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Mariana Castillo Deball
Amarantus
Finissage and edition

The exhibition “Amarantus” is the first solo presentation of the complete works of Mariana Castillo Deball in Germany. On the last day of the exhibition an Artist Talk with Mariana Castillo Deball, Paz Guevara (curator Kuratorin, HKW Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin) and director Thomas Thiel will take place.

For MGKSiegen, Deball has developed a new work in recent months that deals with the “Silver Baptismal Bowl of Siegen”. The object is directly related to colonial trade history in the 17th century and was donated to the local Nikolai Church by Prince Johann Moritz of Nassau-Siegen. The artist's edition “Amarantus” is now on display in the exhibition of the same name, can already be pre-ordered via the online store and will also be available in the museum store at the finissage on August 8.

Mariana Castillo Deball
Amarantus, 2021

A chicken with a man’s head, a dragon, a tiger and a lama escaped from the ornamental rim of the “Silver Baptismal Bowl of Siegen”, becoming Amaranth figures. Free from the stiff and cold metal surface, now they are soft, malleable and edible.
Amarantus means in Greek an imaginary flower that never dies. Amaranth is also one of the most important pseudocereals that Mexican people eat, and it is also an ingredient related to different rituals. Amaranth seeds, in Nahuatl huahtli, were mixed with black maguey syrup. After it was kneaded, an idol was made of that dough called Ixiptla. These figural representations were embodiments of the sacred and not just a representational substitute. Amaranth was forbidden by the Spanish during colonial times because of the ritualistic connections.
Prince Johann Moritz of Nassau-Siegen brought the “Silver Baptismal Bowl of Siegen” as a gift for the Nikolaikirche in 1658. The silver bowl was made in Peru around 1586, later came to Africa and Brazil in the context of economic exchange and the slave trade.
In 1630 the Dutch West India company sent Johan Maurits Count of Nassau Siegen as governor to Brazil, to perpetuate the transatlantic sugar and slave trade.
Commercial contact with African monarchs were important for Europeans to gain access to the market in gold, ivory and people. Johan Maurits invested in trade relations with the Congolese King Garcia II, who also benefited from this alliance as he wanted to drive the Portuguese out of his country. Garcia II presented the silver bowl to Johan Maurits to cement mutual cooperation.  
During this time thousands of people were kidnapped from the west coast of Africa to Brazil. From there goods such as sugar, Brazilwood, cochineal, coffee beans and tobacco were transported to Europe.

Packaging printed in datagraf de México.
Amaranth biscuits production: Azul Ehrenberg, Ayami Amazuhara, David Reiber Otálora.
Produced in the context of the exhibition “Amarantus” at Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen.
Edition of 100

Exhibition at MGKSiegen: 29.1–8.8.2021

SUN. 8.8. 5pm
Finissage and Artist Talk with Mariana Castillo Deball, Paz Guevara (curator Kuratorin, HKW Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin) and director Thomas Thiel

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Mariana Castillo Deball, Amarantus, 2021, artist edition

Mariana Castillo Deball, Amarantus, 2021, artist edition

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