This land will never be fertile for having given birth to colonisers
23.11.2019 – 16.02.2020
Curator: Valentín Roma
Opening: Friday 22th November 2019, 7 pm
The first anthological review to be held on her work, this exhibition brings together a selection of 31 projects carried out by Daniela Ortiz (Cuzco, 1985) over the past decade.
From her early works, in which she questions the Spanish National Day in its threefold connotation of a colonial anniversary, a glorification of war and a celebration of white supremacy, to a series of proposals that explore legalised violence against the migrant population, the privileges of whiteness and the employment-related aggressions inflicted by the upper classes on women domestic workers, Daniela Ortiz has thoroughly investigated all the processes and institutions on which the system of persecution, exclusion and criminalisation of racialised people is based.
In this respect, as we can see in Walter and Risk Factors, both of which were conceived specifically for this exhibition, one of the main lines of discourse of Esta tierra jamás será fértil por haber parido colonos (This Land Will Never Be Fertile Because It Spawned Settlers) is the analysis of how the authorities in charge of withdrawals of child custody operate with class, patriarchal and racist motives.
Other works that are exhibited here for the first time, with renewed formats, include Europe Will Kneel to Receive the Anticolonial Spirit (2019), which distances itself from the secularism that characterises the Eurocentric left, connecting with the various anticolonial resistance movements and currents of political spirituality originating from the global South; FRONTEX – Decoration (2016-2019), which spotlights the individuals and corporations that exploit borders for financial purposes and political interests, under cover of the lobbies of “humanitarian” profit; and Reparations (2017-2019), an intervention that hinges around The First New Chronicle and Good Government (1615), by Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala, a manuscript in which the Peruvian scribe portrays the abuses committed against Andean society by the colonisers.
Lastly, there are two projects that have been done expressly for La Virreina Centre de la Imatge. The first is Casta Paintings (2019), in which the artist recovers the pictorial genre of the same name that was developed throughout the 18th century in the Viceroyalty of Peru, in the same period in which this territory was governed with an iron fist by the despot Manuel d’Amat i de Junyent, who owned the Virreina Palace. Using the iconographic codes of this type of canvas, Daniela Ortiz denounces situations of institutional racism. The fact that the portrait of Viceroy Amat presides over the space in which these “other” casta paintings are hung gives a new meaning to the message sent out from certain hegemonic areas of whiteness.
The second proposal is the publication Nueve ensayos de interpretación del racismo colonial (Nine Essays to Interpret Colonial Racism, 2019), a critical anthology that brings together thematically some of the most incisive discussion and confrontation threads generated by Daniela Ortiz on her Facebook profile, which the artist sees as a platform from which to give voice to those anticolonial structures that lack a place of articulation and development in the public sphere.