Chilean artist Patricia Domínguez explores healing practices emerging from the areas where many worlds meet, clash and overlap as a result of colonial encounters. Rooted in the artist’s ongoing investigation of ethnobotany in South America, her work invites the viewer to envision possible futures for humans and plants thriving in the cracks of modernity.
Domínguez’s audiovisual work Eyes of Plants explores the practice of healing with roses and other mestizo rituals emerging in the contact zones between radically different cosmologies. Introduced by European settlers, roses acquired magical power in the colonial imaginary through the legend of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who chose the rose as a symbol to manifest herself to Juan Diego, the first indigenous saint from the Americas. Incorporating optical illusions, homemade props and close relatives as actors, Domínguez’s video induces a hallucinatory experience.
The video is accompanied by the artist’s publication designed in collaboration with Futuro Studio. Conceived as an artwork, it includes an essay chronicling an ethnobotanical journey across indigenous lands in Bolivia, Chile and Peru. Approached with a sense of wonder, the text uncovers the histories buried beneath the surface of hydropower dams, petrol stations and other ‘temples of extractivism’.
Text by Sabel Gavaldon