Vitrina VI (Prehispánico/Antisocial/Holgazán/Ingrato) (Display Cabinet VI [Pre-Hispanic/Anti-Social/Idle/Ungrateful])

Sandra Gamarra

Lima, Peru, 1972
  • Date: 
  • Material: 
    Metal and methacrylate
  • Technique: 
    Oil on methacrylate
  • Descriptive technique: 
    A work made up of a display cabinet with a metal base containing seven paintings on methacrylate representing pre-Columbian vessels. Part of the exhibition "Ostracism Room"
  • Dimensions: 
    Overall: 127 x 180 cm / Base: 84 x 180 x 40 cm / Part 01: 34 x 26 cm / Part 02: 34 x 26 cm / Part 03: 34 x 26 cm / Part 04: 34 x 26 cm / Part 05: 34 x 26 cm / Part 06: 34 x 26 cm / Part 07: 34 x 26 cm
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  • Entry date: 
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Sandra Gamarra Heshiki is a Peruvian artist who lives in Spain. Her work examines the mechanisms that legitimise the art system and colonial legacies and critically revises the role of the museum as an ideological and propaganda device of modernity. In 2024, she becomes the first Latin American artist to represent Spain at the Venice Bienale.
These display cases are part of the project El museo del ostracismo (The Museum of Ostracism, 2018), comprising two-dimensional pictorial replicas of huacos (anthropomorphous or zoomorphous ceramic pots made by pre-Hispanic people located in the geographical territory that today delimits Peru). These pieces have been copied from so-called “pre-Columbian” collections exhibited in different museums in the Spanish State.  On the back of the paintings any reference detail has been erased, hindering identification. Instead, only racist and xenophobic terms can be read which, from the West, have been used to name the settlers of Abya Yala or the Americas — words that today remain in the common language of former colonies to refer pejoratively to migrant communities.
Simulating a common device in natural science and anthropology museums, which have emerged to show the knowledge of the colonial world through artefacts plundered from Indigenous communities, Gamarra raises different questions: What role do museums play in the lasting colonial narrative of the world we live in today? How can we narrate the historical and political conditions of the kidnapping of those objects?

Suset Sánchez Sánchez

Authors in the room