P·P·O·W is pleased to present Si no sanas hoy, sanarás mañana, Guadalupe Maravilla’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Featuring new large-scale sculptures and retablos, the immersive installation harnesses a cosmology of potent symbols, objects and sounds as a means of addressing childhood experiences of war, displacement, illness, and healing.
The title of the exhibition translates to “If you don't heal today, you will heal tomorrow” and is derived from a popular song “Sana Sana Colita de Rana” that adults in Latin America sing to children when they are experiencing pain, an injury, or need emotional care. In a series of new Retablos, a signature form of elaborate relief assemblages that feature devotional paintings, Maravilla reveals untold personal childhood stories of perseverance and humanity in the face of war and atrocity in El Salvador. In Bullet Sculpture Retablo, 2024, for example, Maravilla writes, “I remember making sculptures of the bullets I found in the street when I was 3-8 years old. The civil war in El Salvador was a war of brother against brother, sister against sister. Bless the healing forces that protected us.”
Maravilla’s autobiographical work tells the story of his unaccompanied, undocumented migration to the United States at the age of eight. Across all media, Maravilla explores how the systemic abuse migrants experience physically manifests in the body; his own battle with colon cancer is linked to generational trauma and the impact of his own migration. Maravilla discovered sound therapy during his radiation treatments and subsequently became a healer himself. His celebrated series of large-scale sculptures, titled Disease Throwers, are artworks which the artist activates around the world in healing ceremonies.
The latest in this series, El Brujo Disease Thrower, 2024, pays homage to Ralfie, a Santería priest who Maravilla met as a teenager, setting him on his path for lifelong spiritual practice. A richly ornamented El Salvadorian chair designed by the artist, the sculpture stands over eight feet high and features a suspended moon gong. The work is further embellished with a cornucopia of objects, including a bronze pig representing a time when his mother used pig skin (manteca) to heal bee stings, two copper serpents symbolizing healing, and metal roses that pay homage to the artist’s mother’s garden in El Salvador. The double retablo which sits on the chair reads, in part:
He felt everything. Ralfie was a santero and extremely powerful, over time Ralfie became a mentor of my spiritual practice. One day I came home late and I had a dream about him and later found out that he had passed away during the night. He had come to say goodbye to me. Gracias for your magic old Brujo.
Also on view is a new bronze sculpture, El Espíritu de Mariposa Relámpago Disease Thrower, 2024, which is a snake with a butterfly head in the form of a lightning bolt. In dialog with Maravilla’s monumental installation Mariposa Relámpago, 2023, which debuted at the ICA Watershed and is currently on tour, its title translates to “The Lighting Butterfly Spirit.” Referencing the disrupted migratory patterns of butterflies throughout Mexico and Central America, a route similar to Maravilla’s path to the United States, this sculpture functions as a modern day altar offering protection to all. This work features a suspended gong which will be activated by the artist and other sound healers during the course of the exhibition, offering the healing power of vibrational sound to each ceremony’s participants.
Sound bath ceremonies will take place in the gallery from 6:30 – 8:00pm on March 6, 7, 8, and 12. During regular hours, the exhibition will include immersive audio recordings of healing ceremonies offered by the artist and his collaborators.
On Monday, March 4 from 7:00 – 8:30pm, in conjunction with exhibition, The Museum of Modern Art, NY, will screen Maravilla’s new film Mariposa Relámpago, 2023, and host a conversation on themes of healing and migration with the artist and C. Ondine Chavoya, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
Guadalupe Maravilla (b. 1976) received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts and his MFA from Hunter College in New York. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; Peréz Art Museum, Miami, FL; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; and the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, among others. He has presented solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, Norway; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL. Guadalupe Maravilla: Mariposa Relámpago was on view from May 25 - September 4, 2023 at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston’s Watershed. The exhibition is currently on view at Ballroom Marfa, November 3, 2023 - March 30, 2024 and will travel to Contemporary Austin, opening April 4, 2024; followed by The Blaffer Museum of Art, opening November 2024.