Mural in Ottawa against Gender Violence

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COLLECTIVE SPACES featuring COCO RIOT:
Using art to challenge gender based violence.

OCTEVAW would love for you to join their upcoming event, which is part of their ongoing Status of Women project Preventing Violence Against Women on Campuses. Through this event OCTEVAW are seeking to engage students on Ottawa campuses.
As part of this program, I have been commissioned to create a mobile mural that will be shown at different locations in Ottawa in the upcoming months.

Date: Friday, July 11, 2014 – 16:00 to 20:00
Location: Orange Art Gallery, 290 City Centre Avenue
This event will mark the launch of a mural by queer, Spanish artist Coco Riot’s that will be promoting social change, and challenging gender based violence.

Join us for workshops with local community based artists and activists, such as Artswell, that will challenge gender based violence through the arts. As well, light refreshments will be catered by Art-Is-In Bakery.

The Minotaur leading The Demonstration: the Making Of

 

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The video of The Making of The Demonstration, by video documentarist Serene Husni will be soon launched. 

The Minotaur is made out of papier-mache and it took two people (Carla Molina Holmes and Coco Guzman) full time 1 month to make it. The whole process of the making was recorded and edited by video documentarist Serene Husni, allowing the audience to see the process of building, sculpting, painting, as well as the conceptual notions behind it and the on-site work and people’s reactions. 

The Minotaur is a 6 feet tall and 3 feet large sculpture of a character, half bull, half person. Taking the consideration the kite and the on-site painting, the piece is 10 feet tall and 12 feet long. 

The Minotaur is leading figure of The Demonstration. She’s at her turn being led by a golden kite. The kite, following the wind takes her out of the labyrinth, whatever this labyrinth may be: social impositions, personal fears, norms, barriers, etc. It is the wind, the guts, the instincts that will bring her out. Not the mind, not the things already known.

Photo: Serene Husni

Genderpoo showing at MU Eindhoven in GenderBlender exhibition

 

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Genderpoo will be showing from June 6th at MU art space in Eindhoven (The Netherlands) as part of the curated exhibition GenderBlender

Genderpoo is an ongoing project that have been exhibited in festival, high schools, universities classrooms, galleries and contemporary art museums in Europe and North America. Using bathroom signs forms, this project aim to question the public who and how we belong to society standards and to pay a homage to every one and each of these identities, communities and people who fight for social justice and anti-oppression values. As long as there will be organizers and social fighters, the project will be growing, happy not to be ever done. Read more here.
If you want to use these bathrooms signs for a community or activist project, please feel welcome to contact me.
And remember you can get amazing Genderpoo t-shirts at INDISORDER

For GenderBlender, MU is bringing together a wide range of internationally acclaimed works centred on gender. Films, photographs, installations, sculptures, drawings and performances that offer a challenge and raise questions, but that will also trigger reflection. Alongside the exhibition there will be a fringe programme with various debates, lectures, performances, vaudeville acts, workshops and films.

Opening: June 6 from 8 pm
Afterparty: June 6 from 11 pm
GenderBlender Weekend Special on 4, 5 and 6 July with debates, lectures, performances, workshops, vaudeville and films.

MU | Strijp S, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Torenallee 40-06

Opening hours (during exhibitions)
On Monday we’re closed
Tuesday to Friday 10.00-18.00 h
Saturday 11.00- 17.00 h
Sunday 13.00-17.00 h

Opening hours (in-between exhibitions)
Monday to Friday 10.00-17.00 h

Contact
040-2961663
mu@mu.nl

Admission is 3 Euros.
Opening events, every first Saturday of a new exhibition there’s no admission. No admission for every person below 18.

MU zooms in on the hybrid here, now, and later of visual culture. MU is an adventurous guide to all art lovers with a keen interest in the energetic mix of design, fashion, music, architecture, and new media that contemporary art is. Attracting a wide audience, MU is a meeting place and inspirational breeding ground for creative Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and the world. MU initiates and co-produces. MU regularly challenges international artists to realise their dreams, or to stage their first large presentation, solo, or in a group.

Image: Genderpoo in Granada, 2013. Photo by MP5

Come meet The Demonstration in Toronto

 

The Demonstration
Opening Reception: Wednesday May 7th, 7-9pm
Exhibit runs from May 1st to May 31st
Gallery Hours: Thursday – Saturday 1-7pm
Whippersnapper Gallery, 594b Dundas Street West, Toronto

Coco Guzman’s immersive installation The Demonstration explores the interpersonal dynamics of the crowd and the intense emotional narratives generated when a large group of people comes together for a common purpose. Originally composed by 13 large sculptures, Coco has chosen to create a specific on-site installation for Whippersnapper Gallery and Mayworks Festival. The female Minotaur, the main sculpture of The Demonstration is setting herself free guided by a playful kite. This freedom is not always easy and it comes with risks and pain, either from within ourselves, people around us or from society. The Minotaur inhabits this struggle and this desire of growing freer.

