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The Sound Healing Art of Guadalupe Maravilla


by M H June 20, 2023

Visual artist, choreographer, and healer Guadalupe Maravilla creates amazing art installations that combine found-objects, drawings, performance, sculpture, and more. We first heard of him a few years ago when he came to us to buy gongs for his sculptures and performances. His installations are an experience that must be felt first-hand, blurring the lines between visual art, performance, and healing. Both the creator and the observer are changed and healed by participating in this magical, creative experience.

Guadalupe Maravilla's "Portals"
Portals, Sculptural Installation, ICA Miami, June 27 – Nov 24, 2019

When he was a child in the 1980’s, Maravilla's native El Salvador was ravaged by a civil war between a US-backed military dictatorship and a Cuban-backed revolutionary workers' uprising. His parents escaped the brutality of war in the early 80’s. Two years later, at 8-years-old, he was finally old enough to embark on a harrowing two-month journey through Central America himself, herded to the US-Mexico border by a network of “coyotes". There, he was reunited with his parents.

Decades later, on his birthday–12/12/12, a date he'd felt would be significant since youth–he discovered he had stomach cancer. It was during his radiation treatments he was first introduced to sound baths. It was a transformative spiritual experience for him that allowed him to trace his illness back to the painful experiences and energies he held in his stomach from his childhood exodus through Central America.

These experiences inform the core of his work: a deeply personal and spiritual living commentary on perpetual migration, on living in-between, on illness and healing, on the process of becoming whole. His installations are in the permanent collection of the MOMA in New York as well as a long list of amazing museums around the world (see his website at the bottom for more info).

Guadalupe Maravilla's "Disease Thrower"
Disease Thrower, Sculptural Installation, Institute of Contemporary Art VCU, November 9th – July 1st, 2020


We’re deeply inspired by his use of gongs and other sound therapy instruments in his work. Sound healing tools are seamlessly integrated into many of his sculptures, simultaneously highlighting their visual brilliance and utilizing their powerful sonic healing qualities through ritual and performance.

Guadalupe Maravilla's "Seven Ancestral Stomachs"Seven Ancestral Stomachs, PPOW Gallery, 2021

His work unlocks a sea of possibilities for the process and act of healing. How much deeper can we go in our own healing practice? In our healing work with others? What other intentional acts (such as the creation of sound, sculpture, painting, dance, performance, personal spirituality) can we integrate into our healing to better connect with the source of our power and energy and to connect more deeply with each other?

Click here to explore his website, with more photos and information on Maravilla and his amazing story. All photos and videos for this blog post were borrowed from his website. Click here to see some coverage of his most recent work from May 2023. 

Below is a beautifully shot 10-minute short documentary from Art21 exploring Maravilla's work with sound:




M H
M H

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