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Virtual Exhibit Opens September 1, 2020
Curated by Tatiana Flores, Professor, Latino & Caribbean Studies and Art History, Rutgers University
#GenderingProtest   #CWAHvirtual

Virtual Artist’s Lecture
Thursday, October 29, 2020 from 5:30-6:30pm (EST) on Zoom



Warning: Exhibition & Event recording contains nudity and explicit language.


The Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities is pleased to present the virtual exhibition, Gendering Protest: Deborah Castillo and Érika Ordosgoitti, which features the work of two exiled Venezuelan artists whose art responds to the country’s political turmoil of the last decade.

The work of Castillo and Ordosgoitti carries a distinctly feminist form of social protest, relying on performative acts and activating the body in daring ways so as to challenge, not only the current political regime, but also heteronormative patriarchal culture and canonical Venezuelan aesthetics. In Venezuela’s economic heyday, geometric abstraction and architectural modernism were regarded as emblems of progress and prosperity. They eclipsed profound economic inequality and worsening social problems. As conditions deteriorated, abstraction was thrown into crisis, but Venezuela did not have a strong tradition of protest art. It was the task of artists in the twenty-first century to forge new directions. Castillo and Ordosgoitti do so by presenting a strong female body and imbuing her with agency, revealing a conviction in the power of art to effect social change.

Based in Brooklyn, New York, Deborah Castillo (b. 1971) has exhibited widely across Latin America, the United States, and Europe. A graduate of the Armando Reverón University Institute of Plastic Arts in Caracas, she has held residencies at Franklin Furnace, the Hemispheric Institute, and the London Print Studio. She is the subject of the recently published e-book Deborah Castillo: Radical Disobedience, published by HemiPress. Érika Ordosgoitti (b. 1980) is a graduate of the Armando Reverón University Institute of Plastic Arts. She received the AICA award for young artists in Venezuela in 2016 and the MISOL Foundation award for young artists in Bogota in 2014. She has had solo exhibitions in Caracas and Bogota and participated in group exhibitions in Europe and Latin America.



Woman licking a book.
Deborah Castillo – Artist Statement

I look at the different forms of radical disobedience that question power and authority structures, and the use of the body as a resistance instrument. I aim to deconstruct the figure of the hero and the patriarch in its various historical transfigurations, trying to stage its multiple returns: the hero is not only the caudillo, but also the father of the nation and the weight of the nation in each singular body. My work is a political statement that questions the glorification of the figures of power by challenging his masculinity and the apparent stability of its ideological significance.

Black and white image of woman speaking with ropes around her neck.
Érika Ordosgoitti – Artist Statement

Freedom is my commitment to life. It’s the most important value that moves me. I walk towards freedom knowing that absolute value does not exist and will never be achieved. Freedom doesn’t exist, there are only free actions from people that can eventually become free. The images I create are achieved through the symbolic framework that lies within them. I want to avoid representation, and thus I prefer to work with the iconography that the environment offers, these images of icons synthesize the idiosyncrasy of the society of which I’m a part of, the one that I make up and which makes me.



Warning: Exhibition contains nudity and explicit language.


* Gendering Protest was on view from January 21 – March 11, 2020, in the Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series Galleries, Douglass Library, until it was closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If possible, the in person exhibition will reopen during the spring 2021 semester. The Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series is a program of CWAH in partnership with Rutgers University Libraries.

The exhibition and event are sponsored by the Center for Cultural Analysis; Center for Latin American Studies; Department of Art History; Douglass Residential College; Rutgers Global; and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Co-sponsors include: RUL Art Library, Center for Latino Arts and Culture; Department of Arts and Design; Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies; Department of Women’s & Gender Studies; Institute for Research on Women; Institute for Women’s Leadership; Zimmerli Art Museum. The online exhibition and event are part of the 2020-2021 CWAH Virtual series.