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The constant battle: the resilience of Central American artists

Posted on May - 3 - 2018

Courtesy Walterio Iraheta (the artist)

Courtesy Walterio Iraheta (the artist)

Between the North and the South, lies the hidden and almost forgotten region of Central America. The small nations of this area share a history of poverty and social injustice, known for its political problems and the overall lack of knowledge about its cultural developments. The lack of funds for culture, the inadequacy of the local art institutions and the absence of published information of the area has contributed to the fact that most discussions of modern Latin American art don’t take into consideration Central American art. However, this situation has been subject to change in recent years, with more artists recognized and adopted in the Latin American narrative.

In the twentieth century, Central American artists have been affected not only by political oppression but also by the long and violent civil wars, US military presence characterized by the Monroe Doctrine of the 1820’s to the invasion of Panama in the 1980’s. Nevertheless, the troubled relationship with the US also led to a many of the regions artists’ careers being catapulted to the mainstream due to their exhibitions in the US, which complicated the dependence relationship with the neighboring superpower all the more.

In spite of all the difficulties faced by artists in this region, Central America’s notable artists have interpreted the region’s harsh realities and criticized it by employing realism, symbolism, fantasy and even humor in their work. As a result, there is no Central America per se, but many artists expressing in creative ways their reaction towards their country’s adversities.

However, although its gloomy past has characterized central America, today, despite some infrastructure shortcomings, a new generation of artist is producing invigorating and significant work that manages to reflect an acceptance or break from the past and address contemporary issues in creative and unique ways. In Scoop Art we represent a number of this Central American artists from three of these countries. From Guatemala: Alejandro Medina,  Alfredo Ceibal, Daniel Chauche, Daniel Hernández Salazar, Edwin Bixcul, Lezzueck Asturias, María José Escobar, Mauricio Contreras-Paredes, Regina Prado, Plinio Villagran, Eny Roland Hernández and Franco Arocha; from El Salvador: Carmen Elena Trigueros, Danny Zavaleta, Efraín Cruz, Mauricio Esquivel, Rolando Monterrosa, Walterio Iraheta and from Costa Rica: Gioconda Rojas and Luciano Goizueta.

Be sure to check their work, each one unique in the manner to express particular social critiques or personal narratives.

By: Gabriela Martinez de la Hoz