Module Outline (updateed 09.05.18)

The artistic heritage of Latin America is both as vast as its expansive geography and as rich as its complex history. Interwoven with the social, political, and cultural realities that have shaped the region, art from Latin America is a diverse and fascinating tapestry of pre-Columbian artefacts and Colonial art; botanical surveys and post-independence paintings; iconographies of social revolution and resistance to oppression. Not only this, artists from Latin America have long contributed to innovations in aesthetic form that reach beyond geographical boundaries to engage with transnational movements, from Geometric Abstraction and Conceptualism, through to the digital interfaces at the frontiers of technological development.

During this module, we will look closely at select artworks that offer insights into a range of topics that are relevant to the developments in art from Latin America, and the region’s historical and socio-political processes. Through this interdisciplinary approach, we will focus mainly on modern and contemporary works of art to examine them in relation to issues such as nature and the landscape, political revolution, cultural hybridity, modernity, trauma, and identity. We will begin with an introduction to Latin America, then examine core topics over the following weeks, combining readings of key critical and analytical texts with discussions of specific artworks. We will also work hands-on with artworks at the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA), a major research and teaching collection at the University of Essex and a unique university and national resource. Representing 350 artists from 19 countries, ESCALA includes more than 750 artworks mostly produced from the 1960s to the present.

Module Objectives

• To explore key themes and issues related to Latin America through its artistic heritage
• To encourage interdisciplinary approaches to studying art
• To study key artistic movements in modern Latin America
• To familiarise students with the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA)
• To contextualise artworks in broader political, social and cultural contexts

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module, you should have developed skills that enable you to:

• Discuss works of art in relation to their social and historical contexts
• Engage in close analysis of physical artworks, digital artworks, and images of artworks
• Read and discuss art historical and critical texts, and relate them to specific artworks
• Engage in independent research by sourcing for and using secondary texts
• Participate in class discussions and engage constructively with feedback
• Formulate and sustain a clear argument in relation to specific works of art and their context, thinking critically and laterally