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Inventing Indigenism: Francisco Laso’s Image of Modern Peru: A conversation with Natalia Majluf (University of Chicago)

When: Monday, June 6, 2022
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Cindy Pingry   (847) 467-1933

Group: Andean Cultures and Histories Working Group

Co-Sponsor: Department of Art History

Category: Academic


Natalia Majluf (University of Chicago), is an independent curator and art historian. Majluf was a Head Curator and later Director of the Museo de Arte de Lima (1995–2018), where she oversaw the renovation of the historic building that houses the museum and contributed to expand the range and scope of the collections. As an art historian, she has curated exhibitions, lectured and published broadly on nineteenth and twentieth-century Latin American art. She has held the Getty Curatorial Research Fellowship and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, as well as fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington D.C. and at the University of Cambridge. She is currently co-editor of Latin American Research Commons, Latin American Studies Association, and the digital platform Trama, espacio de crítica y debate [Trama, a space for criticism and debate]. Her most recent book, Inventing Indigenism: Francisco Laso’s Image of Modern Peru, has been published by the University of Texas Press.

About the Book:

One of the outstanding painters of the nineteenth century, Francisco Laso (1823–1869) set out to give visual form to modern Peru. His solemn and still paintings of indigenous subjects were part of a larger project, spurred by writers and intellectuals actively crafting a nation in the aftermath of independence from Spain. Inventing Indigenism. Francisco Laso’s Image of Modern Peru, at once the first major monograph on Laso and an innovative account of modern indigenism, explores the rise of the image of the Indian in literature and visual culture. Reading Laso’s works through a broad range of sources, the book traces a decisive break in a long history of representations of indigenous peoples that began with the Spanish conquest. She ties this transformation to the modern concept of culture, which redefined both the artistic field and the notion of indigeneity. As an abstraction produced through indigenist discourse, an icon of authenticity, and a densely racialized cultural construct, the Indian emerges as a central symbol of modern Andean nationalisms.

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