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Guadalupe Maravilla: Mariposa Relámpago

4 Nov 2023 – 16 Mar 2024


Guadalupe Maravilla

Mariposa Relámpago opened in Ballroom Marfa’s courtyard on Saturday, November 4, 2023 with a sound ceremony led by the artist Guadalupe Maravilla.

Maravilla (b. 1976 in San Salvador, El Salvador) grounds his sculpture, painting, performance, and large-scale installation in activism and healing, informed by his personal story of migration, illness, and recovery. At the age of eight, Maravilla fled El Salvador’s civil war as an unaccompanied minor and made a perilous journey through Central America to reunite with family in the United States. In the 2010s, Maravilla was diagnosed with colon cancer—an illness he links to generational trauma and the stresses of being undocumented—and during the recovery process, he was introduced to ancient methods of healing, including the use of sound. This life event shifted Maravilla’s practices, and he has since worked tirelessly to raise awareness of trauma and expand access to healing, nurturing collective narratives with a sense of perseverance and humanity.

Mariposa Relámpago, which translates to Lightning Butterfly, is the artist’s largest sculpture to date. Maravilla’s sculptures known as Disease Throwers, incorporate natural materials, handmade objects, and items collected while retracing his migratory route. Every sculpture includes metal gongs that are activated by the artist during public sound baths to deploy the powers of vibrational sound as a form of healing. Maravilla’s artworks also contain a cosmology of potent symbols and objects that connect the artist’s personal journey with ancient practices of the Indigenous Mayan peoples; diverse spiritual and folk beliefs; and contemporary crises of disease, ecology, and war. Mariposa Relámpago functions as a sculpture, shrine and healing instrument. 

Also on view is a mural inspired by a Salvadoran children’s game where two players draw lines between numbers, ultimately forming an abstract pattern or map. At Ballroom, the artist and a collaborator, who share similar experiences of migration, will create Tripa Chuca together on Ballroom’s courtyard walls. 

Maravilla was a Ballroom Sessions—The Farther Place artist-in-residence in 2021 and 2022.

Ballroom Marfa’s presentation of Guadalupe Maravilla: Mariposa Relámpago is organized by Daisy Nam, Sarah Melendez, and Alexann Susholtz.

Originally commissioned by ICA Boston in May 2023, Guadalupe Maravilla: Mariposa Relámpago opened at Ballroom Marfa on November 4, 2023. The installation will be presented at The Contemporary Austin’s Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria in April 2024 and will commence at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston in November 2024.


Installation Views