Ximena Garrido-Lecca said that her work discusses the more recent history of her homeland, Peru. Spanish colonialism, eradicating the indigenous pagan beliefs of the native people. Beliefs that were focused on the continuation of death as a part of life, commonly burying dead relatives beneath the family home, (less commonly, preserving the bodies of the dead and not burying them) and offering objects of the living to the graves of the dead, such as food and drinks. The Spanish forcefully enforced Catholicism and brought other negative impacts to society including disease. Despite the efforts of the Spanish, the total eradication of indigenous paganism failed and instead produced sub-strands of religion.
‘I see The Followers as a social monument’
The high art context of the gallery is what raises discussion, but the people named on the graves are all fictional characters, some based on existing graves in Peru and some entirely fictionalization. The maintenance of the work is a big part of its function, such as changing the flowers in a more true-to-life staggered rotation and not all simultaneously.
‘That is why it is called ‘The followers’ because it’s much about the living and their relationship with the dead’
source: Andrea Foenander
video: Ximena Garrido-Lecca prepares for Frieze (Sep 7 2011)