CORPUS by Kukuli Velarde

Since our ice breaker question during our first session was “cool things we saw this summer,” I wanted to share another cool thing I saw which were these sculptures by Kukuli Velarde that were featured at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this summer in their exhibit New Grit: Art and Philly Now. I came across this event she did with the museum on CORPUS and found it super fascinating. She drew inspiration from the Corpus Christi religious festival in Cusco, Peru, which began when Catholic colonizers forced Indigenous Peruvians to partake in the festival and later destroyed the Indigenous peoples’ sacred sites. During the festival, large statues of Catholic saints and figures are paraded through the city, but it has since transformed to become a festival where both Catholic and Indigenous religious figures are celebrated. Her pieces in CORPUS celebrate the resilience of Indigenous Peruvians through the syncretism of these practices and the Catholic festival of Corpus Christi. The juxtaposition between the Catholic and Indigenous figures in the pieces reminded me of our activity where we were meant to search for “opposites.”

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