Guamán Poma in 2020 | New Chronicle and Good Government
The drawings by indigenous writer Guamán Poma are part of his book Nueva Crónica y Buen Gobierno ‒ New Chronicle and Good Government, written between 1587 and 1613. Originally conceived as a letter to the King of Spain, it provides an account of the conquest and indicts the abuses of colonial power. Ignored in its time, it was lost for some 300 years and rediscovered in the 20th century. In Andean countries today, these drawings are part of the collective visual memory associated with the colonial period.
There are certain moments when looking at the drawings that a feeling much like watching the news sneaks up on the viewer. This is because our society is ruled by structures of social order that we inherited from the conquest. Political power, allied to army and church, has never ceased to be colonial. Social order is reaffirmed in daily life by gestures, words or actions that assign a certain place in society to everyone. In moments of crisis, social order is imposed by blood. Periodically, the Bolivian army commits massacres of its own population. The victims are always of indigenous origin.
These collages portray those in power today. They are damned into the backgrounds that Guamán Poma drew four centuries ago.
*1985 in Hamburg, lives in La Paz
Miguel Hilari studied cinema in La Paz, Santiago de Chile and in Barcelona. His documentary films (El corral y el viento, 2014; Compañía, 2019; Bocamina, 2019) centre on work, colonial history, migration and indigenous culture. Pre-existing images often are re-elaborated and questioned. His films have been shown and won awards at various international film festivals. He also works as a producer and editor and runs the project Proyecto Torrente involving image and sound workshops in rural schools.More about Miguel Hilari