Kukuli Velarde pottery takes on Spanish colonialism in Latin America

The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem, N.C. hosts CORPUS, an exhibition of ceramics and fabric works by Peruvian American artist Kukuli Velarde. An opening reception with the artist will be held Thursday, July 20 from 6–8pm, with remarks at 6:30pm. Admission is free and open to the public.

CORPUS is comprised of ceramic and fabric works that encourage reflection on the meaning of survival in the face of colonialism. Fifteen ceramic sculptures, each with matching tapestries, will be presented in a symbolic representation of the annual Corpus Christi festival in Cusco, Perú. The sculptures reference indigenous pre-Columbian forms and iconographies in a visual representation of syncretic aesthetic, cultural, and religious traditions. 

CORPUS engages with and confronts Perú’s Spanish colonial past, asserting that pre-Columbian sacred entities and the worldview they inhabit were not vanquished by Spanish conquerors, but instead cleverly blended with their Catholic counterparts, ensuring their survival. So too, have the diverse peoples of Perú and greater Latin America formed and reformed political, religious, and cultural identity in the shadow of centuries-long oppression.

Velarde’s CORPUS asks viewers to consider this resilience via her stunningly detailed and humorously thought-provoking work.

Kukuli Velarde: CORPUS was organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston School of the Arts; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College; and University of Texas at San Antonio’s Southwest Campus.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Kukuli Velarde is a Peruvian American artist based in Philadelphia, PA. She works in ceramic, painting, drawing, and installation. Much of her work draws on pre-Columbian traditional forms and iconographies, highlighting colonized and syncretic identities and aesthetic systems.

Velarde received a BFA from Hunter College in New York City. She is the recipient of such awards as the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant (2012), and Joan Mitchell Foundation grant (1997).

Kukuli Velarde’s website is KukuliVelarde.com.

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