Practices of decolonization in the museum & rethinking exhibition in a time of COVID – Yama Feminist Collective
María Fernanda Cartagena (Ecuador) is a well-known scholar and curator who explores the links between contemporary art and politics, the insertion of art into the public sphere, community art, alternative pedagogies, and the relation between culture and colonialism. María will discuss her collaboration as a curator with the art collective “Yama” who bridges feminism, indigenous spirituality, and co-creation between mestizo and Indigenous people in Ecuador. She will discuss a series of events/workshops organized in her capacity as the Director of the Casa del Alabado pre-Columbian Art Museum in 2017. This event involved pedagogies and practices of decolonization involving exercises with pre-Columbian art figurines of Valdivia culture (3500 B.C. – B.C. 2000). One of those exercises was conducted by the art collective “Yama”. María will also then explain how the collective is working in a time of COVID.
María has influenced the direction of curation in her capacity as the Director of the Fundación Museos de la Ciudad (City Museums Foundation) in Quito, and also as the Director of Casa del Alabado Pre-Columbian art Museum (2016-2019). As Director of the Fundación Museos de la Ciudad (2014-2015), she organized “Spiritualities in Quito” a series of exhibitions and public art events about the richness and diversity of spiritual and religious practices alive in the city. She was curator of “De tu puño y letra. Diálogos en el ruedo”, a large-scale public art intervention under the artistic direction of Suzanne Lacy (2015) that addressed violence against women and involved hundreds of partners.. María holds a degree in History of Art from The American University Washington D.C.
“Doing Feminism in the Pandemic” is conceived as a collective, process-based living archive. Based on the Slack platform, it invites in-process reflections, “hundreds”, keywords, conversations, prompts, and encounters amongst its participants. It is organized around four streams: “The Crisis was Already Here” (#thecrisiswasalreadyhere), “What does COVID-19 teach us?” (#emergentmodels), “What is the ‘Everyday’ of the Pandemic?” (#theeveryday), and “Reading Space” for sharing links, articles or other material (#whatimreading). Each stream includes some preliminary thoughts and questions to begin an open, process-based, collective conversation.
Alongside the living archive, the Feminist Media Studio is organizing a series of Zoom conversations, artistic prompts, and roundtable discussions with members of numerous communities (academic, artistic and activist) vital to doing intersectional, antiracist, queer, and decolonial feminisms, which participating FMS members can attend, and which will form a vital part of the living archive itself and its various collaborative contributions.