The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC presents the powerful exhibition, Arts of Resistance: Politics and the Past in Latin America, on display from May 17 to October 8, 2018. Curated by Laura Osorio Sunnucks, MOA’s Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow for Latin America, this premiere exhibition illustrates how Latin American communities use traditional and historic art forms to express contemporary political realities. Visitors will have the rare opportunity to view art and multi-sensory installations from Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Chile, with special attention to marginalized communities, while exploring the role of creativity during times of political turmoil.
In Arts of Resistance, Osorio Sunnucks pays particular attention to the art of Indigenous rural peoples, who have historically been and continue to be excluded from mainstream national culture and society. The exhibition is inspired by MOA’s existing Latin American collection that includes art works that illustrate the tension between cultural survival and innovation. Visitors will have the opportunity to view Tigua paintings from Ecuador and amate paintings from rural Guerrero, Mexico, dating back to the development of tourism and the folkloric art boom of the 1970s. Vancouver is home to a number of refugees from the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile — a community whose resistance against the fascist regime and support for the socialist president Salvador Allende will be represented in the exhibition using a group of folkloric ceramics from Quinchamali, a town south of Santiago. These objects, displayed alongside other memory works, will show how traditional art forms conjure the culture and imagination of migrant peoples.
In addition to works from MOA’s impressive existing Latin American collection, Osorio Sunnucks commissioned more than one hundred new pieces to add to the collection, many of which she sourced from her personal research in rural towns in Mayan-speaking Mexico and Guatemala. These acquisitions include carnival costumes, Maya textiles, as well as figurative and narrative paintings that bear witness to political realities and human rights violations. Many of these pieces were purchased directly from the victims of state-sponsored violence.
This illuminating exhibition will also include two multi-sensory installations. One installment includes a mural painted on site by a women’s art collective from the Amazonian Shipibo-Konibo diaspora in Lima, Peru. During the exhibition, the mural will be painted with kené, a design specific to Shipibo-Konibo people, which is also a rare example of a women-only artistic practice in the Amazon. The collective will sing and record as they paint, filling the exhibition space with their ancestral knowledge. At the exhibition’s opening ceremonies on May 17, Olinda Silvano and Silvia Ricopa, who are both members of this collective, will sing live for visitors. Another installation will be created by the Oaxacan graffiti collective, Lapiztola. They will mount a light, stencil, and sound installation, chronicling their experience of an indigenist insurgency that took place in 2006 in Oaxaca, Mexico.
MOA presents Arts of Resistance: Politics and the Past in Latin America
Dates: May 17 to October 8, 2018
Opening: May 17, 2018 at 7pm
Address: Museum of Anthropology University of British Columbia 6393 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC
Photo: Painting made by Pedro Perez Martinez, Xalitla, Guerrero, Mexico 2017. Photo by Alina Ilyasova. Courtesy of Museum of Anthropology at UBC.