REVOLUTION & RITUAL: The Photographs of Sara Castrejón, Graciela Iturbide, and Tatiana Parcero

By Eve Kaufman

Staff Writer

Darkness and sacrifice are two integral aspects of the revolution. Despite the great necessity for rebellion in terms of social progression, the communal loss is inevitably tied to revolutionary change. Working with these themes of tragedy and rebellion, the Williamson Gallery presents Resistance and Ritual, exhibiting the works of three Latina photographers: Sara Castrejón, Graciela Iturbide, and Tatiana Parcero.

The exhibit highlights singular members of a community acting on their own within the context of change, portrayed through a photographic lens. From the dates of 1910 to present day, the photos of these women explore various revolutions, whether political, ecological, or philosophical.

Sara Castrejón, chronologically first of the photographers, examines people alone, on their way to execution, juxtaposed to group photos of armaments. She presents a force often overlooked in the recounting of war: the part women play in battle. Many of the women in her photographs acted as soldiers, choosing to defy social norms in the face of change.

Photographer Graciela Iturbide operated during the Teacher Rebellion in Oaxaca, capturing photos of indigenous people faced with the looming presence of the colonial control. In place of photographs of protests and violence, Iturbide depicts images of women from many different cities and locations. individually, they represent the social structure of their communities, distinct as the discs in one’s backbone but acting in unison for support. Her photographs challenge colonial power, calling for progress in a way that bears witness to indigenous culture. Iturbide also integrates images of death and life, questioning how death bears life, and how a revolution can encapsulate both primal forces.

Finally, the work of Tatiana Parcero layers photos of her body printed on acetate over various background images. These layers consist of colonial maps, anatomical diagrams drawn in the 1800’s, and ancient codices from different cultures. Parcero’s work is a continual re-questioning of her identity; these colonial-era images mesh with her own features, seeming to define the artist by the intermingling of tradition, colonial violence, scientific and ecological forces, and the physical reality of the body. Each of Parcero’s backdrops signify revolution, whether in defiance of political forces, in colonial oppression, or in re-imagining the oppressed body.

The three women featured by the Williamson Gallery may have worked independently, but their portrayals of female bodies marked by oppression and revolt are artfully woven together by the exhibit Resistance and Ritual, creating a unique experience of three artists linked through a century of revolutions.

“Revolution and Ritual: The Photographs of Sara Castrejón, Graciela Iturbide, and Tatiana Parcero” will be open to the public from August 26, 2017 to January 7, 2018 at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery.