Guillermo Gómez-Peña is one of the country’s leading performance artists and director of the performance art troupe “La Pocha Notra.” Maria Hinojosa speaks to Gómez-Peña about a rare disease he contracted that quickly paralyzed him and turned him into a prisoner in his own body.
Photo from “La Pocha Nostra” archives.
Guillermo Gómez-Peña was born in 1955 and raised in Mexico City. He came to the US in 1978. His work, which includes performance art, video, audio, installations, poetry, journalism, and cultural theory, explores cross-cultural issues, immigration, the politics of language, “extreme culture” and new technologies in the era of globalization. A MacArthur fellow, he is a regular contributor to the national radio news magazine All Things Considered (National Public Radio), a writer for newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Mexico, and a contributing editor to The Drama Review (MIT).
Gómez-Peña’s performance and installation work has been presented at over seven hundred venues across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, the Soviet Union, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil and Argentina. Among numerous fellowships and prizes, Gómez-Peña was a recipient of the Prix de la Parole at the 1989 International Theatre of the Americas (Montreal), the 1989 New York Bessie Award, and the Los Angeles Music Center’s 1993 Viva Los Artistas Award. In 1991, Gómez-Peña became the first Chicano/Mexicano artist to receive a MacArthur Fellowship (1991-1996). In 1995, he was included in The UTNE Reader’s “List of 100 Visionaries.” In 1997 he received the American Book Award for The New World Border. In 2000, he received the Cineaste lifetime achievement award from the Taos Talking Pictures film festival. Photo from “La Pocha Nostra” archives.
To see more of Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s work check out “La Pocha Nostra” website.
Jonathan Wolfe is a freelance reporter based in New York City. Previously, he was an intern and later a member of the production team at Latino USA.