From Celdas (Prison Cells), Celda#16 by Alma Leiva

Alma Leiva Installation into photography C-Print 34in x 34in 2014


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Work details:

Alma Leiva
Celda #16 (Prison Cell #16)
Work completed at Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL
34in x 34in
Installation into Photography
Various materials

About the victims in Celda #16

This work is a memorial to the victims of a school massacre in “Chamelecón”, one of the most violent areas in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The crime took place on September 30th, 2013 in the preschool “Jardín de niños Mi Segundo Hogar.”
The name s of the victims are: David Edgardo Rivera Carías (31), Delmi Rosaura Rivera Carías (38), Helen Araceli Rivera Carías (42), Daniela Alejandra Martínez Rivera (5) and Carmen Valdivieso (36). The body of Celma Argentina Rivera Carías, a family relative of four of the victims who was reported as missing, was found far away from the crime site.

Several children between the ages of 7 and 13 were murdered in 2014 in the neighborhood “La Pradera”, sector “Chamelecón.”

Alma Leiva on Celdas:

In order to convey a sense of displacement in the work, I travel to residencies all over the United States where I create stages, which I then photograph, with the image as the final product. This aspect of my practice helps me better understand and effectively convey the psychological trauma, which recent Central American immigrants have to deal with when they first arrive to this foreign region. An important aspect of my work is the contradiction between cultural assimilation and the persistence of cultural identity and memory. While using various materials, cultural home aesthetics, catholic and Mayan iconography I also try to integrate found objects and even natural elements/materials such as tree leaves or soil from the area into my constructed stages. This process further conveys the individual’s capacity of make-do.

The scenes constructed in these spaces allude to actual violent crimes, even memorializing some of the victims caught up in the endless cycle. The juxtaposition of Catholic and Mayan iconography evokes the legacy of Spanish colonialism while also reminding us that the history of violence in Central American societies has deep historic roots that predate the Conquest.

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