In 1972 Mariana del Castillo emigrated with her family from Ecuador to Australia. They settled in Sydney above a Greek delicatessen across from the endless blinking neon lights of suburban Kingsford. This openly brash, bright, in your face commercialism stood in contrast to her gothic world of Ambato where religious fervour, guilt and the realisation of hell were forever branded on her young psyche through an endless series of festivals, rituals and observances. There is a depth of displacement that children of migrants carry, and religious standings and convictions can often stand in opposition to the new secular society.
Del Castillo’s crafted curiosities and fetishes step deep into the past of her Incan, African and Spanish ancestry. An intense fascination with Francisco Goya's (1746-1828), Los Caprichos (1799) and Oswaldo Guayasamin’s (1919-1999) figurative commentaries on social inequality hide in the shadows of her installation. Systemic abuses in our society, institutionalised racism and the illusion of domestic perfection run like threads through the underbelly of her practice.
Del Castillo is interested in small stories and the traces left by different events. Objects carry the memory of being handled, the human stain that speaks to the human condition. At the heart of her practice is a commitment to recycling, up-cycling and transforming everyday found objects into building blocks for her sculptures and installations.
Mariana del Castillo is a 2014 artsACT funding recipient.
Except from artist’s statement.
Mariana del Castillo, Scars of a Ritual Past, 2014, found objects, wood, metal, paint, hair, neon lights, installation view, dimensions variable