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El Rey gick ovan el Rainbow blev en vacker Rosa, festmåltid på Ekekas Mantel

El Rey gick ovan el Rainbow blev en vacker Rosa, fest måltid på Ekekas Mantel is a large-scale installation and performance work by Valeria Montti Colque, commissioned by Public Art Agency Sweden for Örebro OpenArt.

Valeria Montti Colque is known for creating image-worlds where new tales are allowed to emerge and where ritual-like performances open up space for forms of togetherness and belonging. Her inspiration comes from everywhere borrowing from everyday life as well as from myths, religions, rituals, and pop culture. She creates characters that take over places, and assembles objects, images, symbols and stories from both the Andean worldview and from all walks of life, casting them into new constellations and investing them with new meaning and significance. Coming herself from multiple roots – born in Sweden but part of the Chilean and Latin American diaspora – she strives to create a space where one can jump out of the everyday skin, let go of established norms and positions, and be allowed to be who they are or want to be.

In Örebro the artist enters into dialogue with the statue of Karl XIV Johan, a landmark in the city, but also a symbol of hierarchy and power. The statue is transformed into La Ekeka – a goddess created by the artist, referencing the Andean god that brings prosperity to the people. The place behind the sculpture is transformed too. It has become a new public space for both common activities, as well as for rest and contemplation, with a 13-colour rainbow inspired by Relmu –rainbow in Mapuche language that was created in a collective action by about 500 Mapuche weavers in an effort to set a world record for weaving during the pandemic. It is surrounded by flower constellations and adorned with many other things on the ground and in the air. The transformation of the place wouldn’t be complete without its initiation rite. Carried out by Montti Colque herself and the small army of her characters, a joyous procession makes its way towards the transformed statue, pulling carts with what seem to be parts of a mountain. Upon arrival the public is invited to join in dressing the mountain with images and objects that have been sent by people in Örebro and beyond. A memory-mountain, or a wak’a – a sacred man-made object or natural boulder or mountain, found in the beliefs of the Andean people – is created from this common effort. Containing the memories and life-glimpses of the many people that donated them, the wak’a/mountain is placed on a raft right in front of Ekeka’s mantle, and a festive meal is shared with everyone around, be they participants, viewers or the curious birds that usually hang around at the spot.

As with most of Montti Colques art, El Rey gick ovan el Rainbow blev en vacker Rosa, fest måltid på Ekekas Mantel is a love song to diversity and transformation, where feelings and emotions are given shape through colors, fragrances and sounds. But most of all, at the core of this colorful and amazing universe of hers, stands a longing to celebrate the beauty and the richness of the world in its continuous transformation.

El Rey gick ovan el Rainbow blev en vacker Rosa, fest måltid på Ekekas Mantel, is the start of “All my relations” – a new series of art projects developed by Public Art Agency Sweden that together with various artistic practices explores the potential of ritual to open up space for forms of togetherness and belonging.