The Minotaur sculpture has been created in collaboration with visual artist Carla Molina-Holmes
The make-of video and trailer have been created by Serene Husni

The Demonstration acknowledges the support of Canada Council for the Arts.

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On Minotaurs freeing themselves from the labyrinth + Upcoming show

 

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Sketch drawing for the minotaur sculpture leading the show The Demonstration

I started drawing Minotaurs as a child1. I have always been fascinated by the minotaur tragic story and always been upset that they were killed in the labyrinth. Now, my next show, has a female minotaur as a leader. Guided by a kite that she holds with a golden threat, the she-minotaur sculpture gets out of the labyrinth on her own terms and well alive. Behind her, all these other almost human-like sculpture follow.

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Minotaura, ink and acrylic drawing commissioned by Indisorder.

The figure of the Minotaur has been used by many artists, from Picasso who loved to draw himself as a big minotaur having sex with young girls (???), to Borges, who in his Asterion’s House, make the minotaur the narrator of his own solitude and cruelty, living in a gigantic house with no exit.
The minotaur, in the Greek myth, was the son of a queen and a bull, a “monster” half bull half man. Seen as a monster, he was imprisoned in a labyrinth and fed with young girls and boys. One day the hero Teseo, armed with a sword and a golden thread, enters the labyrinth and kills him. Teseo was able to find the way out thanks to the thread that his lover Ariadne gave him.

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Ink and acrylic drawing from the Blue Minotaur series, 2014

 

 

On my drawings the Minotaur is always female. There are so many reasons why I love drawing female minotaurs. Not only do the minotaur and me share the same legal name (that almost nobody knows), but more importantly, I feel that my art practice deals with a lot of powerful, mythical creatures oppressed by society in a labyrinth of rules and punishments. In the reading i make of the myth, the female minotaur is not a victim of the labyrinth, she’s the one who frees herself and guides others. She questions the Greek myth and the role “monsterity” and “norm” plays in it: Who are monsters? What makes this creature so scary that has to be imprisoned? What is this prison?

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Ink and acrylic drawing from the Blue Minotaur series, 2014

For me, female minotaur is a figure of strength and subversion that acknowledges the pre-christian power of this animal (Thank you SAA for this conversation) and the power of female fighters who revolt against normativity systems. The she-minotaur is a metaphor of this not-fitting-in, of this process of “monsterity”, of being a “monster” or becoming a “monster”, of this becoming a threat to the “norm” This is what the minotaur represents in the myth: a threat to the well-behaved and normative society, a product of desire that put reason and norms in danger. This is why the minotaur has to be put in a labyrinth, an almost-prison with an impossible exit. Why the well-behaved society chooses to put the minotaur in a labyrinth instead of putting them in a jail with no exit or simply killing them, it is a very interesting question that may bring us to contemporary issues of politically-correctness, pretensions of justice etc.

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Ink and marker drawing commissioned by Turning Pages, 2013

 

The labyrinth may be read in many different ways, it can be a social labyrinth or it can be a personal labyrinth. In fact, we may be the minotaur or the minotaur may be a part of us that we are repressing out of fear of not fitting in, of not being good enough, etc. The readings of the female minotaur are as many as we want. In any case, she is the her own savior, her own freer. There’s no place for Teseos nor heroes who kill “monsters” The she-minotaur is the one who finds the exit of the labyrinth, following the golden thread. Maybe Ariadne is her lover or the name of her kite or her heart or her instinct. Whatever it is, she’s the one who keeps on looking until she finds the impossible exit.

The Demonstration

Showing as part of Mayworks Festival 2014

May 1st to June 3rd

Opening May 7th, 7pm

Whippersnapper Gallery

594b Dundas Street West

Toronto

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1

I was a child and copying every intriguing drawing or painting I found, so Picasso’s minotaurs were a great training on how to use charcoal and draw big muscle guys. Of course as a Spanish child the figure of the bull brings a lot of contradictory feelings: on one side there is the mystery and the knowing of the mythical power of the animal, on another, there are the disgusting cruelties against these animals during bullfighting (known in Spain as the National Party) and the use that the Spanish national identity makers have done of the bull. The minotaur, being half bull half person, bring up many of these issues, but also questions about “monsterity”, metaphores and labyrinths.