Capitalism and Extractivism in Latin America from the Colonial Era to Today

August 25 – December 23, 2023

In his oft-cited book Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent (1971), Eduardo Galeano traces the patterns of colonial extraction in Latin America, both literal and symbolic, from the colonial era through today. From gold to silver, quinine to rubber, countless natural resources endemic to Latin America have been extracted and transported abroad. By exploring the way that labor and raw materials have been transformed into art, this exhibition examines the asymmetric power relations between empires and colonies as they unfold across time and space.

Capitalism and Extractivism in Latin America was curated by Lynne Shumow, Curator for Academic Engagement, with assistance from Haggerty Museum of Art intern Caroline Bielski (Anthropology, Theology, and Public History, Honors, Fall ’23). They worked in collaboration with Dr. Tara Daly, Associate Professor of Spanish and Co-director of the Center for Race, Ethnic and Indigenous Studies, to align the exhibition with Dr. Daly’s Fall 2023 courses SPAN 3310, Peoples and Cultures of Latin America and SPAN 4320, Contemporary Issues in Latin American and Latinx Cultures.

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by the Mary Martha Doerr Endowment Fund and in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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