The Halsey Institute has produced an exhibition catalogue to accompany Kukuli Velarde: CORPUS which will debut Peruvian American artist Kukuli Velarde’s CORPUS project in its entirety for the first time. CORPUS is comprised of ceramic and fabric works that encourage reflection on the meaning of survival in the face of colonialism. Fifteen ceramic sculptures, each with matching tapestries, will be presented in a symbolic representation of the annual Corpus Christi festival in Cusco, Perú. The sculptures reference indigenous pre-Columbian forms and iconographies in a visual representation of syncretic aesthetic, cultural, and religious traditions. CORPUS engages with and confronts Perú’s Spanish colonial past, asserting that pre-Columbian sacred entities and the worldview they inhabit were not vanquished by Spanish conquerors, but instead cleverly blended with their Catholic counterparts, ensuring their survival. So too, have the diverse peoples of Perú and greater Latin America formed and reformed political, religious, and cultural identity in the shadow of centuries-long oppression. Velarde’s CORPUS asks viewers to consider this resilience via her stunningly detailed and humorously thought-provoking work.
The publication features detailed photographs of the CORPUS sculptures, along with an introduction by Tey Marianna Nunn, essays by Katie Hirsch and the artist’s mother, Alfonsina Barrionuevo, and an interview with the artist.