Tatiana Arocha: Mama Coca

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Hojas en movimiento sobre el fuego [Leaves in motion over the fire], 2023. Soft Ground etching on Hahnemühle and pigment print on Kozo paper, hand-painted with acrylic. Triptych, each 35 1/4 x 26 1/2 inches. Photograph by Etienne Frossard

Tatiana Arocha is a Brooklyn-based artist whose practice has focused on installations that include rubbings, photographs, and drawings of plants and landscapes taken from the many ecological niches of her native Colombia. Increasingly, her art and advocacy have focused on the coca plant, notorious for its role in the war on drugs, which has destroyed indigenous communities and their territories across South America. Informed by her research, her current installations and publications highlight the coca plant’s ceremonial role in the indigenous cultures that cultivate it, pushing back on the demonization it has endured in the West. Her work also suggests new avenues for how the plant can be a force for good in the Global North and South.

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