Headline, April 19 2022/ CULTURE : ''' '' HEALING POWER HEADING '' '''



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MAKING ART WITH HEALING POWER : And Guadalupe Maravilla knows what can happen if trauma goes untreated.

In his Brooklyn studio, the EL Salvador born artist Guadalupe Maravilla got ready to activate ''Disease Thrower 0,'' the latest in his acclaimed series of sculptures that deploy the powers of vibrational sound as a form of healing.

His guest, who is recovering from a rare cancer, took her place on an elevated woven straw platform, her stockinged feet facing a formidable metal gong. She relaxed into the artist's ritual space - part sculpture, part shrine.

It was draped with a mysterious material blackened with ash from healing ceremonies that Maravilla, who is a cancer survivor himself performed for hundreds of fellow warriors last summer in New York.

The sounds built slowly, starting with low, monklike tones before morphing into mighty guttural roars that she could feel entering her body from behind her cheekbones.

''We want to say ' thank you ' to those body parts that have struggled,'' the artist told me as I lay still on the platform. ''Thank them for healing and preserving through difficult times.''

If adversity is a teacher, Maravilla has studied with the master. At only 8 years old, he fled the violence of the civil war in EL Salvador alone and began a punishing 3,000 mile, two-and-a-half-month journey to the U.S.-Mexico border, passed from coyote to coyote before eventually crossing the border as an undocumented immigrant.

Twenty-eight years later, while a graduate student at Hunter College, Maravilla was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer.

To reduce the residual pain from radiation and other procedures, he turned to indigenous healing practices, some inherited from his Maya ancestors. Chief among them were ''sound baths'' that harness sonic vibrations from gongs, conch shells, tuning forks and other instruments to restore calm and balance and release toxins in the body.

''Disease Thrower 0'' [2022] is one of 10 works in ''Guadalupe Maravilla : Tierra Blanca Joven,'' a solo exhibition that recently opened at the Brooklyn Museum and runs through Sept.18.

The title refers to a fifth-century volcanic eruption that uprooted the Maya - a shorthand by the artist for three generations of displacement, including his own. The earliest, the cultural appropriation of artifacts, is represented by whistles, conch shells and other Maya objects he selected for display from the museum's permanent collection.

The most current example features the undocumented Central American teens who are in detention in upstate New York, captured in a video with the artist in which they collectively act out details of daily life in confinement.

The artist's pieces are also on view through Oct. 30 in ''Guadalupe Maravilla : Luz y Fuerza'' at the Museum of Modern Art - the Spanish title translates as ''hope and strength.'' Healing sound baths for visitors are offered there through June. An exhibition called ''Sound Botanica'' recently opened in Norway at the Henie Onstad Art Center.

The notion of healing and rebirth permeates Maravilla's work and the seemingly wacky array of items in his studio - a plastic mosquito, several toy snakes, a large metal fly, an anatomical model of human lungs, a bunch of dehydrated tortillas [the artist paints them], and a shelf full of bottled Florida water used for blessings, to name a few.

Objects embedded in works like ''Disease Thrower 0'' - loofah sponges and a woven hammock offering respite for ancestors, for instance - are pages in a complex narrative in which past traumas, if properly treated, can lead to spiritual and creative renewal.

Maravilla's otherworldly aesthetic, which also informs a series of Latin American devotional paintings known as retablos, is loosely inspired by Indigenous Maya culture, especially Honduran rock stelae and ruins of pyramids engulfed with vegetation that were his Salvadorean playgrounds as a child.

''It was layer after layer after layer,'' he recalled of those ancient forms. ''The whole world was there.'' 

Although frequently autobiographical, the artist's stalactite-like sculptures and other works speak to the global themes of disease, war, migration and loss.

''Migrating birds riding the back of a celestial serpent'' [2021], a large wall piece of MoMA, for instance incorporates a child's stroller wheel and Crocks into a sinuous ribbon of wings and dried maguey leaves, a reference to children crossing the border.

The Honor and Serving of Global Operational Research on Unique Artists and  Art Works, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Patricia Leigh Brown.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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