Elia Arce (Chibcha)
Elia Arce is an artist working in a wide variety of media, including installation, performance, experimental theater, writing, photo, video, sculptural performance, and social sculpture. She is the winner of the J. Paul Getty Award, Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, National Performance Network National Endowment Fund Award, Durfee Individual Artist Award and was nominated for the Herb Alpert / CalArts Award in Theater. Arce also received an award from the Ford Foundation, where she developed a proposal for a new social sculpture project entitled Gulf Coast Art Corridor. In 2010, she received a Fulbright scholarship to teach a semester of Performance Art at the Theater School of the National University of Costa Rica. She has taught at different universities in the United States and Costa Rica and has taught performance workshops in Mexico, Brazil, Mali, Spain, Cuba, and Canada. Arce was the winner of the American Masterpiece Award in 2010 and was invited to the Bamako Photography Biennale in Mali where she exhibited her work at the Multimedia Arts Conservatory. She was invited to the International Festival of the Arts of Costa Rica in 2012 and in 2014, where she presented a short retrospective of her work of photo performance, video performance, and sculptural performance. The National University of Costa Rica and its Chamber Dance Company commissioned her an original work in 2012. She designed and choreographed “Río Pirro,” a piece performed inside one of the most polluted rivers in the city.
As a teacher, she taught Visual Arts in Choreography in the Master’s Program of the Dance Department UNA and a Performance Laboratory with Flashmobs at the School of Performing Arts at the University of Costa Rica. Arce won the prestigious Iberescena scholarship given jointly with Costa Rica and Spain to develop a new body of work in collaboration with her Spanish colleague Orlando Britto. Together, they conducted research on decolonization, leading to the creation of a new social sculpture. Arce is the founder and artistic director of USEKRA: Center for Creative Investigation on the Caribbean area of Costa Rica. At USEKRA, artists, academics, anthropologists, sociologists, biologists and other international thinkers meet to challenge perspectives and create work that questions existing standards from Indigenous, Afro-descendant and/or Asian perspectives––cultures that are the pillars of the Talamanca region.