Sila Chanto and Belkis Ramírez: Aquí me quedo/Here I Stay
The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University is pleased to announce an exhibition featuring the work of Sila Chanto & Belkis Ramírez: Aquí Me Quedo/Here I Stay, opening on January 21, 2022. The show presents Chanto (Costa Rica, 1969-2015) and Ramírez (Dominican Republic, 1957-2019) in direct exchange, emphasizing their experimental printmaking techniques, embodied feminism and political dissent, which defined the exceptional work of both women.
Chanto’s iconoclastic printmaking techniques involved scale, material and installation previously unimagined for the form—imparting embodied memories onto the public spaces around her by demarcating the body’s affective trace. She portrayed ghostly imprints that address disenfranchisement and belonging, as well as the perishable and fragile nature of life. In contrast, Ramírez’s technically masterful printmaking and wood engraving often combined figuration and abstract patterning to explore the vulnerability of the body through the collision of public and private as they delimit the individual. Using life-size human figures, her work also investigated gender stereotypes, sexual harassment against women, and the emotional and physical ramifications of migration and the representation of Caribbean bodies at large. Both artists tended to work in large-scale prints and installations, often featuring life-size figures, in compositions critical of male-dominated social narratives—laying bare the implications of such relations for the viewer to understand their role in upholding such structures.
This exhibition is guest curated for the ICA by Miguel A. López.