In Peru, ancient ceramics are often called huacos, derived from the Quechua word huaca, which the Incas used for sacred objects and places. In turn, pot-hunters or looters are often called huaqueros. While these activities are now illegal, for much of the 20th century pot-hunting was a critical source of livelihood, especially in poorer areas.
Ana De Orbegoso’s “new huaco” recalls this complicated past in asking how Peruvians should now relate to their history. Its mirrored surface allows Peruvian viewers to gaze upon this modern “portrait vessel” and see their own reflection, offering an embodied connection to their ancestors. She has transformed the traditional ceramic into a gleaming metallic surface, calling to mind the lust for gold and silver that fueled Spanish colonialism. This material also alludes to the commodification of Andean antiquities and the contemporary art market. As the artist has stated, “That’s how culture transcends, transforming the past while keeping the roots.”
MEDIUM: Resin and gold plate, edition 2/5
ART FORM: Sculpture