(De)Colonizing Representations: Influence of 20th Century Indigenous/Indigenist Art in Ecuador, Peru, and Mexico

Juan Cabrera, University of Pennsylvania

This paper was part of the 2014-2015 Penn Humanities Forum on Color. Find out more at http://www.phf.upenn.edu/annual-topics/color.


research project will examine the ways in which indigenous peoples of Ecuador, Peru, and Mexico were viewed through 20th century Indigenous/Indigenist art. The topic of research generates a comparison between painting’s representative qualities and photography’s manipulation of reality. The goal is to develop a sense of what the art evoked in the public sphere and how it functioned to change the public’s perceptions of indigenous peoples in these areas. Shifting representations and the concept of (de)colonizing representations will illuminate the ways in which people have viewed varying degrees of indigeneity.

Scholarship in these fields have not yet addressed how art constructs, deconstructs, reconstructs, and molds the views of the public about indigenous peoples. By researching into this type of process of shifting influences, I will be able to illuminate the associations of construction, deconstruction, reconstruction, and synthesis of public opinion of indigenous bodies in Latin America. This relationship between art and public perception is crucial to understanding how these media can positively or negatively shift people’s opinions which further perpetuates degrees of racial or gender discrimination and prejudice in Latin America. To conclude, the hope is to understand the interplay between images, color, and public opinion to show how these dynamics affect its perceptions of indigenous peoples.


Date Posted: 17 November 2016