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A half century of Peruvian photography explores a city and a culture at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
Juan Manuel Figueroa Aznar, Q'ero Indian in the Studio, Cusco, ca. 1911, Collection of Archivo Figueroa Yábar.

EUGENE, ORE.- The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, located on the University of Oregon campus, explores Peru with a new exhibition “Qosqo, entre el pasado y el presente: Photography in Cusco 1895-1945.” Featuring the works of nine photographers, who lived in the Cusco region, the exhibition offers a portrait of a city and a culture at the dawn of the modern era. On view from February 16 to May 19, 2019, the exhibition was co-curated by Adelma Benavente García and Peter Yenne, founders of the Photographic Archive Project.

From ancient ruins to pioneer aviators, the exhibition runs the gamut from humor to pathos, and from the sacred to the profane, offering a rare and instructive glimpse of a bygone world.

“These artists captured a country in the throes of modernization, a process that was often brutal, but carried with it the dream of greater prosperity and social equality for all,” says Yenne. “By turns shocking, enigmatic, comic, tender, and beautiful, their work bears witness to the weight of history and the drama of cultural collision and assimilation that began nearly five centuries ago.”

“Qosqo” features fifty-four digital prints made from glass-plate negatives in institutional archives and private collections. The photographers are Crisanto Cabrera, Martín Chambi, Miguel Chani, Juan Manuel Figueroa Aznar, Luis Domingo Gismondi, José Gabriel Gonzalez, César Meza, Abelino Ochoa, and Horacio Ochoa.

“The images represent a cross-section of life in the southern highlands of Peru,” says Cheryl Hartup, JSMA Associate Curator of Academic Programs and Latin American Art. “In their varied techniques, subject matter, and artistic personalities, the photographers embody the complex heritage that shaped them and the exuberantly hybrid world they depicted.”

The exhibition also includes fifteen vintage gelatin silver prints by the most famous photographer of the group, Martín Chambi, and a rare fin de siècle photographic backdrop from the studio of Miguel Chani. Visitors will be encouraged to take portraits of themselves to share on social media with #meetmeincusco.

On Thursday, April 18, at 5:30 p.m., Jorge Coronado, a professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Northwestern University and author of “Portraits in the Andes: Photography and Agency 1900-1950” will lecture on topics related to the exhibition.

Since 1992, the Photographic Archive Project has studied, preserved, and promoted late nineteenth and early twentieth century photography from Latin America. Qosqo, entre el pasado y el presente: Photography in Cusco 1895-1945 is the third uniquely tailored exhibition in a series of projects based on Photographic Archive Project’s groundbreaking digital survey of eleven public and private photo archives in Peru and Bolivia. The exhibition is supported by contributions from Fototeca Andina and the Familia Figueroa Yábar.

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