INDIAN RED by Sandra Gamarra
Galería Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid
The exhibition Indian Red is presented as two museum rooms: The Room of Found Objects and The Room of Ostracism.
The Room of Found Objects brings together a collection of paintings of classic pictorial genres, such as portrait, still life and landscape, which inform us about a history of the objectification of peoples, their cultures, their resources and the spaces they inhabit.
The Room of Ostracism consists of ten display cases in which we can find paintings of Andean ceramics. These ceramics can be found in the collections of pre-Columbian artifacts in Spanish museums. These objects, uprooted from their traditional use are organized, ordered and exhibited with distance and pulchritude. On the back of each painting, there are words that have historically been used to name the “other” have been written.
The words Indian and Red, besides naming a color tone of iron oxide, have become a pejorative term for the Andean populations.
This usage of words, paradoxically emanate from errors. When we say Indians, we may have in mind indigenous peoples from America and not necessarily the inhabitants of India — all of this thanks to Christopher Columbus´ famous historical mistake. Similarly, Red in association with Indian evokes terms such as communist, a Marxist, leftist, anti-systemic individual, etc. Nonetheless, the original inhabitants of South America are not Indians and their culture is not dependent on leftist Western thinking.
For the Eurocentric worldview everything relies and comes from its logic and, for that reason, everything must be rooted in it. The Indian Red would, to that effect, be the inhabitant of non-Western lands, opposed to the idea of progress and, therefore, uncultivated, savage and primitive. He and the space that he occupies remains open, yet to be made, organized, cultivated, developed and exploited.
These fictional museum rooms narrate a seemingly neutral story in the classic genres of paintings take part in an understanding the world that is imposed as unique and truthful. Such worldview remains present in various aspects of the contemporary world such as the migration of people, the relation to other cultures, the use of natural resources and the arts.
Madrid, February, 2018