11. Cultural resistance

Abstract

Art is flourishing in Latin America and has increasingly engaged with struggles for equality, group identity, justice, and memory. Music, graffiti, and memorial art provide alternative means of expression to those mandated by mainstream media, rescuing the past and helping people to construct identities for the future.

Culture also provides a space for thought and discussion of some of the most contentious social issues.

Index

News about this chapter

Brazil: young people teach social distancing

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Rios de Encontro, the eco-cultural and social education Project, based in the community of Cabelo Seco, Marabá, since 2008, is in quarantine. Dozens of children and young people have been asking the coordinators since the beginning of March, when the Owl Cinema, the Leaves of Life Library, the Rabetas Audiovisual courses and the AfroMundo dance company will reopen. But the project cannot fix a date. ‘When the virus disappears’ says the poster. ‘Since we finished drawing up the few new projects in February’, says Dan Baron, co-founder and eco-learning coordinator of the project,...

Tintin in the forests of Guatemala

The rainforests of Central America have come to north London. One day Tintin decided he would like to sit on one of my freshly made works - so it became Tintin’s sofa To walk through the huge, vividly coloured canvases hanging from the walls and ceiling of the Camden Arts Centre is to be uncannily immersed in the heat and humidity of the Guatemalan highlands, where Argentinian artist Vivian Suter has made her home for the past 30 years. Oil, volcanic material, earth, botanical matter, and microorganisms...

Ernesto Cardenal: everyone is a poet

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Nick Caistor writes: The Nicaraguan poet and Catholic priest Father Ernesto Cardenal died at the age of 95 in Managua on Sunday 1 March, 2020. LAB thought it would be a fitting tribute to publish the lengthy interview I had with him in Managua a decade ago. Since then, Cardenal remained active as a poet and sculptor despite his declining health. He received more international recognition for his work, winning the Reina Sofia award for Ibero-American poetry in 2012, and being awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the French state a year later. He continued to live in...

Victor Jara presente – across the world

Immediately following the military coup in Chile on September 11 1973, the Pinochet dictatorship set about destroying as much as they could lay their hands on of the hugely popular wave of commited art and culture which had supported and given a voice to Popular Unity, its supporters and to millions of ordinary Chileans. That is why the generals ordered books to be burned in massive bonfires in the streets of Santiago; they blanked out beautiful wall paintings; they took over radio and TV stations and banned much of the most popular...

Urban impulses – Latin American photography

A lone man in the garb of a nineteenth century mambi Cuban freedom fighter sits high on a lamp post above a sea of people in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución. Alberto Korda, Cuba (b.1928): El Quijote de la Farola (The Don Quijote of the lamppost), Plaza de la Revolucion, Cuba 26 de julio de 1959 They are celebrating Fidel Castro’s 1959 triumph in the overthrow of the dictatorship Batista, in an iconic photographic image by Alberto Korda. Above it is an even more iconic image by the...

Videos

Chile: La caravana de las Danzas

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The 2018 Caravana de las Danzas 2018, dancing in La Plaza de Talca and taking a walk around the Barrio en Colores,...

Towards a Living Amazon: Rios de Encontro European tour

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Rios de Encontro presents the origins and eco-cultural vision of the AfroRaiz Collective of young afro-indigenous...

Pintó La Isla

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Pintó la isla is a project of urban art developed in Isla Maciel, Avellanada, Buenos Aires. The aim is to integrate the...

Rebeca Lane

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The Youtube channel of Rebeca Lane

Mujeres Ajchowen – XIMONIK

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Video: Hemispheric Institute, 2018

About the Author

Louise Morris is a journalist, audio and TV producer. She specializes in women’s rights and the intersection between art and politics. Louise works producing for NPR.

She previously worked producing a daily TV magazine programme. She has written for The Wire, Delayed Gratification and BBC News Online, among others.

Interviewees

Iván Brasil (Los del Puente): interviewed in Villa Isla Maciel, Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 27 May 2017 by Louise Morris. Translated by Louise Morris.

Manuel Carrasquilla, aka El Zorro (Casa Kolacho): interviewed in Medellín on 15 June 2017 by Louise Morris. Translated by Louise Morris.

Ana, Mauricio and Diego (Dexpierte street art collective): interviewed in Bogotá on 8 June 2017 by Louise Morris. Translated by Matthew Kingston.

DJLu (graffiti artist): interviewed in Bogotá on 10 June 2017 by Louise Morris. Translated by Louise Morris.

Daniel Hernández-Salazar (photographer): interviewed in Guatemala City on 25 June 2017 by Louise Morris. Translated by Louise Morris.

