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Corn Husks in the Rio San Juan

Recent Michigan Tech Grad Joins Visual Art Faculty as Artist in Residence in Guatemala

Gordillo and Fisher installing a sculpture in the Rio San Juan (San Juan River).
Gordillo and Fisher installing a sculpture in the Rio San Juan (San Juan River).
Rio San Juan Dia 2
Gordillo and Fisher preparing to install sculpture in the Rio San Juan.

Lisa Gordillo, assistant professor of Visual and Performing Arts at Michigan Tech, traveled to  Quetzaltenango, Guatemala for her recent exhibition at the Centro Cultural Efrain Recinos from July 15-Aug. 1, and also worked on an installation for Tierra Adentro, the International Poetry Festival of Aguacatan, where she created a sculpture in the Rio San Juan (San Juan River). Hannah Fisher, ‘17, who graduated with a minor in Visual Art, joined Gordillo to help with the river sculpture (which involved sewing corn husks together in the water!), and to join the Aguacatan Poetry Festival also as an artist in residence. The river sculpture, called Chuchos del Rio, was created to be part of a conversation about immigration, as part of the poetry festival.

The exhibit in Quetzaltenango, titled “Prohibido Orinar Aqui,” was developed from Gordillo’s spring exhibit, “ChickenBus,” in the Rozsa Gallery, and as Gordillo reports, was very well attended and received. She thanks all of the Michigan Tech students who both helped with the development of the work in the spring, related to Chicken Bus, and the outcome of that work which traveled with her as a part of the “Prohibido Orinar Aqui” exhibit.

Fisher was interviewed about her sculpture work, which appeared in the Equal and Opposite Show, in the Rozsa Gallery “gallery b” in 2016, and talks about her other art projects. She says “I was really influenced by Andy Goldsworthy. I really appreciated how he uses materials found in nature and manipulates them in ways not seen in nature. Nature is a big influence in my life.”  Listen to the interview on SoundCloud. It is 06:28 minutes in length.

According to Gordillo, “[Hannah and I] laughed a lot (and caused a lot of laughter) making our installation in the river. That work included filling our hotel showers with corn husks, then transporting them all to the river, then transporting them back, and finally (!) sitting in the river to sew them all together, with lots of onlookers asking an even larger batch of questions.”

Gordillo was also sculptor-in-residence at Tierra Adentro, the International Poetry Festival of Aguacatan, Guatemala. This year’s festival was dedicated to immigrants and displaced people. Gordillo and Fisher also created a migrating book as part of the festival.