Ernesto Salmerón Explores a Truckload of Nicaraguan History

Meet the Nicaraguan artist exploring the legacy of revolution in his country

I was interested in understanding my own society. There’s no one way to understand Nicaraguan history.

Ernesto Salmerón

Ernesto Salmeron
Auras of War (1996–2006)

Ernesto Salmerón trained as a filmmaker and documentary photographer before turning to other forms of art including social sculpture.

Auras of War documents and explores the Nicaraguan revolution. The work is made up of a truck, a section of concrete wall, video and other materials.

‘The whole thing started with a photograph of graffiti with an image of Augusto Calderón Sandino’, explains Salmerón. ‘He was used as an icon for a new revolutionary movement in the 1970s.’

After learning the attached building was to be demolished, Salmerón excavated the graffiti in 2006 and permanently installed it into the back of a former military truck.

A relic of the revolution, the truck was sent by the German Democratic Republic to Nicaragua in support of the Sandinistas’ socialist cause. ‘This truck is a testimony to political conflict’, says Salmerón.

The wall and truck have travelled a great distance from their original contexts and are now exhibited in public spaces like Tate Modern. Their presence raises questions about the revolutionary ideas they symbolise and how those ideas move and transform over time.

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