Edinson Quiñones has always been interested in politics and its effects, as experienced throughout his life: From his work as a raspachin (the person that manually picks the leaves from the coca plant in crops), as a descendant of the Nasa people; as the son of a family that pressured by working needs and discrimination, left their roots and moved to the city; as a citizen of an indolent nation state, thorn apart by corruption, narcotraffic economy, violence and all their socio-political implications; and in his life as an artist.
The wound heals and the scar remains. Scarification, God of the Coca was a performance with which Edinson Quiñones participated in the 8th Performance Festival in Cali, Colombia, 2012. The action consisted of having a tattoo removed from his back, without anaesthesia, in public, while also taking care of keeping the tattoo intact in one piece of skin. The drawing inscribed on the skin portrays the ancient god — and the protector — of the coca plant; a plant that plays a vital role in the cosmology of Andean peoples of South America. From the pre-Incan period to the present, coca leaves have served multiple medicinal and curative powers, from its capacity to reduce hunger, thirst, pain and fatigue, to being a central element in offerings to other deities and in numerous shamanic rituals throughout the Andes.
The removal of the tattoo, the literal pain that this act includes and conveys, articulates the violence of prohibitions issued by governmental powers; prohibitions that ignore the rights of many indigenous communities to celebrate their ancestral traditions, denying them their cosmologies, sense of self, and political agency.