Juan Gabriel Gómez Alborello (Universidad Nacional de Colombia): interviewed in Bogotá on 12 June 2017 by Louise Morris. Translated by Louise Morris.

Stephanie Janaina (dancer and choreographer): interviewed in Mexico City on 5 July 2017 by Louise Morris. Translated by Louise Morris.

Rebeca Lane (hip hop artist): interviewed via email on 19 May 2014 and 4 June 2018 by Louise Morris. Translated by Louise Morris.

Totó la Momposina (singer): interviewed in Norwich, UK, on 19 May 2017 by Louise Morris. Translated by Louise Morris.

Brian Sánchez (Pintó La Isla): interviewed in Villa Isla Maciel, Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 27 May 2017 by Louise Morris. Translated by Louise Morris.

Urián Sarmiento (Sonidos Enraizados): interviewed in Bogotá on 9 June 2017 by Louise Morris. Translated by Louise Morris.

Clara Alicia Sen Sipac (Mujeres Ajchowen): interviewed in Sololá, Guatemala, on 26 June 2017 by Louise Morris. Translated by Louise Morris.

References

Bigda, L. (2015) ‘A military-backed comedian will be Guatemala’s next president. Activists aren’t laughing, The Nation, 2 November

CEH (1999) ‘Guatemala: memory of silence’, Report of the Commission for Historical Clarification, Conclusions and Recommendations, (CEH), English summary

Cepeda, E. (2018) ‘Tu Pum Pum: as reggaeton goes pop, never forget the genre’s Black roots’, Remezcla

Delgado, M. (2013) ‘The museum is in the streets: the Itinerant Museum of Art for Memory’, Globality-gmu.net

Martínez, M. (2013) ‘Peru’s painful mirror’, ICTJ.org

Sanchez, F. (2017) ‘Amid tear gas, Venezuela violinist symbolizes hope for peace’, AP News, 5 June

Villegas, R. (2018) ‘This video from Costa Rican rapper Macha Kiddo is a powerful indictment of transphobia’, Remezcla

Further reading

General

– Hierro, L. (2016) ‘Casa Kolacho: La violencia se cura con hip hop’, El País (in Spanish)

– Morris, L. (2017) ‘‘A way of healing’: Art and memory in Latin America’, BBC News

Visual art

– Basciano, O. (2018) ‘Cuban artists fear crackdown after Tania Bruguera arrest’, The Guardian

– Bellucci, J. (2016) ‘Llena de arte y color la Isla Maciel para “romper estigmas”’, Clarín (in Spanish)

– DJLU (n.d.) DJLU (profile), Street Art & Graffiti

– Gonzalez, D. (2012) ‘Angels Watch Over Memories of War’, The New York Times

– Gonzalez, D. (2013) ‘A Quest for Justice in Guatemala’, The New York Times

– Higgins, C. (2018) ‘Detained, grilled, denounced: Tania Bruguera on life in Cuba – and her Turbine Hall show’, The Guardian

– Kellaway, V. (2011) ‘Banksy of Bogotá: Colombian Graffiti Artist DJLu’, Banana Skin Flip Flops

– Morrison, C. (2017) ‘Graffiti vs the ‘Beautiful City’: Urban Policy and Artistic Resistance in São Paulo’, LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre

– Vargas, S. (2015) ‘Seizing public space’, Development and Cooperation

Music

– Garsd, J. (2015) ‘Cumbia: The Musical Backbone of Latin America’, alt.Latino

– Guy, J. (2016) ‘Life as a Female Rapper in Guatemala, One of the Most Dangerous Places on Earth to be a Woman’, Noisey

– Haberman, C. (2018) ‘He Died Giving a Voice to Chile’s Poor. A Quest for Justice Took Decades.’, The New York Times

– Jessel, E. (2017) ‘Chocolate Remix: the lesbian reggaeton artist taking on the ‘supermachos’’, The Guardian

– Nelson, S. (2018) ‘Using Music to Fight for Women’s Rights, Meet Guatemalan Rapper Rebeca Lane’, Culture Trip

– Salpicón, S. (2017) ‘‘No voy a censurarme para no incomodarles’: Rebeca Lane is breaking boundaries with hip-hop’, Sounds and Colours

– Slater, R. (2018) ‘An introduction to cumbia in 20 essential records’, The Vinyl Factory

Theatre and performance art

– Breukel, C. and Cader-Frech, M. (2016) ‘Performing El Salvador – Contemporary Art: A Social and Political Gauge’, ReVista