Andean Peoples 3
In early 2023, as Indigenous people were rising up for their human rights in my home country, Peru, I was reflecting on the significance and power of marginalized people calling out centuries of colonization. That unprecedented moment in history inspired me to create this series.
I grew up in a Peruvian immigrant family, raised by my mom from Lima, my Afro Peruvian father and grandmother. Their experiences gave me a lens into racism in Peru. I went to Peru for the first time at age 2 and didn’t return until I was 15. Yet by then, so much of my identity was shaped by Xicanx (Chicanx) culture in California. Growing up in Oakland, I was also shaped by cholo culture and by the radical, political movements of the Brown Berets and the Chicano Movement.
I also studied in Mexico City and lived there with some relatives when I was 12, because things in my barrio had gotten really bad during the War on Drugs, which had hit Oakland especially hard. Thus my lifelong connection to Mexico began, and I felt more Mexican in my heart and not so connected to Peru.
However, when I began to return to Peru as a teenager and understand the legacy of my people - of Tupac Amaru, of sacred places like Machu Picchu - I fell in love with my roots. And through my art I’ve been reorienting to understand my culture from the lens of a displaced human.
The reality is that Peru is a colonial, corrupt state. Like much of Latin America, colonization and racism has shaped the political systems and left Indigenous people and Afro Peruvians behind.
In early 2023, the original peoples of Peru organized and rose up to demand that they be included in decisions made about the future of their country, demanding that the colonial Eurocentric system be dismantled and a new constitution written. I wanted to capture this moment while also celebrating my ancestral culture.
These works honor my beautiful mountain people of the Andes. I stand with my Indigenous siblings who are speaking out for their rights and for the rights of nature. The corrupt government is destroying the ecosystems of Peru and allowing extractive economies to dominate.