"The great damage of progress has been the disarticulation of the clans, through which the traditional word has been lost " Alberto Chirif
Melanie Dizon
October 7, 2022

EXHIBITION INAUGURATION: Friday, 7th of October @ 6:00pm


How to articulate indigenous tradition with modernity and the notions of progress? That is the central reflection in this work by Ximena Alarcón; a tension that provokes our own perceptions of cultural and environmental progress, influenced by the artist's personal vision of what progress has engendered within the indigenous societies of the world and in this particular case: that of the Bora, Huitoto and Muinanu.
The festive skirts on display pay homage to these peoples, handmade with the tree fiber called llanchama (sp. Poulsenia Armata) by women of the Bora community of Pucaurquillo. These skirts highlight the traditional iconography of their clan, while others are intervened by the artist using different techniques, affirming the dominant effects of the extractive industries, resource exploitation, emigration, acculturation, etc., which in turn speaks for the artist’s inquisition - as to what progress has left us.
Traditional llanchama skirt with clan symbology

Collage and assemblage on llanchama fibre, 2021


The project "Lo que el progreso nos dejó” (What progress left us), had its gestation during a trip to Iquitos, in which, once again and after my experience as a Mexican, the question about the possibility of conciliation between tradition and progress, as it exists today was imposed: How to articulate tradition and modernity? How to avoid the disappearance of traditional practices and knowledge that carry and represent the effects of assimilation and domination of progress? Starting from a very personal vision of what progress has engendered in the indigenous societies of the world, (extinction of languages, customs, knowledge, mythology and rituals) and in this particular case: of the Bora society, the need to work on a work that denounces the devastating effects of progress. This need was particularly intensified during a visit to the Bora community of San Andres*, where I was a spectator of a traditional festival staged for tourist purposes. On this occasion, I acquired a skirt from Llanchama* from which the first idea immediately emerged: to represent the abandonment in which this area of the Peruvian Amazon is found by means of applications of rusty mosquito netting. Little by little and after an extensive research and search, I was able to acquire a larger quantity of skirts in the Bora de Pucaurquillo Community*. The project grew until it became a larger installation in which each skirt represents an effect of progress, such as the extraction of raw materials, the trafficking of women and girls, the plundering of fauna and flora, deforestation, acculturation, emigration, over-exploitation of resources, pollution, etc. It also highlights the value of the Bora ceremonial foothills, in order to pay homage to what the Bora society has managed to preserve of their culture despite the overwhelming presence of progress.

LO QUE EL PROGRESO NOS DEJÓ is on exhibition through January 25.

*The art from this exhibition is available for sale. To view the full series, please email us at info@xapiriground.org for more information.

BIOGRAPHY | Ximena Alarcón

Ximena Alarcón is a Mexican artist (CDMX 1968) who shares her time between Peru, Mexico and France.
She studied fashion design and holds a master's degree at the Marangoni Institute in Milan. Upon her return to Mexico, she became interested in sculpture and plastic arts. In 2002 she opened her first workshop in Paris, venturing into jewelry design through a sculptural-spatial approach with the XAC project.
Her sculptural work delves into the notion of space and immaterial volume through geometric and organic formal resources. Her installations, objects and works on paper raise reflections on social inequality, gender, racism and empathy.
She has exhibited her work in Mexico: Fundación Sebastián, Pablo Goebel Gallery, INCMNSZ, Casa Mérida, Chic by Accident, Nutrition Institute, PRPGMX, Subasta y exhibición Arte Vivo 2021 in Mexico City, Centro Cultural Santo Domingo, Galería Quetzalli y Galería NN in Oaxaca. In Peru: Alianza Francesa de Miraflores and Galería del Británico de San Juan de Lurigancho in Lima and Asociación Casuarinas de Monterrico. In the United States: Centro Cultural Cinematográfico México, of the Mexican Consulate in LA, as curator and artist in the INVERSA video series. Her work is part of the collection of the Sebastián Foundation and private collections in Mexico, Spain, Sweden, France, United States and Peru. She is the Founder and Curator of CASA MERIDA CONTEMPORARY.
She is represented by Galería Quetzalli in Mexico.