Nohemí Pérez
Cóndores sin vida, Incendio en la casa de la zarigüeya, 2022

Photo: Courtesy the Artist
Photo: Courtesy the Artist

Charcoal and embroidery on fabric
220 x 150 cm 

Nohemí Pérez investigates the complex relationship between human ambition, violence, and the depletion of nature in her native Catatumbo region between Colombia and Venezuela. Catatumbo is the scene of longstanding conflicts whose convergence creates a highly explosive environment characteristic of contemporary Latin America: armed paramilitary groups, Indigenous peoples, evangelical missionaries, large multinational mining corporations, and drug traffickers cohabit this embattled jungle region, reflecting the complexity of this frontier area. According to Human Rights Watch, conflicts over controlling access to Venezuela, and the vast coca fields for drug production in the region have spun out of control since 2018. 

Pérez uses charcoal—a reference to mining extractivism—on large raw canvas. Through this medium she reflects on the exploitation of mineral resources along with the violence and loss it unleashes. In Cóndores sin vida (Condors without life), the artist’s subject is Colombia’s national bird, the Andean condor, also called the sun’s messenger by Indigenous people, which is critically endangered in the Andes. The Colombian gracile mouse opossum is the protagonist of Incendio en la casa de la zarigüeya (Fire in the opossum house). Its natural habitat in the subtropical moist lowland forest—an area that also used to be abundant in birds, reptiles, insects, and plant species—is being destroyed by regular wildfires. In an effort to highlight the current state of deforestation and the depletion of natural landscapes, the artist adds unfinished embroidered figures of animals and tree shapes to the work. With this ornamental gesture, Pérez addresses reparation and expresses her deep roots in the territory she aims to defend. She describes her research and pictorial process as an inner necessity to retrace this landscape of origin through her personal emotional ties and memories, and to draw new symbolic and geographic maps that picture the realities of Catatumbo, allowing herself to appear on the stage of reconstruction and peace-making.


Group show: Remedios
Venue: C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Córdoba
Curator: Daniela Zyman
Exhibition 14 April 2023 -  March 2024

Born in Tibú, Colombia, in 1964. Lives in Bogotá, Colombia.