Vírgenes urbanas

Ana de Orbegoso Peruvian

Not on view

The Spanish conquest of the Americas relied heavily on religious painting to impose and cement Christian ideology and to convert existing indigenous populations. Unique styles of painting developed as colonial artists incorporated local flora, fauna, and the natural landscape into their Christian images.

Peruvian-born and New York-based artist Ana de Orbegoso builds off this tradition, using giclée prints to superimpose the faces of contemporary Peruvian women over the stoic, docile, white faces of saints and virgins, and replacing the divine European archetype of western female piety with one that is more representative of the Peruvian people. Part of Urban Virgins as a "decolonization project" consists of parading these updated images through the urban landscape. Like the colonial paintings from which she draws her inspiration, in addition to each photographic collage, she creates costumes to be worn by women on performance walking tours throughout Peru. By taking well known subjects from Cuzco School paintings and revising them to reflect contemporary realities, her work "celebrate[s] the cultural, spiritual and physical diversity of present-day Peru, instead of the conqueror's ideals." This catalog presents Orbegoso’s series alongside trilingual poems by Cusquenian poet Odi Gonzales, to give each virgin a voice in Spanish, English, and Quechua, representing the plurality and complexity of Peru today.

Vírgenes urbanas, Ana de Orbegoso (Peruvian, born 1964)

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