Kukuli Velarde: Plunder Me, Baby

On view: September 16, 2017–February 11, 2018
Opening Reception:Saturday, September 16, 6–9PM
Artist Lecture: Saturday, September 16, 6:30PM

This is the first West Coast exhibition by the U.S.-based Peruvian artist Kukuli Velarde, who was born in Cusco in 1962 and moved to the U.S. in 1988. The Plunder Me, Baby ceramic sculptures evoke a childhood memory that has haunted Velarde: hearing her 16-year-old nanny declare “I don’t speak Quechua” (the language of the Inca) in an attempt to hide her indigenous roots. To challenge this racism, Velarde creates personal and sometimes confrontational ceramic sculptures which are based on the traditional forms and surface decorations of Pre-Columbian ceramics but include the artist’s own image and reference her own indigenous ancestry. Sculptures from her Isichapuitu series will also be included in the exhibition. The Isichapuitu figures were inspired by a Mexican statue from the Rockefeller Collection at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The figure represents an obese male child with his arms up. Someone made this scupture over two thousand years ago and yet, Velarde believes, it resembles her. Isichapuitu is an installation of several versions of the same figure. These figures serve as a metaphor of expectations and disappointments, memories and oblivion, and generosities and pettiness. Velarde’s work will be augmented with a selection of Pre-Columbian ceramic objects to illustrate her source material.

About the Artist

Kukuli Velarde has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Hunter College and currently lives and works in Philadelphia, PA. Her work is included in the collections of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, TX; the Racine Art Museum, WI; the Fuller Craft Museum, MA; and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, WI. She is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, USA Knight Fellowship, PEW Fellowship, and Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant.  

This exhibition is part of the Getty-led Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles.
This exhibition is sponsored in part by the Pasadena Art Alliance and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.  

Pictured, work from Plunder Me, Baby, L-R: Native Hysteric Macuarra (Vulnerable, defenseless. A fascinating prey. She gets scared easy), Fuller Craft Museum, Gift of Arthur S. Goldberg; Chola de Mierda (Resentida social, socially resentful, she believes she is an equal. Dismissible.), Collection of the Artist; Entangled, Private Collection.

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