Winner of the Museum of Latin American Art Drawing Award in 2008 and the Ibero-American Biennial in 2009, among other recognitions to her work, Mayra Barraza has built a steadfast career as an artist after her initial studies for the Bachelor in Arts at The Corcoran School of Art in 1989.
Over the last decades, she has exhibited her work at the Salvadoran Art Museum, the Art and Design Museum in Costa Rica, the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña in Puerto Rico, the Museum of Modern Art in Guatemala, the National Identity Museum in Honduras, the II Biennial of Lima, the Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno in Spain, the Museo del Barrio, among many others.
Barraza has made important contributions to artistic and intellectual life in El Salvador and has become one of the leading artists investigating issues of contemporary life from multicultural perspectives and in innovative ways. Her artistic work has transformed itself throughout the years from the exploration of historic memory and the contradictions of daily violence, to other bodies of work that have explored issues of immigration, masculinity and identity.
Locally, in her native El Salvador, Barraza has actively engaged colleagues and community in discourses relevant to the artistic contemporary scene through projects such as:
- El ojo de Adrián: Art and Literature E-Magazine: The first online magazine for arts and literature in El Salvador founded in 2009, of which she was founding member and editor.
- Art Visual Forum: Art with a Voice – Agenda 2003: Aimed at opening a space for artists and intellectuals to exchange their ideas on cultural and arts management, education in the arts, the role of artists in society, and cultural policies of contending political parties.
- Forum for the Development of Salvadoran Visual Arts: An initiative led by artists, working throughout two years to elaborate a five year strategic plan for the development of visual arts.
- Project Women, Culture and Development: An initiative put forth by a group of women artists set out to investigate work conditions for women artists and make visible their artistic contributions, which became the basis for the creation of the Association of Salvadoran Women Artists.
- Blog 100 days in the Republic of Death: A personal arts project on the web, starting September 2009, seeking to register daily murders during 100 consecutive days, and debate on violence -its causes and implications- and the role of arts in addressing social issues.
Mayra Barraza has taught Drawing and Painting at the Monica Herrera Communications School and the Carlos Imery School of Applied Arts in El Salvador. She currently lives in El Salvador and works both at her studio and as Director of the National Exhibitions Hall.