Mónica Alcázar-Duarte

T’aabal chukChuuk / Embers

A new commission consisting of fifty-six 3D printed lilies animated through an augmented reality experience, addressing issues of colonialism and ancestral indigenous knowledge

about the commission

T’aabal T’aabal chukChuuk / Embers is an installation consisting of fifty-six 3D printed lilies, coated in copper leaf and activated through an augmented reality experience. The work was commissioned by Autograph and Hasselblad Foundation as part of Digital Clouds Don’t Carry Rain: Mónica Alcázar-Duarte’s solo exhibition at Autograph.

Using an algorithm inspired by the collective intelligence of Mayan bee colonies, Alcázar-Duarte merges and juxtaposes the form of the lily with faces, gestures and expressions depicted in 18th-century Casta paintings, a genre of art made in Mexico during Spanish colonialism, illustrating racist social hierarchies. These illustrations were used during the colonisation of Mexico to differentiate individuals into a caste system and as justification to discriminate against mestizaje (mixed-race) populations.

The lilies form a garden of technology which can be activated by scanning the floor drawing mapping the Yúcatan Peninsula, to trigger an augmented reality animation of a tree which seemingly grows out from the Peninsula into the room. T’aabal chukChuuk / Embers highlights the value of ancestral indigenous knowledge as passed down through nature and raises crucial questions, such as: Where does knowledge lie? Who and what is classified? How do we refute these legacies?

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Exhibition View


AR Exhibition View


AR Exhibition View

about the artist


Mónica Alcázar-Duarte

Mónica Alcázar-Duarte is originally from Mexico, of indigenous descent, she lives and works in the U.K. Becoming a migrant shaped her way of seeing and thinking, and it deeply shapes her practice. 

She has been awarded the Ampersand-Photoworks Residency (2021), Firecracker Grant (2020), Lucie Foundation Chroma Luxe scholarship (2019), National Geographic Wayfinder Award (2022),  National Geographic Arena Award (2019), Les Recontres d’Arles New Discovery Award (2018), and The Photographers’ Gallery Bar-Tur Photobook Award (2017). Her works included in public collections at Autograph, London, Museum of Modern Art artist book collection, New York, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and Wilhelm Hack Museum, Germany amongst others. She lives and works in London.

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part of the exhibition


Mónica Alcázar-Duarte: Digital Clouds Don't Carry Rain

16 Feb – 1 Jun 2024
Free exhibition

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digital content

Introducing Digital Clouds Don't Carry Rain

Highlighting five key motifs from the artist's exhibition at Autograph

Read blog post | 4 min read

Artist residency

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

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Behind the Algorithm: Migration, Mexican Women and Digital Bias

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

View gallery

The artist in conversation with Bindi Vora

Mónica Alcázar-Duarte discusses her new photography and research


Collection Highlight: Digital Clouds Don't Carry Rain

Take a closer look at Alcázar-Duarte's work exploring ecology, indigenous knowledge and western botany systems

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T'aabal chukChuuk / Embers (2024) is commissioned by Autograph, London and Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg.

Commission images: T’aabal chukChuuk / Embers pictured in the exhibition Mónica Alcázar-Duarte: Digital Clouds Don't Carry Rain at Autograph. 16 February - 1 June 2024. Curated by Bindi Vora. Photograph by Kate Elliott.

Other images on page: 1) Mónica Alcázar-Duarte. Photo by Michael Breakey. 2) Mónica Alcázar-Duarte, Ixchel - Mayan Moon and Birth deity from the series Digital Clouds Don’t Carry Rain, 2021-2023, © and courtesy the artist.