Carlos Martiel | Cauce/Riverbed
Curated By Marisa Caichiolo
In his work “Cauce/Riverbed,” the artist exposes the significant challenges faced by immigrants in California and the larger United States. Martiel digs deep into the nature of undocumented immigration and shows how it impacts the lives of some eleven million individuals and their families in the world’s most powerful nation.

His performance is a window to the human tragedy that grossly affects immigrants with low-education levels and limited English language skills, who come to the United States risking their lives as they venture into the dangerous desert in an attempt to cross the Mexico-US border. As Martiel shows, despite the highly-publicized “American Dream,” for these poor and uneducated immigrants, making it alive into US territory does not necessarily guarantee access to better opportunities or to a higher quality of life.

The artist’s performance also establishes parallelisms between the immigration struggle faced by millions of undocumented individuals and the continued drought that has triggered severe economic and environmental damage in California. Drought may be due solely to weather conditions or due to a combination of political and economic factors as well as population size and farming.

Carlos Martiel is a Cuban performance artist whose work provides heavy criticism on the ethics of the world, its history and its behavior through provocative and raw performances that explore the nature of existence, social barriers and cultural traditions.

At the heart of Martiel’s work are powerful performances that raise questions about the way different societies have treated ethnic minorities and outsiders throughout history.

But these works also defy established values and draw attention to other pressing issues, such as the political and culturally motivated censorship and persecution present in many countries across the globe, particularly in his native Cuba. To this end, he uses physical expressions that evoke rituals and ceremonial procedures.