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MEMENTO VITAE – MEMENTO MORI SERIES
Daniel Hernández-Salazar challenges everyone who thinks that beauty in arts can only be explained within the so-called aesthetic conventions, and urges us to also explore beauty in the fields of truth revelation, historical clarification and social justice.
The works fm this series are not an exception of such a call. Their history goes far beyond the darkroom, as they collect thirty years of practice of documental and artistic photography. Conceived in photojournalism and transfigured by a deep reflection, these works represent Hernández-Salazar’s humanist and internal response to the horror of war crimes. Each and every one, masterly created in the traditional photographic art and craft, has become an emotive testimony.
As said by scholar Steven Hoelscher, Daniel’s artworks defy the common criticism of aesthetic or art-like photography of atrocity, making clear their own constructedness by putting together multiple images and connecting the testimony with the symbolism. His famous angels—now universal, certainly are the best example. While using the iconographic representation of a messenger (the angel), its bone-made wings—the scapulae from an actual victim from one of many massacres in Guatemala, provide the evidence of a troubled past.
Poignant but candid, Daniel’s creativity embraces the commitment to make art creation a factor for social change. As a photographer, an artist, a documenter, a humanist or all of those, he feels obligated to share with us his vision of the past to enlighten a better future. He feels compelled to open our eyes up to the truth.
Extract from a text by Oscar Iván Maldonado.
DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ SALAZAR (1956)
Lives and works in Guatemala.
His interest on photography began during his childhood. Later it became a passion when he studied Architecture. During the 1980’s Guatemalan civil war, he worked as photojournalist for international agencies such as Agence France Presse, Reuters and the Associated Press. Hernández-Salazar presently works as an Independent Photographer, focusing his interests on portrait, nudes, architecture and historical memory—the last becoming his main topic of work and activism.
Daniel remains loyal to the practice of analogue photography and darkroom, which he has never abandoned. He is one of a few still practicing and teaching this technique. Although he masters digital equipment and techniques.
His work has been presented in more than 30 solo exhibitions and more than 40 group shows in North, Central and South America, Europe, Japan and Korea. For his artistic work in service of Human Rights he received in 1998 the Jonathan Mann Humanitas Award from the International Association of Physicians in Aids Care, and was named Knight and Officer of the Ordre Des Artes et des Lettres by the French Government in 2005 and 2017. Part of his oeuvre has been published in two personal anthologies by Kage Shobo, (Tokio, 2006) and University of Texas Press (Austin, 2007), and has been featured in a number of art, academic and news publications, including the New York Times LENS Blog, Harpers, 6Mois, among others.
Since November 2012, his work is included in the permanent collection of the Kazerne Dossin Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in Mechelen, Belgium. On September 2014 he was appointed curator and designer of his own photo exhibition Genocide Dismissed, Guatemala a Silenced Tragedypresented at that Museum until March 2015.
Currently he works in his project “se re(v)bela” which has been exhibited on 2016 in Guatemala City and in 2017 in Quetzaltenango.
Represented in Belgium by Verbeeck-Van Dyck Gallery in Antwerp.
- Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, France. 2017, in recognition to his artistic creation work in service of Human rights.
- Chevallier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, France. 2005, in recognition to his artistic creation work in service of Human Rights.
- Asuza-Sho Award to the book: “Guatemala Memory of an Angel: Work in progress of Daniel Hernández-Salazar. Japan, 2005.
- Jonathan Mann Humanitas Award. International Association of Physicians in Aid’s Care. Chicago 1998. Recognizing his inspirational work, which has helped shed light on more than 37,000 human Rights violation in Guatemala.
- Replica of the Nobel Peace Prize Medal given by Rigoberta Menchú, Nobel Peace Prize 1992. Recognizing his photo journalistic work.
- Third Prize, Emancipation and Identity of Latin America contest, Quito, Ecuador, 1992.
- First Prize, black & white photo, VI Art Biennial, Guatemala, 1990.
- First Prize, color photo, IV Art Biennial, Guatemala, 1986.
- Butterflies. Commemorating the 20th anniversary of Mons. Gerardi’s assassination. Proyecto Poporopo. Guatemala, 2018
- Queer Arts Festival opening exhibition. Antwerp, Belgium. 2017
- GENOCIDE DISMISSED, The silenced Tragedy of Guatemala. Kazerne Dossin Holocaust and Human rights Museum. Mechelen, Belgium. Sept. 2014-Mar.2015.
- Memento Vitae / Memento Mori. Verbeeck-Van Dyck Gallery Antwerp, Belgium. 2014.
- Revelation: The Power of Memory in the Land of Oblivion. Foto30 photo festival. Guatemala, 2012.
- Arbenz…fin del exilio /Apoteosis del retorno. Spanish Cultural Center. Antigua Guatemala, 2011.
- Guatemala: Guztiek jakin dezaten. Gernika Peace Museum. Gernika, Basque Country. 2010
- Affinche tutti lo sappiano. Castel Grande, Bellinzona. Switzerland. 2008.
- So that all shall know. UN Human rights Council. Salle des Pas Perdus. Palais des Nations. Geneva. Switzerland. 2007.
- Memory of an Angel. Session House, Tokyo, Japan. 2004
- Memory of an Angel. Sponsored by the French Embassy. Metropolitan Cultural Center. Guatemala 2003.
- Memory of an Angel. Chicago Film Festival. Havana Gallery, Chicago, Ill. USA. 2003
- The Path of an Angel. La Peña Gallery, Austin, Texas. USA. 2003
- 27-2002. PhotoEncuentro, Jade Museum. San José, Costa Rica. 2003.
- 27-2002. Month of the Photo, Modern Art Museum. Guatemala 2002.
- P.P. Month of the Photo. El Sitio Cultural Center, Antigua Guatemala, 2002.
- From fact to Memory. Casa de América, PhotoEspaña 2001. Madrid, 2001
- Inherentes Truths, Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2001.
- Threshold of Creation. Rafael Landívar University Art gallery, Guatemala, 2001.
- Memory of an Angel. Modern Art Museum, Guatemala, 2000.
- Beyond Weapons. El Attico Gallery, Guatemala, 1999.
- Musicians from Guatemala. University Gallery, U. of Massachusets. USA, 1999.
- Esclarecimiento. Centro de la Imagen, Fotoseptiembre. México, D.F. 1998.
- Faces of the Music. Nezahualcoyotl Hall, Fotoseptiembre. México, D.F. 1998.
- Eros+Thánatos. Joan Grona Gallery, San Antonio Texas, U.S.A. 1998.
- Eros+Thánatos. National Exhibition Hall, San Salvador, El Salvador, 1998.
- Eros+Thánatos. Sol del Río Gallery, Guatemala, 1997.
- Daniel Hernández-Salazar: Recent Work. CAM Foundation, Alicante, Spain, 1996.
- Ecce Homo. El Sitio Gallery, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala. 1995
- Visages de la Musique. Centre National de la Photo, Lectoure, France. 1994.
- Indigenous Leaders from the World. II World Indigenous Summit, Mexico, 1993.
- Faces of the Music. Sol del Rio Gallery, Guatemala, 1993.- Epiphany. El Attico Gallery, Guatemala, 1989.
- Silver on Gelatin. Guatemalan American Cultural Institute, Guatemala, 1987.
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