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Black Banana: Exhibitions of Absence


Black Banana: Exhibitions of Absence – the paper

by Novel ‘Idea’ Sholars  and  Maira Nolasco                          



Black Banana is the examination of structural racism in art curation and it’s effects on descendants of Africa living in Latin America. Acting as a metaphor, it sheds light on the absence of those of the African Diaspora in the workforce, and as a part of the overall Latin American cultural project. What are the histories of these erasures, and how does this history prove the existence of a racist hegemony that results in cultural exclusion? When did the whitening of Latin America begin and how does this whitening affect the economy of the black populations as well as their integration into Latin American society? Is the lack of Black Latino representation proof of racist curatorial practices in the Latin American contemporary art world? These are the questions this project hopes to explore. The Black Banana focus is to create awareness around the possible denial of racism and how that denial effects who and what is curated. Ultimately the goal is to provoke an open dialog about identity, hybridity, and access. Continue reading Black Banana: Exhibitions of Absence



Memory initiatives have served several purposes: to recover the memory of what happened and make public denunciations, dignity and honor the memory of the victims, promote community organization and social reconstruction, inform and educate new generations, and to demand redress and justice. This paper focus on Guatemalan murals as a memory initiative and as an art form used by the direct victims of the conflict.


Daniel Hernández-Salazar: Photography as Intervention

This topic came two weeks ago, after a good discussion with Nitin and Julian and my curiosity on the use of images on handling the issue of enforced disappearance from the point of view of a Guatemalan artist. After research, I realized that enforced disappearance is one of many techniques used by the military dictatorship to kill their own citizens. The main thing still remains: people were died so horribly and no justice has been done ever since. What the government did (and still does) is institutionalizing forgetfulness. So, the thing that has to be done is how to keep the historical memory alive, and not forgotten. Daniel Salazar’s work has been instrumental in keeping the memory alive. Through his Angels, he has a specific way to employ what he called a ‘guerilla art,’ an artistic and political approach and a visual intervention in public places in Guatemala that took the Guatemalan residents by surprise, that asked them to always remember and that proves to us all how art can be powerful in making a political statement.

My presentation: Photographic Art as Visual Intervention in Public Places.


Film Preview & Talk: Zona Intervenida // Colectivo Andén
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
ICI Curatorial Hub

401 Broadway, Suite 1620
Nitin Sawhney speaks about his upcoming documentary Zona Intervenida, co-produced with the Andén Collective in Guatemala, with a limited sneak preview of the work-in-progress film. He will also briefly discuss his emerging curatorial research project, Guatemala Después.

About Zona Intervenida
The film is an artistic exploration of the historic memory of violence, civil war and apathy in Guatemala. It follows a collective of young artists who use dance, performance, and poetry to intervene in a former train station in Quetzaltenango, which was converted to a military base during the worst atrocities of the war. Through movement, music, seeds and spoken word, the artists seek to activate and transform the dark memories of the space, while engaging public imagination and bringing light to Guatemala’s silenced past.

More about the project: http://www.ZonaIntervenida.org

View the trailer HERE.
This event is a free limited-engagement screening. To attend, please RSVP to rsvp@curatorsintl.org withZONA in the subject line.

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

The GIDEST, Krzysztof Wodiczko and his interrogative design

The brand new Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought (GIDEST) is opening its doors at The New School with a series of interesting seminars from its faculty fellows and other relevant guests. While checking its schedule, I noticed that one of the sessions can be of particular interest for the class:

“Krzysztof WodiczkoProfessor in Residence of Art, Design, and the Public Domain at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard, is world-renowned for his pioneering, large-scale video projections on landmark architecture and public monuments that explore the relationships between art, democracy, war, trauma, and healing. His practice, Interrogative Design, combines art and technology to highlight marginal social communities and add legitimacy to cultural issues that are often given little design attention. ” (From GIDEST website)

We reviewed part of his work during our first class, I believe. His seminar will be on Friday, October 10, from 11:00am to 1:00pm in the GIDEST Lab at 411, 63 Fifth Avenue. For all GIDEST seminars, the speakers will upload in advance on the website some relevant readings that will serve as a starting point for the discussions.

Hope to see you all there.


Krzysztof Wodiczko, Tijuana Projection, 2001.
Public projection of live images and sound at the Centro Cultural de Tijuana, as part of
InSite 2000. Image from website re-title.com.