Artists in Wittenberger Weg

2021: Naomi Rincón Gallardo

The Mexican artist Naomi Rincón Gallardo will be a resident at Wittenberger Weg in September/October 2021 as part of the stipend.

Totonacan relief featuring the rain god Tlaloc, Central America. Totonacan culture existed c. 400–700 CE in the southern Mayan area. By courtesy of the Hetjens Museum, Düsseldorf

Tlaloc in Düsseldorf

He holds the sky and brings the rains. He is both earth and water, his body is a mountain, the tip of his head is made out of clouds, his skirt is formed from rain drops. He does not reside in the underworld, but is himself the underworld. People would offer him the hearts of children as a way to reciprocate for the water that makes life blossom. He is both male and female. He holds a snake in his hand. The snake is a thunder that cracks the sky open. It is said that thunders and snakes are guardians of territories against thieves, invaders, and menace. He is known as Tlaloc. He has been abducted and taken to Düsseldorf. Now he is gauging the extent of his revenge and loading up his thunder with fury.

By mixing and matching bastardised Mesoamerican cosmologies, DYI props, costumes and references to Mexican horror B movies, Naomi Rincón Gallardo crafts a trans-temporal queer decolonial story of the figure of the Nahua rain god Tlaloc that resides at the Hetjens Museum for Ceramics in Düsseldorf.

The Tlaloc relief in a display case with Mesoamerican ceramics, Hetjens-Museum Düsseldorf


Naomi Rincón Gallardo (b. 1979 in North Carolina, USA) lives in Mexico City.

She studied fine arts, education, culture, language, literature and community arts in Mexico. She completed her MA at Goldsmiths College in London and her dissertation at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Rincón Gallardo sees research as an artistic and transdisciplinary invention and her work deals with counter-worlds in the neo-colonial environment. She uses masks and absurd situations to create space between radical utopian experiences, fantasy and the crises of traditional ideas. Rincón Gallardo integrates her interest in music, theatre, speculative fiction, feminisms, critical education and community projects into her work. In 2020, her work was shown at Kunstraum Innsbruck and the Berlin Biennale.

Still from Oppossum Resilience, 2019; photo: Claudia López Terroso