Name: Martin Wannam
Born: Guatemala City, Guatemala
Lives and works: Albuquerque, NM
Martin Wannam’s photos are an explosion of glitter and color, with an underlying hint of darkness. His work is unabashedly queer but operates in response to a repressive heteronormative society encrypted by religious imagery. In Wannam’s native Guatemala, the queer community faces discrimination and segregation, and this community challenges the spaces, people, and government that seek to diminish it. Political and unflinching in their engagement with violence, Wannam’s photographs are anchored in the visual culture of joy, celebration, and consumer excess—like a Party City exploded in the frame.
Wannam writes that, in tandem with Jose Esteban Muñoz’s concept of the “concrete possibility for another world,” his work seeks to disrupt the meaning of religion, using people and precious objects that signal queer culture. Materials including glitter, liquid foam, make-up, paint, condoms, and concrete blocks construct new narratives of the possible. Using and mis-using these materials loosely, as he does with Christian symbolism, Wannam interrupts expected narratives and chronologies of patriarchy and heteronormativity.
Wannam is pursuing an MFA in studio art in the area of photography. Previous to coming to the United States, he received a BA in graphic design from the Universidad Rafael Landívar and a diploma in contemporary photography from La Fototeca, both in Guatemala.