María Evelia Marmolejo, 11 de marzo, 1981,
photo: Camilo Gomez Maria
María Evelia Marmolejo
11 de marzo

According to the Colombian scholar María Iovino, in 1981 María Evelia Marmolejo (*1958 Colombia) created the first feminist performance art piece in Colombia "11 de Marzo" (March 11th), an action with menstrual blood. A graduate of visual arts from Instituto Departamental de Bellas Artes in Cali, Marmolejo was influenced by the body art movement of the 1970s. Her ritualistic performances "Anónimos 1, 2 y 4" (Anonymous 1, 2 and 4, 1981-82) involve self-mutilation and psychophysical experimentations with organic matters such as blood, human placentas, urine and earth. Her practices often have a healing aspect and involve medical paraphernalia such as gauze, adhesive bandages and menstrual pads. Marmolejo’s production of strong imagery evokes and responds to Colombia’s recent and past history. In "America" (1985), performed at Plaza Colón, Madrid, Spain, Marmolejo proposed an act of mourning for the 500th anniversary of the ‘discovery’ of the Americas, thus reminding the death of 64 million Native Americans between ‘the conquest’ and colonial times.

Evelia Marmolejo offers the following description of her work 11 de marzo: “Using my menstrual fluid, something unique and exclusive to the female being, naked and with several pads stuck to my body, I perform a dance. With my pubis I draw stains and lines of blood on the wall and I let drops of menstrual blood fall on the ground.”

Performance: 1981, Galería San Diego, Bogotá

Courtesy María Evelia Marmolejo

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femininity, inscription, nature, ritual