April 20–May 20, 2023


LEILA GREICHE presents the first solo exhibition with Koyoltzintli at the gallery titled Canto Hondo, The Deep Song, from April 20–May 20th, 2023 (Opening reception: April 20th, 2023, 6–8pm)—a collection of works that weave oral tradition, indigenous sound, ritual, and earth practices.

Koyoltzintli re-constructs pre-Columbian instruments live in museums and historical records, reclaiming their sounds and sovereignty through utilizing traditional art to create videos, performances, photographs, public works, and community programming. In making and performing, her body becomes a vessel for primal creative force reaffirming our connection to the earth. She weaves materiality and sound with ancestral technologies.

Red earth sonic altar (2023) consists of red soil in the shape of a vulva with white powder drawn onto the earth’s surface to delineate the inner shape evoking a state of ecstasy, both the release and absorption of it. Along the external membrane of the earth are sets of sticks assembled into tripods, adorned with hickory seeds and acorns collected by Koyoltzintli, cowrie shells, tobacco leaves and sound instruments crafted and played by the artist. The tripods maintain a protective presence of ancestors’, keepers of mystery and placeholders for the water whistles, nasal flutes, and globular flutes are securely placed within the base of the structure. The tripods are situated at the entrance and exit of the vulva / womb space.  Recordings of the instruments’ activation emerge audibly within the gallery space. Sounds of a chant in Tsafiki language, spoken in the western part of the Andean mountains, where the artist is from. The chant is a protection song for children and is harmonized with melodies of the nasal flute, water whistles, an embolo flute, a double chamber frog whistle and a gong. A sonic journey in which the artist encourages the viewer to sit, listen, meditate with the sounds and draw their own interpretation.

The artist has photographed herself in a series of black and white photographs playing different instruments to create what she refers to as a Latinx futurism archive. For example, in Magic Passes (pasos magicos) (2022), the artist plays a trumpet-like instrument, and the sound is held in the stillness of the photograph for the viewers’ imaginative interpretation. This image is inspired by a story the artist heard from her elders that speaks of an entheogenic plant that elicits a heightened state of mind, and the participant releases a sound similar to a trumpet.

Yam Vessel Altar (2023) is the first of a new series devoted to fertility. The yam is a vegetable known for its life-giving properties upon ingestion. The vessel portion above the yams contains small indentations in reference to stones found throughout the Americas. Women are said to anoint the stone’s indentations with blood from their monthly bleeds. Magnolia leaves are ceremonially placed above the altar.

The gourd (2022) is sliced in half, ancestrally, it was used to carry seeds for ceremonial purposes. The ceramic vessel work contains the offering of  annatto seeds. The pigment of the seeds is used in the images of the photographs both coating the background and the skin of the artist.

The largest work in the exhibition shifts the hierarchy of the viewers’ gaze down to the floor. The bed of earth as a nod to the unearthing of venus statues, ancient punic steles and other archaeological matter that our ancestors were buried with. Objects utilized for their healing forces throughout their lifetime whose meaning contained a resonance, an imprint of their existence and for future lineages to receive.

For press and media inquiries, please contact Alison Andrea Lopez at contact.aandrea@gmail.com

Opening Reception: April 20, 2023, 6-8pm
Exhibition hours: By appointment only & Saturdays 11am-5pm

Koyoltzintli (B. 1983, New York, NY) is an interdisciplinary artist, healer, and educator living in the USA. She grew up on the pacific coast and the Andean mountains in Ecuador. She focuses on sound, ancestral technologies, ritual, and storytelling through collaborative processes and personal narratives. Intersectional theories and earth-based healing inform her practice. Nominated for Prix Pictet in 2019, her work has been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, the United Nations, Aperture Foundation in NYC, and Paris Photo, among others. She has been an artist in residence in the US, France, and Italy and has taught at CalArts, SVA, ICP, and CUNY. She has received multiple awards and fellowships, including the Photographic Fellowship at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, the NYFA Fellowship, and the IA grant by the Queens Council of the Arts. Her first monograph Other Stories was published in 2017 by Autograph ABP, and her work was featured in the Native issue of Aperture Magazine (no. 240). In 2021, her work was included in the book Latinx Photography in the United States by Elizabeth Ferrer chief curator at BRIC. In 2022 she is one of the artists in residence at Socrates Sculpture Park and she has been awarded the Latinx Artist Fellowship by US Latinx Art Forum (USLAF).