Camila Mardones Bravo: The Place of Ritual – Dialogues and Continuities Between Sacred Spaces

The Place of Ritual: Dialogues and Continuities Between Sacred Spaces in Rural 18th Century Andes

Mural details of the Baptistery of Santiago de Curahuara de Carangas Church (1777)

The project Fixed Images in Translation: Rural Ecclesiastical Mural Paintings in Late Colonial Andes is centered on eighteenth-century ecclesiastical mural paintings in the former provinces of Charcas and Arequipa (Viceroyalty of Peru) with emphasis on local forms of religious appropriation, negotiation and adaptation through the creation and uses of sacred space. It focuses on a corpus of 6 to 10 rural towns located more or less in the former commercial route between Andean silver mines and the Pacific ports, in present day Bolivian and Chilean Andes Mountains. Each ensemble has special characteristics that differentiate it from others as well as compositional similarities that allow us to distinguish a regional phenomenon, putting in evidence, along with written sources, the presence of traveling artists that would put their skills under the direction of local actors (such as political or religious authorities). The hypothesis is that these paintings exhibit strategies of self-representation that go beyond the systematized evangelization of the Catholic Church, constructing local religious and social identities and expressing local forms of knowledge. In order to observe the representational as well as performative forms of interaction between Andean sacred spaces, the images are studied together with their architectonical support and the ritual practices they surround. Following the focus on mobility of the Transregional Academy, Camila Mardones proposes four study lines regarding repetition of images within the church facilities, travelling of historical actors related to the confection of these artworks, translation of local history and landscape to the ecclesiastical images, and transcultural transformations of catholic iconography.

Copacabana de Andamarca Sanctuary (last decades of 18th century)

Camila Mardones is a PhD student in Medieval and Modern History at Hamburg University, Germany. Her research project is an interdisciplinary study of mural art in the colonial transcultural context of eighteenth-century Bolivia and Chile. She obtained her MA in Art Theory and History (2014) and BA in Hispanic Literature (2008) in the University of Chile. She has specialized in colonial studies through museum internships in Museo La Merced and Museo de América and through other non-degree programs at the University of Chile and Complutense University. She has worked in the development of an international network of academic journals for the journal Revista Chilena de Literatura (2012-3) and in different research projects, directing a Fondart for divulgation of Chilean colonial writings in 2015. She has received scholarships from Conicyt (Chile), Fundación Endesa (Spain) and DAAD (Germany). Some of her papers include “Kuka, Achuma y Vilca: mito e imagen de plantas sacras andinas”, “Pasiflora mística. Análisis iconológico de una pintura barroca de la Virgen de la Merced” and “Ornamento y significación en la pintura mural colonial”.

 


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