This exhibitions asks us, “Could contemporary México become a pioneer in the extreme eradication of poverty? As Mexicans, what can we do about this reality? Can contemporary art propose an alternative?” During his residency at Duke University, Daniel Aguilar Ruvalcaba seeks to create this site-specific installation, engage with Duke scholars, and participate in several special events.
Poverty, according to the UN, is a question of human rights. Poverty manifests in different ways, whether it’s hunger, malnutrition, lack of housing, or limited access to essential services like education or healthcare. Some calculate that c. 11% of the world’s population lives in poverty, especially in the region of Southern Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. That is to say that more than 780 million people survive with less than 1.90 daily dollars. According to the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (2018), however, Mexico is home to an alarming 52.4 million people that live in extreme poverty.
The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to put an end to poverty in all of its forms, everywhere in the world. Is it possible to achieve this objective ten years before that? Could contemporary México become a pioneer in the extreme eradication of poverty? As Mexicans, what can we do about this reality? Can contemporary art propose an alternative?
Who Owns Poverty in México? Is the story of the one question about poverty we never thought to ask: who owns it? It’s a question with an unexpected answer, one that challenges everything that we thought we knew about what poverty is, and what we can do about it.
This show is for governments, development NGOs, charities, dreamers, thinkers, doers and leaders who are frustrated with limiting their aspirations to reducing poverty or alleviating its effects —and the lack of progress we face in doing either. This is an effort to unleash the trapped energy of poor families and a push towards the unthinkable: the elimination of poverty in México, once and for all.
Who? The ones who own the problem and consequently, own the solution.
About the Artist
Born in León in 1988, Daniel Aguilar Ruvalcaba is a contemporary artist currently based in Mexico City. He is the founder of Biquini Wax EPS, an interdependent contemporary art space in Mexico City. His work not only concerns one’s perception of reality, but actually attempts to produce reality. In his words, “I explore the connections, tensions and disputes between images, economics, and desire.” In some of his most recent works, he asks: “How to suspend the fall of the Mexican Peso using Photoshop CS5? How to make New New Mexican pesos? How to clone Carlos Slim (the richest man in Mexico)?” By engaging the surreal, Aguilar’s work invites viewers to consider reality in a different light.
Mexico-City based artist Daniel Aguilar Ruvalcaba will be in-residence in the Ruby to transform the gallery into a space that questions how contemporary art can be used to understand extreme economic realities.