<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-PWMWG4" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">
40 Under 40 USA 2023

Gala Porras-Kim

25 September 2023

Los Angeles

Should we respect the spiritual beliefs of ancient peoples whose bodies now lie in museums? This question is a primary focus for the Colombian-born, Los Angeles-based artist Gala Porras-Kim, who explores how institutional frameworks can define and legitimise cultural heritage. In A terminal escape from the place that binds us (2021), Porras-Kim attempted to use an ancient form of ink-based divination to contact spirits whose human remains are now in the National Museum of Gwangju in South Korea. The aim: to ask them about their preferred resting place. The resulting large panel of swirling marbled paper appeared in a 2022 exhibition at Gasworks in London, in which she also reproduced ancient Egyptian and Nubian artefacts from the British Museum in more culturally-sensitive forms – a replica sarcophagus given a turntable in order to rotate towards the spiritually-significant direction intended at burial, for instance. Her drawings and sculptures have been shown at the Liverpool Biennial (2023), Gwangju Biennale (2021), the São Paulo Biennial (2021), the Whitney Biennial (2019) and in institutions such as the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City and the Fowler Museum, Los Angeles.

See more 40 Under 40 USA Artists