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Cultural Wounds

“Decoloniality is at once the unveiling of the wound and the possibility of healing. It makes the wound visible, tangible; it voices the scream.”

– Walter Mignolo / Rolando Vázquez


Cultural Wounds refer to the trauma inflicted in society by centuries of physical and symbolic violence. They are caused by the narratives fabricated to legitimize colonial power, which involved categorizations among races and genders, and the brutal suppression of systems of belief that differ from European canons.  

In this context, the works from the series respond to the concept of the politicization of the body, the individual marked by marginalization, subalternity, and invisibilization. The decorative patterns are inspired by handmade lace from the Renaissance period, a fashion accoutrement related to status and refinement, and in vogue concurrently with brutal colonial expansion of European empires.  

The free-hanging work Cultural Wounds (Embodied Patterns) frames this issue through a striking shift in color amid an oversized, translucent, lace-like pattern and the unsettling ways in which a red matte substance fills and overwhelms the spaces in-between. The void no longer conceals the voices, and the stories that once had been silenced begin to emerge.

The vase-like sculptures convey a dual nature: they are, at once, ornamental and symbolic. The container -often representing creation and origin- embodies the feminine matrix, an approach that conceives of new fluid perspectives on being.  

Flowery motifs dress the translucent skin-like surface, seducing the viewer through the appeal of “classical beauty” while discreetly directing one’s gaze to the revelation of conflict: overflowing substances and half-melted embellishments disguise tearing tissues and corporeal fluids.  

The bold contrast between the ethereal features of the sculptural objects and the cold and rigid industrial appearance of the plinths plays as an unpleasant reminder of the systemic exclusion created by the binary constructions of Western thinking, linked to the dehumanizing aspects of Modernity. The pedestals’ materiality is linked to both a standardized quality and predetermined assembling, emulating commercial utility racks.  

Cultural Wounds (Flowing Structures) acknowledges European influence through the ubiquity of its dominant patterns while exposing a different stage of the political body: interconnected and interdependent, there is a renewed sense of fluidity and correspondence among the contemporary weave.  

The cultural wounds described here have been historically naturalized, concealed, and denied. This series insists upon reimagining and recreating alternative worlds in which healing is possible and tangible, in which the scream of colonial violence is made visible.

– Paula Córdoba


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