2024 Exhibition Artist

Elyla (Chontales, 1989; they/them) is a performance artist and activist from Central America, Nicaragua. Their work deals with creating resistance to colonial, imperialist, and Western ideologies around the construction of identity politics and nation-state cultural narratives, specifically as it relates to mestizaje, queerness (cochoneidad), and indigenous ancestry. Elyla has presented their work at the IX/X Biennial of Nicaragua, IX/X Central American Biennials, and the XII Biennial of Havana, Cuba and is part of the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia curated by Adriano Pedrosa. The artist coined the term barro-mestiza to take distance from the traditional and colonial understanding of mestizaje during their ongoing process of decolonization. The artist’s early work dealt with contesting the patriarchal and repressive narratives upheld by the Latin American left and its effect on gender and sexually diverse people. In 2013, Elyla co-founded the Operación Queer/Cochona collective that blurred the limits between academia, art, and activism creating interventions in Mesoamerica. Their project Machete Dress was a grant recipient of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) 16th annual Grants & Commissions Program. Their work is part of the permanent collection at the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, the Ortiz-Gurdian Art Foundation, KADIST videoart collection and private collectors around the world. Their work has been shown throughout Latin America, North America, Canada, Europe, and Asia. They currently live and work in Masaya, Nicaragua.