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"Pinche Indio" | Artist Talk by Benvenuto Chavajay

Monday, February 25, 2019 6:00 pm

In the wake of the insults targeting Roma actress Yalitza Aparicio (Mixtec-Triqui) in Mexican social media following her 2019 Oscar nomination—she was openly referred to as ‘pinche india’—indigenous Guatemalan artist Benvenuto Chavajay (Tz'utujil-Maya) invites us to reflect on the currency of racism in the Americas, and explore the ways in which art, through its power to name and rename, can upend colonial legacies and heal racist wrongs. Chavajay will discuss his work to correct the name given to Guatemala’s National Stadium in the 1960s. The stadium was (mis)named “Mateo Flores” in honor of the Kakchiquel-Guatemalan athlete Doroteo Guamuch Flores, who won the Boston Marathon in 1952 and whose name was changed because it was allegedly too difficult to pronounce. Through a series of public actions, which included tattooing the athlete's national identity card on his back, Chavajay pressured authorities to correct the name of the stadium. In September 2016, Bill #42-2016, proposed by the artist, was enacted into law and the arena’s name officially changed to Estadio Nacional Doroteo Guamuch Flores.

*This talk will be in Spanish with simultaneous English translation.

Hemispheric Institute
20 Cooper Square, fifth floor
New York, NY 10003

Benvenuto Chavajay Ixtetelagraduated from the Rafael Rodriguez Padilla School of Plastic Arts, in Guatemala and later studied at the National University of Costa Rica and the Superior School of the Arts in Nicaragua. His recent exhibitions include in SITElines 2018: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas, Santa Fe, NM; X Bienal de Centro America, San Jose, Costa Rica (2016); Who Are You, Museo MOlAA, Los Angeles (2016); 10 Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2015); I Bienal del Sur. Pueblos en Resistencia, Caracas (2015), KADIST Foundation, San Francisco (2015), and Indigeneity, Decoloniality and Art, Fredric Jameson Gallery, Duke University, Durham, NC (2015). Among his distinctions are: First prize at the Juannio Latin American Art Auction (2008); the “Promising Talent” award of the Botran Foundation (2002); finalist at HABITART, Contemporary Central American Art (2003), and first prize at the September 15th Central American Competition (2004). His work ranges from performance to sculpture, and explores indigenous identity, decolonial theories, and the reshaping of everyday aspects of community life.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. A photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings and 20 Cooper Square is a wheelchair accessible venue.