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Alt. Latino, a podcast on NPR hosted by Argentinian Jasmine Garsd and Mexican-American Felix Contreras, is one of the best podcasts I have ever listened to–it is full of colorful music and voices, providing a developed cultural background for each of the new artists that they cover.

Hosts Garsd, right, and Contreras, left.

Today I listened to the Ana Tijoux interview, an artist which I previously mentioned in my post about Café con Música (the CD that I bought from a local Starbucks). Throughout the course of the podcast, Ana told her life story through music, including a thorough explanation of her issues of national identification which served as an inspiration for many of her songs: the daughter of Chileans exiled from Pinochet’s reign, she was raised in France, where issues of xenophobia and immigration are hot-button topics even today.

Give it a listen–no Spanish necessary!

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Background from Bert’s Kickstarter page:

About. Coded Stories, a documentary film, weaves together contemporary art with indigenous rights to convey the struggle of the Mapuche of Chile to preserve their culture and way of life. After a year of original filming, we are reaching out to supporters to help us raise $25,000 to complete filming in Chile and Los Angeles through October 2012. The goal of Coded Stories is to spread awareness about the plight of the Mapuche, a people whose traditions are under serious threat and to share their beautiful art and culture with a larger audience.

The Story. The film follows artist Guillermo Bert, a Chilean-born, Los Angeles-based artist whose recent work was inspired by the similarities between Mapuche textile patterns and contemporary bar codes (QR codes). Bert’s art raises questions about identity, globalization, modernization, and challenges facing indigenous cultures in the Americas.

Click here to read more on kickstarter.

One of the pieces about which the documentary was made: Poem in Blue, based on a poem by Graciela Huinao, art by Guillermo Bert.

Mapuche Art is what I hope to study as I progress in my Art History career, and this man is doing an incredible job in increasing visibility of the indigenous Mapuche community as well as highlighting their integration with the Modern Chilean nation as well as the international, digitally-enriched world.

I sincerely hope that this project gets fully funded, because I would absolutely love to hear more Bert’s inspiration and art.

Henrique Oliveira is a Brazil-based sculptor, a young and rising artist who has hit recent success.

He takes driftwood from the streets and creates these massive, living pieces of art within large spaces. He paints as well, creating linear designs on canvas in what seems to be an imitation of wood’s curving growth rings.

via Olveira’s site

In the above picture, it seems as if the wood has entered the home and burst out from the foyer, creating a growth that invades and lives through its location. The wood invades the sidewalk at the house’s front, yet it is completely still: it guards itself in wait.

The wood is its own being, reborn after being hacked away, reincorporated into a new entity. The wood itself defies defeat, and a tempest is created.

I have spent countless hours sifting through blog posts about Chile, reading Spanish novels (a term I use loosely as the current read happens to be a teen novel translated into Spanish from English), and just generally missing the place in the past few days. It feels like ages since I’ve seen many people that are like family to me: my boyfriend Francisco, his entire family, my once-host family, and the friends and acquaintances that made my time there incredible. I’m even missing the (insane, copious) amount of mayonnaise that they spread over every food item in their path (although I still do not miss manjar, that sticky caramel-y stick-to-your-arteries substance that Francisco adores). All in good time, I suppose–and in the meantime I can consider my explorations in the blogosphere a form of research for my quickly-approaching senior thesis about Mapuche art within Chilean culture.

I’m getting knee-deep into my exhibition on John Baeder now. I’m a few paragraphs into my rough draft, which needs to be finished within the week–I think I should start hitting the library soon or else I’m never going to get anything done.

I’m also going to be working with the head of academic programs at the Museo Larco in Lima, Peru in order to create new material having to do with Latin American Art for Smarthistory–the website is a fantastic resource for Western art, but is notably lacking in academic articles about the art of the Americas, Africa, Oceania or Asia, which they are in the process of correcting.

Anyway, here is a picture of the Museé de la Mode et du Design in Paris, where I was lucky enough to be able to visit an exhibit on the trademark style of the Spanish couturier Balenciaga maintained throughout the past 100 or so years:

View from the Seine


View from inside the green shenanigans

Great Blogs from English Expats in Chile:
Way South of the Border
Cachando Chile: Reflections on Chilean Culture
Bearshapedsphere (a travel blog by a professional freelance writer)

Found via the online art journal, Anarty: http://anartyblog.wordpress.com

Cecilia Paredes is a Peruvian artist who paints herself (i.e. her own skin) into the lush flora of various wallpapers behind her. Paredes describes it as an extension of her search for identity after a life of “displacement and migration.”

In many of her works, her hair and/or her eyes are often the only element present that betrays her presence: the wallpaper’s harmony is broken by the slight mismatch of lines and white pop of Paredes’ stare. Despite how it may appear at first glance, Paredes is, in fact, a part of the visual landscape, the representation of herself life-size within the 4’x 4′ frame.

Paredes exemplifies the issues of identity often seen within modern Latin American art: from Pepón Osorio, who struggles to evaluate his role within a Puerto Rican community as a black man and again as a Puerto Rican within the states, and Michael Manjarris, whose work reflects his mixed upbringing as both a Mexican and American citizen (even his name drops the Spanish pronunciation: man-harris becomes man-gerris), to larger concepts of identification as a nation that are common in the work of artists such as Fernando Botero and Diego Rivera. Anarty also likens her work to that of Frida Kahlo in visual style.

(But I still wonder if there is a link between her last name (Paredes is wall in Spanish) and chosen subject matter… no mention in any websites as of yet.)