Conflicting stories collide in Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa’s exhibition Cecília rebelde. Ramírez-Figueroa explores the catholic St. Cecília and the story of the Totonicapán Uprising of 1820 of indigenous Maya peoples (K’iche’) against the Spanish Empire in Guatemala. More specifically, the artist focuses on the rumor that Atanasio Tzul crowned himself king with the crown of St. Joseph, borrowed from the church, and used the crown of St. Cecília for his wife Felipa Soc.
Ramírez-Figueroa has transformed the Artpace gallery into an airy and contemplative chapel of history.
Five carved-wood paintings, Dressmaker’s Geometry, form an open-arced pentagon, inviting viewers to examine patterns that were sourced from Saints and everyday clothing. Utilizing his skills as a printmaker, the artist has carved into wooden panels while pushing his pallet into a newly expanded use of color.
The sounds of the mass-like audio poem written by collaborator St Ezequiel, with Melodic Adaptation and Vocal Performance by Julieta Garcia Reyes, wafts throughout the space. The poem is a decima or rhyming poem in Spanish, and the nine stanzas are an auditory mass based on the tale of the folk Cecília, Felipa Soc, that emanate from a small sculpture of a conch shell.
Bronze and resin sculptures, symbolic of adornments of both the catholic St. Cecília and the folk Cecília sit low to the floor. They highlight a story of sacred rebellion in objects such as a crown of flowers, palm frond, sandals, hand, and mask.
Through a catholic saint and indigenous folk tale, Ramírez-Figueroa continues his series of works examining atrocities and rebellions.