Regina Prado’s long career as a social commentator
Posted on April - 5 - 2017
Photo courtesy: the artist
Regina Prado awaits with a welcoming smile, willing to share her work as well as a cup of coffee. As she opens her scrapbook, more that 40 years of work unravel from the pages filled with drawings, sketches and prints, all bearing witness to the evolution of her work. From her beginnings in watercolor figurations to her transition into abstraction and conceptual works due to the influence of Danny Schaffer, her art has always remained faithful to her keen observational prowess and her critical output.
Since the 60’s Prado has been developing her artistic abilities and has produced works that revolve mainly around the subjects of violence, contamination and the uncertainties that strike and have a direct impact on many lives that are under constant strain. As a prolific commentator, Regina has worked with a wide array of media, ranging from paintings and sculptures to photography, video, and installations. She asserts that although her work has progressed and has taken new manifestations, her subject is the driving force behind them, and that has remained constant throughout her life.
When asked about her work and what the intention is behind it, Regina replies, with an intense tone in her voice, “I can say that all of my work mainly revolves around social critique”. In a country that is in constant turmoil, the works of artists like Regina play a significant role in stimulating awareness and pronouncing social discontent through engaging artworks.
While speaking to Regina, she speaks in superlatives in a calm and composed manner; her feat is not an easy one. Her aim is to look for those objects that sometimes go unnoticed in the daily activities, but that somehow absorb and become the deposits and manifestation of the different afflictions that people choose to ignore, out of resilience or apathy until they become part of the urban landscape.
When asked about this, Regina affirms, “My aim is to create a consciousness and generate a dialogue that addresses the neutrality with which we manage to make them “invisible.” To bring into a formal level, Regina takes conventional construction materials and highlights the aggressiveness that they manifest and the different connotations it can have. Razor ribbon and wire mesh become the protagonists in the composition, distilling hostility and elucidating the distances that these materials create between people and public spaces. In her series Libertad Condicionada, Eufemismo, Fetiche and Ora Pro Nobis, Regina uses these materials as the primary medium in her installations, videos or photographs.
As a forward observer and fierce critic, Regina finds that the key to creating collective consciousness comes from communications and that in this world, plagued with new communication platforms, exchanges have become somewhat of an oddity. Reminiscing about the past, where ideas and intimate conversations took place “over coffee,” she took upon herself to create a collage of the prints that were left behind by the coffee cups over long talks among her family members. In her series entitled Dialogues, the artist reflects intimately about the importance of communication, in a time span that is unaffected by the rampant intensity of today’s fast-paced society. “I intended to motivate dialogue to improve the community,” she says warmly about the project.
As an inexhaustible artist, Regina’s voice is not withered by time, and with each year, her work continues to thrive and take on new shapes. She proves to be an example of the artist whose production is interlaced with her views and opinions about the world. Her work is an asset to Guatemala, and has accompanied its progression through more than 40 years, and to the curious observer, it brings new perspectives and shared views on the urban landscape and social situation.
By: Gabriela Martinez de la Hoz