Erika Diettes

Reliquaries


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Mixed media
(rubber tri polymer)
11.8 x 11.8 x 4.7 in

Reliquaries

Antioquia, Colombia
2011-2015

The newest creation from Diettes, Relicarios — still in process — explores sculpture. A set of cubes that could also be called packaging or capsules, are arranged on the floor as though they were graves.

The cubes are 30 x 30 cm. x 12 cm. high. They are made of rubber tripolymer, a gluelike substance that is transparent when submerged. Embedded in them are garments and objects that, as in the Rio Abajo project, belonged to the disappeared, treasured by their mothers and other family members like relics. But in this case the objects have been delivered permanently to the artist in order to give them "a dignified resting place,” in the words of one family member delivering objects (Diettes archive).

Relatives of victims traveled from Choco, Uraba, Antioquia, and other parts of Colombia to bequeath these things that would show the world their pain and what they had lost. What makes aperson give up something he or she has saved for years, sometimes fifteen or twenty years or passed through generations, that first fed the hope of a possible return and that achieved the status of heirloom? They are the garments that were in contact with the bodies of the missing, garments that are infused with the aura and the smells that carry a sensitive memory.

What is it that causes these people to travel long hours to ritualistically bid farewell to these beloved items that have represented their hope that their loved ones were still alive, in order to bury them, definitively, as though they were being interred in a temple, thereby also giving up that hope?

 

 
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