The gallery space in the loft of Punto Gozadera, a trans-feminist community center, is rough and unfinished. Bare fluorescent lights hanging from wires provide the only illumination. Black fabric separates the gallery from the workshop and meeting rooms. Everything feels makeshift and in progress. During the opening of the current exhibition, Corpografías en Resistencía, a small group—mostly made up of queer and feminist activists—gathered in the center of the gallery. After welcoming everyone, two of the curators, Mirnx and Eli Moon, dedicated the show, with tears in their eyes, to a trans activist, Alessa Flores, who was killed a few months earlier in what can only be described as one of the countless femicides that take place every day in Mexico. The room was silent.
The jarring juxtaposition of fine art, improvised, unfinished space, and the murder of yet another (trans)woman, is the perfect framework with which to understand Corpografías en Resistencía, an exhibition organized as part of the BataFems series of events and conferences about gendered violence in Mexico. The exhibited work ranges from drawing and digital prints to installation, and the tone of each individual work is equally eclectic. Some pieces are funny and irreverent, others defiant, others mournful. All of them celebrate the diversity of bodies and sexual expressions that comprise the local, sexually dissident community.
The work of El Chamuko, Alex X. A. B., and Maldita Geni Thalia stand out for their humor, sarcasm, and irreverence, while Rürrü Mipanochia’s painting, Cólotl, takes this irreverence to new heights. It depicts an orgy, in vivid color, between a hermaphroditic, pre-Columbian supernatural being, a mattress with a penis, a vomiting woman, and various other human and nonhuman figures. The work clearly reflects the adventurous, creative, and complex ways in which this community plays and resists.
The tone of Mipanochia’s piece contrasts sharply with Eli Moon’s sculptural work, entitled In Memoriam. The installation features the protective grill from a household fan mounted upon a cross from a cemetery, with a chicken-wire background. The axial spokes of the grill radiate from a dark point in the center across several concentric circles. The work’s intention, in the context of Flores’ recent murder, is clear: Her extinguished life still expands, despite her absence.
The artist Mirnx remembers Flores, and her community’s loss, with an installation featuring a pair of sparkling red high heels surrounded by protective circles and marks reminiscent of ritual magic. It’s a dissident queer parody of the boots and rifles that memorialize the loss of U.S. soldiers. Contrasting terribly with the last moments of Flores’ life, the shoes themselves suggest Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz and the desire for home and safety they represent.
Several pieces by the artist Trixia Lara combine the mournful and celebratory tones of other works in the exhibition with a marked defiance in the face of the reality of gendered violence. According to the gallery text, her work uses her own menstrual blood collected across many “moons” and “other body fluids.” In Sabia Patrona del Kuágulo (Wise Patron Saint of Coagulation), an installation resembling a shrine, the artist uses these fluids to paint a vaginal image, evocative of La Virgen de Guadalupe, and the words “free your blood” in two gilded frames.
In Germinará en Rebeldía la Sangre Derramada (The Spilt Blood Will Germinate in Rebellion), Trixia Lara brings violence even further to the forefront. Centered between two images that mix the vaginal shape of La Virgen with violated feminine bodies, the artist writes the following text in her own body’s blood and fluids: “you tricked me; you beat me; you raped me; you tortured me; you kidnapped me; you murdered me; you disappeared me; you buried me; but you didn’t know that I would germinate in rebellion.” The spilt blood of the title refers simultaneously to the blood in the work of art, to menstruation, and to injuries caused by violence; the artwork makes clear that from all of these, resistance will spring.
The lived reality of political–sexual violence in Mexico is hard to imagine from the perspective of the first world. Just about every activist here has friends and comrades who have been raped, tortured, beaten, disappeared, or killed. It has become ordinary. Corpografías en Resistencía is a testament to the strength and perseverance of injured peoples in precarious situations, and their continued fight for their right to exist; it is tremendous how immediate, powerful, and joyful these artists prove this resistance can be.
Corpografías en Resistencía is on view through April 8, 2017.
 “Sexualidades disidentes” is an umbrella term used by some feminists and queer activists in Mexico City to separate themselves from homonormative, mainstream gay or lesbian culture.
 The original is in Spanish.