Reading response 1 – Contemporary Art in Latin America

Contemporary Art in Latin America

 The idea of Mestizo,(mixed Spanish and Indigenous)and what that means to those Indigenous Mayans of Guatemala is a topic of interest to me. Not to implicate Pablo, but I was aware that he made a definite point of letting us know that Mestizo is his distinction. So I looked up some info on the relationships of the Mestizo and the Indigenous Mayans of the region, as I suspected racism and discrimination akin to what we experience here in the states. According to the online publication, Minority Rights Group International, the majority of the indigenous Mayan peoples and minority cultures, which includes those mixed African-Indigenous experience disrespect, violence, and negative treatment in the media. This brings to the forefront the question of access as it relates to what is considered curatable and marketable. This is a challenge most poor and disadvantaged people experience worldwide when it comes to it’s cultures artistic expression and general viability to the world at large. When it comes to the question of how one’s culture should be defined, with regard to poor folk, it often seems absent from the equation how those folk define themselves. With respect to the Guatemalan/Mayan culture there seems to be no exception to this dilemma, particularly with regard to it’s art and culture.

 In the reading Contemporary Art in Latin America I found  themes which support my assertions. In the current globalized art scene we find Eurocentric notions and stereotypes as it relates to identity and intercultural dynamics. Speaking to this are the writings of Gerardo Mosquera in Against Latin American Art, where he talks about the Latin American predicament, a dividing of the coin in a sense as he speaks of hegemonic western meta-culture and internationalisation versus personalities of singular contexts, local traditions and the embracing of the ‘non-west’. Further reading of this text can make the case of a society willing to be short sold, as Oswald de Andrade coined the the term anthropophagy in 1928, which dealt with the idea of cultural appropriation or the inverse. His words were ‘it only interested him what was not his’. What came from this sentiment was an apparent reversing of the fundamentalist politics of authenticity. Instead of being imposed on by colonialism, anthropophagy voluntarily swallows dominant culture to it’s on benefit. I found this concept problematic as it seemed, in my opinion, to play into the idea of accepting the annihilation of cultures indigenous to the region and a decimation of it’s inherent voice. In support of this Heloisa Buarque De Hollanda warned that anthropophagy can stereotype a problematic concept of a carnivalizing identity that processes beneficial everything that is not its own. I find this interesting as it relates to an exploration and comparison of the ways americans of African decent deal with the charges of inequities that often lend to the vulnerabilities associated with a lack of social,economic and political standing. This too as it relates to the “curatable” and more importantly how american/world media represents it’s so called minority populations.


a few loose citations

Against Latin American Art; Gerardo Mosquera


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