Colombia / Toronto
In 2020, Cecilia Araneda spoke with Julieta María as part of a multi-year curatorial research project on Latin Canadian cinema. This is a brief extract of her research.
Julieta Maria is a Toronto-based Colombian new media artist with an MFA from York University. She works with a variety of media, including video, interactive video installations and web. Her recent work has been centered on video documentation of staged actions, exploring the experience of violence as an intrusion in the everyday relationship between the subject and the world. María has participated in several international screenings and exhibitions, including Scope Basel in Switzerland in 2010, the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics in Colombia in 2009, and the Interactiva Biennale in Mexico 2009, among others. | julietamaria.com
Like many of her Latin-Canadian filmmaker counterparts who immigrated to Canada as adults, Julieta María came to reinvent herself. An engineer by education, María was able to use her education and work experience to obtain permanent residency in Canada, which gave her a pathway to study art at York University, as pursuing studies in Canada as a foreign student was beyond her financial reach. At York University, she would also begin to experiment in video and performance art traditions rooted within it.
María is not the only filmmaker in Canada who started on a pathway of engineering before switching to filmmaking – that I know of, there is fellow Colombian-Canadian filmmaker Pablo Álvarez-Mesa and also Alexandre Larose. They all share technical specificity and conceptual approaches to their art practices.
Living in the small city of Barranquilla, Colombia, María focused primarily on photography and painting as an artist, though the overall conditions in that country – including the segregations of social class and other social expectations – did not allow for her to pursue her art practice as much as she wished. The process of coming to Canada gave her more freedoms, but it also gave her a strong new definition an immigrant, which has come to envelope her art practice in Canada.
Like most of her Latin Canadian filmmaker counterparts, María focuses her art practice not on her experience in Canada, but rather on how her experience in Canada has shaped her perception of both Latin America and who she was before Canada. Specifically, the distance and time away from Colombia has also enabled her to meditate more on who she was when she was in Colombia; “once you are alone, you start remembering things from away – from another time.”
Although her formal art education is from Canada, María is primarily influenced by Colombian artists. In her art practice, she dialogues with both the modern visual art canon of Colombia and its recent history of paramilitary violence, which extends beyond actions onto the human body to embed itself into landscape and territory.
- Redbird and other birds – 12:52 mins, 2019
- Nostalgia for my Pier / Nostalgia de mi muelle – 2018, 12:22 mins
- Salting the Earth / Salar la tierra – 2018, 4:55 mins
- Embrace – 2012, 2 mins
- Limpia – 2013, 2:25 mins
- Bird (Exercises in Faith series) – 2010, 1:53 mins
- Soil (Exercises in Faith series) – 2010, 3:54 mins
- Cut (Exercises in Faith series) – 2010, 5:56 mins
- Plant (Exercises in Faith series) – 2010, 9:12 mins
- Getting There (Precarious Landscapes series) – 2015, 8:18 mins
- Fire (Precarious Landscapes series) – 2011, 3:53 mins
- Findings – 2007, 8:43 mins
- Sea of Words – 2004, 2 mins
- On Water – 2003, 5:13 mins
- Unknown – 2002, 2:54 mins
Some works are available for viewing on Julieta María’s Vimeo site.