María Cano, red very red & Policarpo

27 MAY – 24 september

Gabriela makes books, videos, and large murals to highlight concrete historical events that she considers important for understanding and changing today’s history. She is interested in the history that has been ignored or made invisible by the ”official” narratives. At Havremagasinet she presents two of these histories in the form of murals. One is about the socialist leader Maria Cano who supported workers in the fight for their rights in the first half of the 20th century in Colombia. The other depicts the story of the struggle for housing in the Policarpa neighborhood in the capital Bogotá. The story begins when a family evicted from their home in 1961 occupies a vacant lot, along with 200 other families. The mural is combined with a stop-motion animation that depicts the residents’ resistance to police raids and other events in their struggle for housing and land over more than a decade.

Pinilla is interested in political history seen from below and from a micro perspective: the story of a neighborhood, a family, or a community leader. She sees history not as something that exists because of the efforts of the victorious, but as a result of the tireless work of the many that fight. Pinilla questions the ways in which history is written, documented, communicated, imagined, and exhibited, so she is always looking for a pedagogical language that can help see stigmatized histories in a different light, and to become accessible to a wider audience. Her projects often take the form as murals, publications that borrow from school books aesthetics or animations made with simple materials.

About the artist

Gabriela Pinilla is a visual artist and a university teacher from Bogota, Colombia. She holds a Master’s degree in Fine arts from Tadeo Lozano University and a Bachelor’s degree from Universidad Nacional in Bogotá. Her art has focused on the political history of Colombia. Fieldwork and research are an integral part of her artistic projects, often revealing previously unpublished documents. She has received awards such as the Creation Grant from the Ministry of Culture in Colombia 2012, Grant for Independent publications, IDARTES, Bogotá 2017, and an Award for solo exhibitions, Secretary of Culture, Bogotá 2010.

For more information see:

María Cano, roja muy roja / María Cano, red very red, 2007-2023. flags, mural and picture book. Photo: Marcel Köppe.