EntertainmentWomen in the street and in history: Visual artist...

Women in the street and in history: Visual artist Ana de Orbegoso celebrates the power of the feminine in her anthological exhibition


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The first thing one experiences upon entering the gallery is the feeling of an invaded space. A conscious takeover of the premises. Peruvians who take over baroque iconography to become the virgins of a new time; Inca princesses who keep track of violence against women in our country, appropriations of Moche ceramics so that we reflect on our own history.

“Memory (in) feminine”, title of the anthological exhibition of the visual artist Ana de Orbegoso, is a political and poetic statement, affirmed in the denunciation and activism, in lucid dialogue with antiquity, the modern and the contemporary. It could not be otherwise, since it is about sharing the journey of an artist who, starting from the most intimate photography in the 90s, led to issues related to memory and history, articulated with social movements with urgent demands.

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“My first instrument was a camera. Photography allows you to focus, sharpen your gaze. And throughout this process, I was learning to be a woman and to be a better Peruvian. That meditation began in the studio, in a protected space, where I was in control. But later, those same reflections took me out of the studio”, says the artist.

The exhibition seeks and postulates a hinge between the subjective dimension of art and the historical, cultural and discursive contexts, says the curator.  (PHOTOS: ALESSANDRO CURRARINO / EL COMERCIO)

Indeed, De Orbegoso felt that photography was not enough to define his work when he began to tell stories that involved the other. “I went from a psychological reflection to a social reflection. I went out to take photos in the street and, extracting information from the collective memory, I realized that I wanted to tell stories, with different treatments, learning new techniques. It all depends on how I want to tell the story so it connects,” he says.

Ana de Orbegoso's exhibition designs and shows a temporary complex arch (PHOTOS: ALESSANDRO CURRARINO / EL COMERCIO)

The exhibition presented at the Icpna in Miraflores has a clear intention: to develop messages that reach the public, familiar, direct, in tune with the popular. For the artist, we live in times when art requires us to be more direct. “I feel that it is important to be aware, and that is what makes me so direct in my work. An awareness is an assumption of responsibility. Understand how our actions affect the other”, she affirms.

In the exhibition, the viewer will notice globalization, feminist struggles, the tensions of identification with the female figure associated with Peruvian cultural history and the past of ancient America provided by Moche portraits.  PHOTOS: ALESSANDRO CURRARINO / EL COMERCIO

And of course, these reflections lead the artist to lament our desolate political situation: “We have a super country, an incredible culture and enormous resources, but they are distributed among four groups. Peru deserves better politicians. As citizens, we need to be more aware, we cannot allow government after government to continue destroying us”, she cries. For this reason, all of her work gathered in this anthological exhibition has that aspiration to shake consciences. But that, along with the denunciation, poetry is also incorporated, the word that saves us and makes us maintain hope. For the curator Augusto del Valle, the question that remains floating in the environment, after going through the exhibition, is what we do with our history. “Deciding it is an existential challenge. And from this comes the urgency to communicate about this exhibition”, he explains.

Ana de Orbegoso presents a retrospective at the Icpna gallery.  (PHOTOS: ALESSANDRO CURRARINO / EL COMERCIO)

“Memory (in) women” is an exhibition that coincides with times of social demands but also of unfortunate setbacks, as has happened in the United States, where the Supreme Court has decided to abolish the constitutional right to abortion, news that for the artist has been devastating. “It cannot be possible that the female body continues to be a battlefield, where extreme positions face each other,” laments the New York-based artist. However, for De Orbegoso, she only has to keep fighting. “Art is a very powerful instrument to raise awareness and seek hope,” she adds.

Artist Ana de Orbegoso and curator Augusto del Valle (PHOTOS: ALESSANDRO CURRARINO / EL COMERCIO)

More information

Place: ICPNA of Miraflores. Address: Av. Angamos Oeste 120. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 7 pm Admission: free.

Source: Elcomercio

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