Rafiki Sánchez

(México, 1988)


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The artist Rafiki Sánchez, from the Yucatán region of Mexico, worked collaboratively with nine neighbors from Santa María la Ribera for almost a year. The group formed following a series of public sessions about thanatology that took place at Casa Gallina. This program was designed and coordinated by the artist along with professionals in the field. Throughout this co-participation process, Sánchez and his group devised a project related to the absence of the body and how to hide it in an imagined refuge.

The result was an installation that consists of a mantle that refers to a relic or liturgical object with epitaphs embroidered by the neighbors, as well as ash and a photographic panorama that record the burning of the structure-refuge. The ash, part of the final work, is the result of the pyre of a conical reed structure that symbolizes the place where the body will rest vertically. Before the fire, with the mantle still inside, the group of co-participants approach the structure-refuge in the manner of a farewell to the mourning that each one carries inside them, hiding-veiling their own body as if it were that other that they would no longer see.

—Violeta Celis

Curators: Osvaldo Sánchez and Violeta Celis
Final Project: Installation with embroidered mantel, the ash of a refuge-structure, and a panorama of photos that record the burning of that structure.