Programs & Services

Breaking Down Stereotypes About Peruvian Art

Baldomero Alejos (born 1902 Santiago de Chocorvos, Peru, died 1976, Lima, Peru). Graciela Romero de Alarcón y su familia (Graciela Romero de Alarcón and her Family), 1930. Gelatin silver print copy from original negative. Collection of Archivo Fotográfico de Baldomero Alejos.

Llamas are popping up on clothing designs and home décor. Traditional weaving patterns are now sources for contemporary style magazines. Foodies are savoring Peru’s culinary contributions. Tourists flocking to Peru now have the government there considering a move to establish an airport between Cusco and Machu Picchu. You need to travel no further than the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) in Albuquerque to immerse yourself in all things Peruvian.

El Perú: Art in the Contemporary Past is at NHCC’s Art Museum through May 31, 2020. Designed to breakdown stereotypes of what people may expect to see in a Peruvian art exhibit, it features the work of two photographers, a multimedia artist, and a ceramicist. Each artist explores the Peruvian pre-colonial and colonial past while addressing race, class, and inclusion in the contemporary present. Works include photography, sculpture, ceramics, painting, video, and multimedia in juxtaposition with examples of their historical antecedents.

Artists featured include Baldomero Alejos (1924–1976), a photographer from Ayacucho whose archive was hidden by family during the reign of the Shining Path. Ana de Orbegoso is a multimedia artist inspired by the Cuzco School, pre-Columbian pottery and Peruvian history and identity. Kukuli Velarde is a ceramicist who addresses class racism and exclusion in her ceramics. Lorry Salcedo is a photographer whose striking black and white images connect the Peruvian past to its present.

Peruvian artists have produced significant visual culture for centuries. Yet, when one thinks of Peru, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the country’s past: pre-Columbian ceramics; Andean ruins and other ancient sites; colonial religious paintings; and “folk” arts. Both the pre- colonial and colonial past provide incredible historical richness and cultural context for understanding present day Peru. This exhibition delves into how the layered complexity of culture influenced by the past plays out in the present. Artists with deep connections to Peru are highly aware that the Indigenous pre-colonial past and post-colonial present are omniscient in Peruvian identity — thus, the idea of a “Contemporary Past” for this exhibit.

Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m. –5 p.m, Tuesday–Sunday. $6 Adults (17+), $5 for NM Residents (17+), Free for: Youth (16 & under), Seniors (60+) on Wednesdays, Veterans & US Active Duty Military Personnel through Labor Day, and NM Residents on the first Sunday of each month.

Coming January 25 through June 30, 2020: Celebrating the Centennial of the Women’s Vote, featuring Latinas from the international Hispanic diaspora, instrumental in women’s suffrage worldwide.

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