This microseminar explores the political importance of art in responding to the violence of dictatorship, war, and extractive economies. It is organized around the spring 2020 visits of four scholar-artists from Puerto Rico and Peru. Puerto Rican visual anthropologist and filmmaker Patricia Alvarez Astacio is an Assistant Professor at Brandeis University. Her films and written work critically explore the Peruvian alpaca wool supply chain analyzing how, through the intervention of development projects, Indigenous women arti- sans and their aesthetic traditions are interpolat- ed into “ethical fashion” manufacturing networks. In their individual and collective art projects, Peruvian artists and activists Karen Bernedo, Jorge Miyagui and Mauricio Delgado reveal the connections between ongoing colonial process- es, the political violence of the 1980s and 90s, and contemporary manifestations of gendered, racialized, and other forms of structural violence. Their collective Museo Itinerante Arte por la Memoria, a mobile museum for art and memory, won the 2014 Prince Claus Award for “outstanding achievement of visionaries at the front-line of culture and development.”
The seminar will meet four times and explore the power of art in uncovering and contesting the hidden foundations of violence. We will explore how art can create and sustain political and cultural counternarratives that resist racial capitalism, patriarchy, and the ongoing marginalization of Indigenous peoples in Peru. We will read texts that address the particular context of Peru, as well as broader theoretical works about art, cultural agency, memory, and politics.