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Veneration and Wonder: The politics of making art in an Oaxacan village
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, JMK.
2014 (English)In: Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, ISSN 2000-4214, E-ISSN 2000-4214, Vol. 6Article in journal (Refereed) [Artistic work] Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines a 5-year collaboration between the Stockholm-based video artists Performing Pictures and Talleres Comunitarios, a studio based in the Oaxacan town of Santa Ana Zegache where local artisans employ traditional skills in the restoration of religious artifacts. In images and text, we trace the exchange of skills, knowledge, and aesthetic sensibility that took place as these two groups of artists collaborated in producing a series of video animations of venerative objects, against a backdrop of religious, social, and political tensions that characterize everyday life in Zegache. In the article and the accompanying series of three short films, ‘‘Wonder & Veneration 13’’ (http://vimeo. com/album/2682070), we examine how the artists negotiate questions of aesthetics and religious belief as their collaboration unfolds within the context of the Zegache community, where the Talleres contribute skills of carpentry and painting, while Performing Pictures provides skills of film, animation and micro-electronics. The processes and practices involved in creating three works provides the framework for this examination: the first, an animation of the Virgin of Guadalupe as she appears to a simple peasant, and the second, produced 2 years later, an animation of Santa Ana, local patron saint and mother of Maria, as she teaches her daughter to read the scriptures. Whereas both figures are central to the syncretic religious belief of southern Mexico with its challenge to the entrenched authority of the hispanicized clergy, the local figure of Santa Ana carries even more complex meanings for the community of Zegache. These meanings are embodied in the third work we examine, a small solarpowered chapel that the artists built to display the Santa Ana animation. With the mayor’s support and located at the entrance to the town, the chapel embodies a shift of power away from the church, standing as an example of indigenous empowerment in civil society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 6
Keyword [en]
venerative objects, collaborative art, Talleres Comunitarios de Santa Ana Zegache, Performing Pictures, migration, syncretism, indigenous religion, video animation, aesthetics of dissent
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Aesthetics; Media and Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102845DOI: 10.3402/jac.v6.23844OAI: diva2:713556
Changing Places: Local and global events as mediated through screen practices in public spaceEuroaxacan Initiative for Transformative Culture
Swedish Research Council, 2009-29680-64897-65
Available from: 2014-04-23 Created: 2014-04-23 Last updated: 2016-09-06Bibliographically approved

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