• Within Heritage Movements

Within Heritage Movements (2013 – 2021)

WHM is a project that has had two major strategic displays: at the Lima Art Museum (MALI) and at the Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg.

“During the first decades of the twentieth century a group of a hundred textiles belonging to the pre-Columbian Paracas culture (800 b.C. – 50 a.C) were illegally transported from Peru to the Ethnography Department at the Gothenburg Museum in Sweden. […]

Within Heritage Movements (WHM), a research project started in 2013 at the Royal Institute of Art in Sweden by Peruvian artist Oscar Lara, departs from the specific political context of the repatriation of the textiles as an excuse to prompt a debate around cultural and institutional policies, but also as a way to test the limits and the possibilities of artistic strategies belonging to the realm of social practice to prompt actual structural changes. 

“An integral part of Lara’s project included the production of materials in Sweden reconstructing the techniques used by pre-Columbian weavers, enacted by Swedish professional textile workers with funding obtained in Sweden. This was an exhausting process that lasted more than four years and involved extremely demanding work. The second part of WHM entails the presentation in Lima of two of the most valuable Paracas textiles brought to Gothenburg–textile nº209 and textile nº279–in a museographic display inside MALI’s foyer that strategically refers to ‘A Stolen World’, presumably their last exhibition in Gothenburg. The construction of a space that mimics that original setting inside MALI aims, on the one hand, to stage the power relations structured around these objects and on the other to promote discussion on how a museum’s presentation of material heritage influences its interpretation and reception. Finally, in a broader sense, the WHM project seeks to provoke a reflection on labour conditions of production and colonial hierarchies through contemporary artistic strategies, mimicking an inverted colonial labour structure by having a South American employ underpaid Swedish labour to pirate Peruvian heritage.”

Sharon Lerner
Curator for Contemporary Art
Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru