Guadalupe Maravilla, Disease Thrower #14, 2021. Cast aluminum, steel tubing, assorted welded details, 86 × 143 × 79 inches (218.4 × 363.2 × 200.7 cm). Courtesy of Guadalupe Maravilla and P.P.O.W, New York. Photo by Wes Magyar. © Guadalupe Maravilla
Guadalupe Maravilla (b. 1976 in El Salvador) combines sculpture, painting, performative acts, and large-scale installation to create artworks grounded in activism and healing, informed by his personal story of migration, illness, and recovery. At the age of eight, Maravilla fled El Salvador’s civil war and made a perilous journey through Central America to reunite with family in the United States. In the 2010s, Maravilla recovered from cancer—an illness he links to the trauma he experienced as a child—and was introduced to ancient methods of healing, including the use of sound. He has worked tirelessly to expand access to healing and nurture collective narratives of trauma into celebrations of perseverance and humanity.
In summer 2023, the ICA Watershed will feature a newly commissioned, immersive installation by Maravilla centered around a “healing bus,” the first of its kind. Mirroring the artist’s own migration route, the bus will travel from El Salvador to Mexico and ultimately arrive in the United States for its presentation and activation at the ICA Watershed. Building upon his iconic Disease Throwers series, Maravilla will work with local artisans, mechanics, and technicians in Mexico City to transform an ordinary school bus into an otherworldly sculpture evocative of animals, spirits, and plants. Through the addition of a series of gongs, this sculpture will become the largest vibrational healing instrument in the world. During the exhibition, the ICA Watershed will host a number of sound baths performed by Maravilla and a group of sound healers in addition to offering a robust set of free programs centered on healing and organized in partnership with local organizations.