Collages

Guamán Poma in 2020 | New Chronicle and Good Government

Miguel Hilari

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.

Luis Fernando López is Minister of Defense. He has wet dreams with weapons and military uniforms. He would have loved to have been a US Marine, but unfortunately he is just Bolivian.

Luis Fernando López is Minister of Defense. He has wet dreams with weapons and military uniforms. He would have loved to have been a US Marine, but unfortunately he is just Bolivian.

Evo Morales was in power for 14 years. He liked it so much he couldn’t leave it. He built a museum to himself and was especially fond of young girls, who his staff delivered to him as a sign of affection. That’s what he called decolonisation.

Evo Morales was in power for 14 years. He liked it so much he couldn’t leave it. He built a museum to himself and was especially fond of young girls, who his staff delivered to him as a sign of affection. That’s what he called decolonisation.

Jeanine Áñez seized the power bible in hand, promising the savages would not return. She exempted the military from criminal liability in case of killings, and then massacred dozens of people in Sacaba and Senkata. That’s what she called a peace process.

Jeanine Áñez seized the power bible in hand, promising the savages would not return. She exempted the military from criminal liability in case of killings, and then massacred dozens of people in Sacaba and Senkata. That’s what she called a peace process.

During Easter, at the beginning of the pandemic, a priest blessed the nation from the sky ‒ aired live on TV from a military helicopter. It was a co-production of the church, the army and the media. The fact that valuable resources were sorely lacking in the collapsing hospitals didn’t bother any of them.

During Easter, at the beginning of the pandemic, a priest blessed the nation from the sky ‒ aired live on TV from a military helicopter. It was a co-production of the church, the army and the media. The fact that valuable resources were sorely lacking in the collapsing hospitals didn’t bother any of them.

*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.

Berlin Fellowship

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