Insurgent Imaginaries: Art and Iconoclasm in the Eighteenth-Century Andes
Ananda Cohen-Aponte, Cornell University
This presentation focuses on the production, modification, and destruction of images within the context of the Tupac Amaru (1780–1783) and Tupac Katari (1780–1781) Rebellions of the southern Andes. Historians and anthropologists have produced numerous studies on the sociocultural, economic, and political dimensions of anticolonial movements in the Andes. The visual and aesthetic aspects of these rebellions, however, remain largely overlooked in the scholarly literature. Drawing on new field and archival research, this presentation considers interventions into the material world as a form of political praxis. In particular, it analyzes several case studies involving the breaking, burning, and modification of artworks by rebels and royalists alike, calling into question the terms under which we define defacement and censorship. This presentation looks at a variety of objects, including portraits, textiles, sculptures, and khipus in order to highlight the diverse visual worlds that intervened in the practice of political subversion.