Gala Porras-Kim

Gala PorrasKim

Gala Porras-Kim, Whistling and Language Transfiguration (WaLT), 2012. LP album, Cyanotype print. Edition of 100 unique records. 12 in. x 12 in.
Gala Porras-Kim, Whistling and Language Transfiguration, 2012.

Whistling and Language Transfiguration, 2012 is an interdisciplinary art project involving the translation of a minority language, Zapotec, and the political and linguistic implications of the language’s deterioration. Primarily WaLT, a vinyl record edition of a translation of Zapotec into its whistled form, examines the ultimate and literal signifier of culture, language, particularly its sounds. These sounds were used as strategies for dissent during Oaxaca’s colonial past, which allowed for hidden communication and now can be used as an effort to maintain the viability of the Zapotec language, by pointing out its unique tonal qualities, as well as contribute to the preservation of a language that was and is the cultural heritage of the Zapotec people.

For more information on Gala Porras-Kim’s project, download

To hear other variants of the Zapotec language and learn about Mexico’s linguistic rights legislation for indigenous peoples, see the Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas website.

Gala Porras-Kim was born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1984 and works primarily with sound and drawing. She received a BA and MA from UCLA, MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Recent solo exhibitions include For Prospective Rock/Artifact Projection (2015) and The Mute Object and Ancient Stories of Today (2013), both at Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles. Porras-Kim will be featured in an upcoming exhibition at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2017), and has recently been included in exhibitions at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (2016), ExTeresa Arte Actual, Mexico DF, Mexico, (2014), The Bindery Projects, Minneapolis, MN (2014); and 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, CA (2012). She is a 2013 California Community Foundation Fellow and a 2015 Creative Capital recipient.