Kukuli Velarde


Kukuli Velarde is a Peruvian artist whose sculptures expand on the rich history of pre-Columbian ceramics, spanning thousands of years from Cupisnique culture of 1500 BC to 15th century Inca. Classical shapes are oversized and adapted into female form to create self-portraits of the artist in different historical eras and stylistic guises. Kukuli’s practice examines how cultural memory forms an integral part of identity, and how artefacts lend shape not only to lost civilisations, but also to erased histories. Peru’s colonial past is important: it is a culture which for centuries was obliged to imitate the Catholic art introduced by the Other. Within this context Kukuli uses indigenous art history not just as a nod to the past, but as a vessel to channel a pugnacious and independent spirit. Questions of race, of colonial history, of gender and power hierarchies – these all find voice through a suite of subversive sculptures that underline the importance of our relationships with our cultural objects.