Edgar Calel: Ru Raxal qa Rayb’äl (The Green of Our Desire)

Edgar Calel: Ru Raxal qa Rayb’äl (The Green of Our Desire)

La Nueva Fábrica

Edgar Calel, Como luciérnagas son cada uno de mis pasos XXX (Each One of My Steps are Like Fireflies XXX) (detail), 2024. Courtesy of the artist and Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatemala City. Photo: Margo Porres.


June 5, 2024
Edgar Calel
Ru Raxal qa Rayb’äl (The Green of Our Desire)
June 1–October 27, 2024
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Opening: June 1, 2–8pm
La Nueva Fábrica
Callejón Contreras
Santa Ana - La Antigua
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Saturday 10am–6pm

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La Nueva Fábrica (LNF) is pleased to announce Ru Raxal qa Rayb’äl (The Green of Our Desire), Edgar Calel’s first institutional solo exhibition in Guatemala. Edgar Calel anchors his work in the Mayan Kaqchikel worldviews that stem from family and community life in his hometown of Chi Xot (San Juan Comalapa). His practice honors and upholds the spiritual, physical, and emotional nourishment and communal knowledge that his land, family, and ancestors bestow upon him. His subtle and at times humorous practice works through strategies that are conceptual and sensorial at once.

Ru Raxal qa Rayb’äl responds to LNF’s 2024–25 exhibition cycle through a series of living and ever-changing installations that bring into proximity diverse notions and practices of healing. The resulting project stands as an offering created by Calel to welcome LNF’s publics into a space of contemplation and “sentipensar” (sensing-thinking) that activates multiple forms of sense-making. The artworks and installations presented stem from, in the artist’s words, “Practices that were never forgotten by the communities in our territories. These practices never ceased to exist and continue to be at the center of life.” The resulting artworks are invitations to pursue forms of intimate, communal, and societal healing.

The title of the exhibition refers to the desire to “return” to a natural environment that is a source of knowledge, spirituality, nourishment, and protection, despite the plundering of land, water, and landscape that has been constitutive of 500 years of colonial dynamics in Guatemala and beyond. Ru Raxal qa Rayb’äl offers a path of interconnected moments of contemplation and intimacy that are relational in nature. The exhibition does not seek to create a mere representation of spirituality to be consumed through the act of looking, but rather invites publics to come into proximity with forms of communal care based on reciprocity.

The project is curated by Edgar Calel and Ilaria Conti, LNF’s Executive Director, in collaboration with the Calel family and LNF’s team. A series of public programs will unfold throughout the exhibition to expand on the notions at the heart of the project and reinforce its reciprocal and participatory nature.

La Nueva Fábrica’s 2024–25 exhibition cycle
2024 marks five hundred years since the arrival of the Spaniards to the area we now call Guatemala. To address such historical occurrence and the centuries of coloniality that have shaped and continue to shape Guatemalan society in multiple and transversal ways, La Nueva Fábrica inaugurates in June 2024 a focused year-long exhibition and programming cycle.

During this time, we seek to move beyond the mere discourse on coloniality and the presentation of exhibitions that address colonial issues just as content. This choice stems from the awareness that most of LNF publics are already familiar with colonial processes, given how colonial dynamics still haunt Guatemalan life.  Rather than “illustrating” through exhibitions what our publics already know and experience in their daily lives, we strive to move beyond the simple acknowledgment of coloniality and imagine forms of re-existence that offer opportunities for communal encounters and the healing of colonial wounds.

We strongly believe that art spaces are unique settings in which things that find no other place in society can happen. In light of this, our 2024-2025 exhibition program focuses on projects that foster notions and practices of healing. These exhibitions serve as offerings and shared spaces in which to take care of ourselves and others, reflect on what affects us as individuals and as societies, and experiment communally with diverse forms of healing—be they spiritual, corporeal, affective, epistemic, and more.

Each exhibition is commissioned and conceived as a context in which senses beyond sight and diverse forms of sense-making are involved. The practices and concerns at the heart of each project are further developed through a series of public programs presented throughout each exhibition.

RSVP for Edgar Calel: Ru Raxal qa Rayb’äl (The Green of Our Desire)
La Nueva Fábrica
June 5, 2024

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