Canadian-Guatemalan artist Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa works across media, using forms including sculpture and performance that draw on literature, Latin American history, folklore and childhood memories. Referring to traumatic or tragic events – in particular Guatemala’s civil war (1960–96), which forced Ramírez-Figueroa and his family to immigrate to Vancouver as refugees in the 1980s – his works are imbued with a playful, sometimes dream-like spirit. Varied objects in sculptural installations, and the artist’s own body in performance works, become tools to consider the constructions of identity, architecture and history.
The exhibition encompasses works from the past decade that reveal the range of Ramírez-Figueroa’s preoccupations, from conspiracy theories to bird song and Guatemala’s architectural history. It will also include a newly commissioned work, which takes as its starting point the cacaxte, a ladder-like tool for carrying objects on one’s back common among indigenous populations of Latin America. In this new work, Ramírez-Figueroa reinvents the object to consider its associations with colonial oppression alongside its mythical significance.