Kukuli “San Cristobal” – A piece of exquisite art representing Peruvian mythology.

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston will open two new exhibitions on May 13, Kukuli Velarde: CORPUS and Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez: Pinturas de Casta and the Construction of American Identity

Made up of fifteen sculptures and banners, Velarde’s CORPUS speaks to and wrestles with Peru’s colonial past and mestizo identity. Velarde has crafted indigenous entities that have been a part of Peruvian culture despite being overwritten by European Catholic mythologies. These entities were not lost to the culture war, but cleverly hidden inside the iconography of the settlers. Peruvian-American Velarde is based in Philadelphia and works in the mediums of ceramic, painting, drawing and installation.

Pinturas de Casta and the Construction of American Identity is based on Friedemann-Sánchez’s Casta Paintings series. Popularized in Spanish Colonial Central and South America in the 18th century, the casta paintings deal with the racial and social taxonomy of mixed-race children. Friedemann-Sánchez takes this problematic genre and uses it to reflect on the effects and legacy of colonialism on modern day Columbia and the United States.

The exhibition includes sixteen paintings that are being shown together for the first time. Friedemann-Sánchez is a Columbo-American, raised in Columbia, who migrated to the United States as an adult. Her specialties include paintings, sculptures and mixed media projects. 

The Halsey will host an opening reception on Friday, May 13 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. The reception will feature hors d’oeuvres and a bar; masking is optional. Both exhibits will be available to view from May 13-July 16, and are free to visit. There is also a Member Preview day on Thursday, May 12 for anyone hoping to get a first look at the new exhibitions. 

Velarde will be on hand for an Artist Talk on Saturday, May 14 at 2:00 p.m at the Halsey. This conversation with the artist will be both an in-person event, and help virtually at halsey.cofc.edu/live. Halsey Institute director Katie Hirsch will host.

Friedemann-Sánchez will be at the Halsey for an Artist Talk on Tuesday, May 17 at 7:00 p.m. College of Charleston Hispanic Studies faculty Dr. Christina García will host. This event will also be held in-person and virtually at halsey.cofc.edu/live.

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