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Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Doris Salcedo: “Plegaria Muda”

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation was a proud supporter of the 25-year survey exhibition of Colombian artist Doris Salcedo at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago. Doris Salcedo’s work is deeply rooted in the profound trauma of Colombia’s violent history. In Colombia today there are an estimated 50,000 missing people, or desaparecidos (the disappeared). In response to this situation, Salcedo based much of her work on the testimonies of specific individuals recalling real events, giving voice to the survivors for whom tragedies are part of daily existence and a presence to those who are absent.

The exhibition was preceded by a site-specific public project and intervention by Salcedo that opened in October 2014. The project was an outdoor installation dealing with gun violence in Chicago, in partnership with organizations located in a Chicago neighborhood most impacted by gun violence. Salcedo visited Chicago to meet with mothers of children killed by gunfire, like Annette Holt, former gang members, frontline groups like CeaseFire, and Chicago-based national experts like writer/sociologist Alex Kotlowitz and blogger Audrey Phillips. Gun violence is a prevalent issue in Chicago; most of the 512 individuals murdered in 2012 were murdered with a gun. Transformed by her sculptures, installations, and public interventions, the testimonies collected by Salcedo will become abstracted, universal monuments to human nature’s capacity for violence.