For Catalina’s Time is a time-based series of photographs and footage by anthropologist and filmmaker Sandra Luz Barroso. The exhibit is complemented by ten pieces of graphic work made by Oaxacan artists titled ARTEZA (Trough). The exhibition is part of the process of completing the documentary ARTEMIO (2017) by Sandra Luz Barroso.
This project documents a decade of field work in the Costa Chica of Oaxaca, Mexico, where a number of communities of African descent live. Little research had been done in such communities and their social and community practices changed with the pressures of modernization and migration. Doña Catalina was an elderly woman who maintained traditional knowledge in the form of songs, stories of origin, culinary and medicinal practices. As ethnographer and visual anthropologist Sandra Luz Barroso spent several years doing field work in these communities where she developed a closer elationship with the subject of this exhibit.
“As an anthropologist I decided to research the history of their songs (son de artesa), transmitted via oral tradition by using audiovisual means. I met Catalina Noyola Bruno who told me stories of origin, of her people and of the son de artesa. I collected the stories and taped the songs without a final objective. Catalina passed away a few months after our last encounter, then I decided to focus on visual narratives to support the ethnographic studies of these communities.
For me, the Costa Chica is where I discovered that the sea has a name, a female name. I met a woman, Catalina, who danced, sang, and told the most beautiful sonnets I had ever heard. She spoke about walking around the world making what your heart dictates, and enjoying every day as the last one. She not only spoke, she embodied such words in her fragile figure of a woman that did not know how old it was. This far away land, in which the turtles go to nest, where a pond gives you light of many colors, where the sand sparkles at night, is magic.
I was fortunate to get to know Catalina in her last years, being the person who was there to hear her stories and memories drives me to share them with more people. Sharing my experiences with her, the spaces, and the communities one inhabits makes you whole.”
Sandra Luz Barroso