Mopa Mopa Practice and Orality in Colonial Andean Culture: ISM Fellows Lunch Talk with Catalina Ospina

Event time: 
Thursday, February 29, 2024 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
The Elm City Club () See map
155 Elm St
New Haven, CT 06511
Calendar Speaker/Performer: 
Catalina Ospina
Event description: 

This talk discusses the process of making mopa mopa images in the colonial northern Andes, which included chewing the resin to clean it and mix in pigments. The speaker argues that in the Andes the mouth’s various functional and communicative mechanics were a site of cultural production, directly tied to the primacy of oral discourse in Andean societies, which were non-textual before the arrival of the Spanish. Recognizing the importance of the mouth in key Andean cultural practices such as coca chewing, chicha (corn beer preparation), healing practices, and religious ritual opens the semantics of mopa mopa artistic practice and compensates for an approach that, replicating western understandings of the body, overvalues the visual.

Originally from Colombia, Catalina Ospina received a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Chicago in 2021. Her book project at Yale, Identifying and Subverting Epistemic Asymmetries in the Colonial Andes, will challenge assumptions in the analysis of Indigenous artistic production in colonial contexts. Focusing on seventeenth and eighteenth century mopa mopa objects, her book seeks to nuance our understanding of the way in which colonial structures inflicted injustices on colonial subjects in their capacity as knowers and intellectual producers. It aims to provide valuable methodological approaches to scholars in art history, anthropology, and philosophy seeking to account for and address the epistemic asymmetries that take place when cultural encounters take place in oppressive conditions. Ospina is returning for her second year as a 2023-24 ISM fellow and plans to join Yale’s History of Art department as an assistant professor in 2024.

Free but register in advance
Please register online by Tuesday, February 27 at 12 p.m. Lunch will be provided.