Vernacular Cosmopolitans? Liminal Beings? On Ecuadorian Art in the Diaspora

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In this paper, I examine the emergent art by diasporic Ecuadorians in Italy and Spain. From 2000 to 2005, more than one million Ecuadorians left the country. Estimates indicate that the Ecuadorian diaspora totals three million. Ecuadorian migrants have frequently been objects of sociological and anthropological knowledge. How are Ecuadorians responding to this lacuna between representation and self-representation, and among disciplines and compartmentalizations of knowledge production? Particularly in Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, and Genoa, Ecuadorians have created ways to represent themselves through the plastic arts, painting, literature, and short films. Contemporary artistic production needs to be contextualized within larger historical frameworks and transdisciplinary interventions. I argue that while many Ecuadorians in Italy and Spain enter already ethnic-racial, gender-stratified migrant labor markets, they develop vernacular cosmopolitanisms and inhabit liminal spaces that are represented in their artistic production.


Keywords: Ecuadorian Art, Diaspora, Transnational Art, Cosmopolitanism, Subalternized Knowledge, Italy, Spain
Stream: Literary Arts Practices
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Esther Cuesta

Doctoral Student, Teaching Assistant, Comparative Literature Program
Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, Massachusetts, USA

estheR is a Doctoral Student in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focuses on diasporic (self)-representations and subjectivities of Andean people in the European Union, particularly in Spain and Italy. In her theoretical testimonial “Guayaquileña (in)documentada: One-way Ticket to My Diaspora(s): A Testimonio” (2007), estheR reflects on invisibilized Latina/o populations in the U.S., as well as on exile and self-exile that goes beyond the nation-state. Her essays “‘We’re better off Outside Our Country’: Diasporic Ecuadorian Women in Spain since the Mid-1990s” (2007) in Journal for Developing Societies, and “A modo de testimoniar: Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands, papeles, and academia” in Bridging: How and Why Gloria Anzaldúa's Life and Work Transformed Our Own (forthcoming 2008) continue her concerns with migration, diaspora, dominant structures, transformation, and the plurality of subjectivities.

Ref: A09P0265