Cohen Suarez, Ananda : Small Grant, 2013-2014

Recipients: 

Ananda Cohen Suarez (History of Art)

College: 
College of Arts and Sciences
Department: 
History of Art
Project Title: 
Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between: History and Politics in the Murals of Colonial Peru
Project Abstract: 
The Einaudi Center’s funding will assist with the completion of a five-year research project on the visual cultures of colonialism in viceregal Peru (16th-19th centuries), culminating in a book entitled Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between: History and Politics in the Murals of Colonial Peru, to be published by the University of Texas Press in 2016. This project is organized around four case studies of mural paintings located in diocesan churches throughout the Cuzco region of Peru. After the Spanish conquest of the Inca empire in 1532, mural painting became the medium par excellence in the evangelization process for its ability to transmit Catholic doctrine to non-literate indigenous communities through a didactic visual language. This project investigates the intermediary role that native artists played in situating European religious imagery within Andean visual languages. It explores how artists served as critical interlocutors in the creation of spiritual imaginaries that synthesized both Christian and indigenous notions of the sacred. This is the first study to move beyond mere descriptive analysis of Peruvian mural paintings, instead situating them within a broader sociocultural framework. It participates in larger debates on the creative means by which disenfranchised communities responded to and resisted colonial ideologies across various cultural and geographical contexts.