exist simultaneously. Much like the cultural history she references, the artist’s narration contains fragmented motifs and imagery and is infused with an evaluation of her own identity. Clay has long been an important material for Martínez Garay’s practice which is also emulated through the earth tones she uses in her paintings. During the past years, Martínez Garay has found herself revisiting family albums, where Andean traditions survived inside Catholic celebrations, in a place hunted by violence. Their inclusion in the paintings presented in the show link historical and personal moments, portraying how brown bodies and minds have become a battleground that ideologies and beliefs are forced upon.

The exhibition is titled after Grupo Chaski's short film Caminos de Liberación (Pathways of Liberation). In the film, Peruvian priest and philosopher Gustavo Gutiérrez, openly critiques the Catholic Church's indifference and contempt towards socially discriminated members of society. Gutiérrez denounces the power structures that perpetuated these abuses in Theology of Liberation, a publication that he co-founded. The publication brings to light the persecution and deaths caused by Shining Path and the military. Both of whom enabled the persecution and killing of members of religious organizations who helped orphans, families, and political prisoners, due to their socialist or even neutral tendencies and practices.