Through her photography, films, and video-installations, Maya Goded (b. 1970) addresses the topics of female sexuality, prostitution and gender violence in a society in which the definition of women’s role is extremely narrow and in which femininity is fenced by the myths of chastity, fragility and maternity. For the past two years she has been travelling through Mexico in search of female healers with ancient knowledge; this turned her gaze into the importance of advocating for life, for other ways of living, for remembering our ancient alliance with nature. She believes that, as a human race, this is our sole way to redeem ourselves before the world, where the alleged progress emphasizes the madness to destroy forests, lakes, rivers, animals, plants, and the moral corruption of the human spirit.
Goded’s work transmits an unusual feeling of intimacy and authenticity–resulting from the trust she establishes throughout the years with the characters she portrays. This synchrony, notorious in the language of the bodies captured by her lenses, provokes the spectator’s empathy. She is not scared of portraying people in difficult scenarios, whether it is the brave–whose refusal to submit represents a threat to the establishment–or the vulnerable–whose lives are disrupted by the concepts of power and control. Her piercing gaze, her constant questioning of preconceived ideas, her efforts to reveal little-known realities, her talent to celebrate otherness and a humanism that transcends social barriers have all translated into international awards and acknowledgements.
Her photographs have been shown in the United States, Latin America, Europe, China, and Africa. Maya’s work has resulted in solo shows exhibited in the most renowned photography events and museums. She has received important awards, fellowships, and acknowledgements in different parts of the world, such as: : National Geographic Storytelling Fellow, el premio Prince Claus Fund (Ámsterdam), el J. Simon Guggenheim, el Premio Eugene Smith (both in New York), el Mother Jones Fund (San Francisco), la Medalla al Mérito Fotográfico (México), Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Artes (México), Fotopres´01 de Fundación La Caixa, (España), y Master Class de World Press Photo, (Amsterdam), amongst others.
Plaza de la Soledad–her first full-length documentary–had its international premier at the Sundance Film Festival and received many awards, such as: the Special jury prize in the Festival del Nuevo Cine Iberoamericano (Havana, Cuba), Best Direction in the Festival Cinema Tropical (New York, USA), Best Documentary in the Guanajuato International Film Festival (Mexico), nominations to the Arieles for Best Full-Length Documentary, Opera Prima, Edition, and Music (Mexico); the OCELOT Award for Outstanding Documentary (Tucson, USA), and the Prize of the Public in the Festival de los Derechos Humanos (Argentina).