This visiting artist talk at the Johnson Museum of Art was the first in an ongoing series with the campus-wide Migrations Global Grand Challenge, part of Global Cornell, with support from the Mellon Foundation’s Just Futures Initiative. The Migrations initiative studies global migration of all living things through an interdisciplinary, multispecies lens, with a special focus on themes of racism, dispossession, and migration.
Guadalupe Maravilla is an acclaimed visual artist, choreographer, and healer based in Brooklyn. He 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 and became a US citizen in 2006.
By combining pre-colonial Central American ancestry, personal mythology, and collaborative performative acts, Maravilla’s performances, sculptural objects, and drawings trace the history of his own displacement and that of others. Across all media, Maravilla explores how the systemic abuse of immigrants physically manifests in the body, reflecting on his own battle with cancer. His transdisciplinary artistic practice generates powerful symbols of renewal and ultimately nurtures collective narratives of trauma into celebrations of perseverance and humanity.