Artist Regina José Galindo (born 1974) specializes in body art. Working in the context of a newly democratized society, Galindo has developed a socially and politically motivated practice in which she strives to acknowledge the thirty-six years of civil war her country endured, but also looks forward to a more peaceful and productive future. In her most celebrated work, Who Can Erase the Traces? (Quién puede borrar las huellas?, 2003), she walked barefoot through the streets of Guatemala City, from the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura to the Corte de Constitucionalidad, carrying a basin filled with human blood into which she periodically dipped her feet. The trail of footprints visualized her reaction to the recent news that Efraín Ríos Montt, a former military dictator responsible for the most destructive period of the country's internal conflict, had been permitted to run for president despite constitutional prohibitions. Her works are combative and often shocking, bringing into the public realm topics that few Guatemalans dare confront.
Her works are combative and often shocking, bringing into the public realm topics that few Guatemalans dare confront. Works like Bitch (Perra, 2005), in which she cut her thigh with a knife, or Hymenoplasty (Himenoplastia, 2004), in which she underwent surgery to rebuild her hymen, challenge the ways that women are objectified in her highly conservative homeland.
Galindo exhibited alongside renowned artists like Tania Bruguera and Jimmie Durham at MoMA PS1 for NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith. She has had solo exhibitions at Museums around the world and has participated in the Havana Biennial (2009); Venice Biennale (2009 and 2011); Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2011); and Cuenca Biennial, Spain (2012). She has received several awards, including the Golden Lion for a Promising Young Artist at the Venice Biennale, and the Grand Prize Award at the Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2011).
This work is made possible with the support of Northern Illinois University College of Visual and Performing Art, the Department of Performance and the Department of Fiber and Material Studies in partnership with the William Bronson and Grayce Slovet Mitchell Lectureship in Fiber and Material Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.