Blog / Collection Highlights

Mónica Alcázar-Duarte
Digital Clouds Don't Carry Rain, 2021 –

Exploring ecology, indigenous knowledge and western botany systems

ABOUT THE artwork

Set amongst the dying trees of Derbyshire (the home of the industrial revolution), this image is part of the series Digital Clouds Don't Carry Rain (2021 – ongoing), in which artist Mónica Alcázar-Duarte explores issues of climate and ecology, and the connection between indigenous and western botany systems. 

"For me, embracing my indigenous heritage has re-framed my whole practice as a visual artist, and now, I find myself wondering if there could be different approaches to tackling the important questions of our time… How is it that the knowledge of my ancestors is sometimes seen as completely different from contemporary knowledge systems?"

The work — which was developed during Alcázar-Duarte's participation in the Autograph x Light Work artist-in-residence — draws on the concept of 'Nepantla', an ancient term from the Náhuatl language, often cited in Chicano and Latino anthropology. The artist explains: "Nepantla refers to a state of in-betweenness… a spatial concept of ‘being in-the-middle of it’, like in the eye of the storm. And this work emerges from an absence or a recognition of earthlessness in me."

Autograph is developing the artist’s first UK solo exhibition Digital Clouds Don't Carry Rain coming Spring 2024.

about the artist


Mónica Alcázar-Duarte

is originally from Mexico, of indigenous descent, she lives and works in the UK. Becoming a migrant shaped her way of seeing and thinking, and it deeply shapes her practice. 

Her book Your Photographs Could be Used by Drug Dealers was acquired in 2014 for artist book collections at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Yale University Gallery and the Joan Flasch Collection at the Arts Institute of Chicago. Alcazar-Duarte has been awarded the Ampersand-Photoworks Residency (2021), Firecracker Grant (2020), Lucie Foundation Chroma Luxe scholarship (2019), National Geographic Arena award (2019), Les Recontres d’Arles New Discovery Award (2018), and The Photographers’ Gallery Bar-Tur Photobook Award (2017). She has also recently shortlisted for the Aesthetica Prize (2021).

See more of Alcázar-Duarte's work on her website, and follow the artist on Instagram.

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This photograph is in Autograph's permanent collection of photography, where it has been conserved and digitised

Coming soon

This work will be displayed in Autograph's upcoming exhibition Digital Clouds Don't Carry Rain, the artist's first UK solo exhibition

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Online gallery

View our online gallery of Alcázar-Duarte's photography series Second Nature

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Digital Clouds Don't Carry Rain

Alcázar-Duarte's solo exhibition at Autograph's gallery in London is in development

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Interview with the Artist

Autograph's Bindi Vora discusses search engine algorithms and digital bias with the artist

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Artist Residency

Alcázar-Duarte was the 2022 Autograph / Light Work artist in residence

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Banner image: © Mónica Alcázar-Duarte.

About the artist image: Courtesy the artist.