The University of Essex celebrates the 25th anniversary of the founding of its collection of art from Latin America (ESCALA) through exhibitions, an artist’s residency and an internationally significant symposium. This ambitious programme is curated by Dr Lisa Blackmore, lecturer in Art History from the School of Philosophy and Art History, working with ESCALA’s founding co-directors Professor Dawn Ades and Professor Valerie Fraser, and the collection’s newly appointed curator, Dr Sarah Demelo.
Gone to Ground
The earth beneath our feet is anything but dormant, inert matter. Host to a vibrant tangle of the vegetable, bacterial and animal beings, it is literally the grounds for human and non-human life. Yet today we are confronted by the catastrophic impacts of five centuries of extractive industries considered to have birthed the Anthropocene—an era of unprecedented geological change generated by humans.
This exhibition seeks to open our senses to the earth’s pulsing presence through artworks from Latin America. Addressing indigenous cosmologies, colonial histories of botanical and mineral extraction, and contact zones between human and non-human bodies, these works revisit the historical grounds on which human life has unfolded to pose questions about the conditions for our collective futures. The exhibition includes works by artists from Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Argentina, including Alberto Baraya, Mónica Bengoa, Fernando Cruz, Regina José Galindo, Graciela Iturbide, Alejandro Jaime, Sonia Labouriau, Teresa Pereda, Nancy La Rosa Cynthia Soto, and Warmi.
Accompanying Gone to Ground is a catalogue written by students from our BA in Art History and a related exhibition, ‘Gone to Ground: Mapping Terrains’ in the Albert Sloman Library is curated by 3rd year Curatorial Studies student Bia Neviani Coslovsky.
Our 25th anniversary programme has been made possible through the support of the Elephant Trust and the Society for Latin American Studies.