Works Progress Austin (“Casta” by Adrienne Dawes)

Posted in Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2017-12-04 04:46Z by Steven

Works Progress Austin (“Casta” by Adrienne Dawes)

Salvage Vanguard Theater
1110 Barton Springs Road
Austin, Texas 78704
Telephone: (512) 474-7886
2017-12-22, 20:00-21:30 CST (Local Time)

Casta a new play by Adrienne Dawes

Casta is inspired by a series of casta paintings by Miguel Cabrera, a mixed-race painter from Oaxaca. Casta paintings were a unique form of portraiture that organized racial mixtures of the New World according to a hierarchy defined by Spanish elites. How do Old World anxieties about ambiguous racial identity reflect contemporary biases?

This is the third WPA workshop for Casta. In this current draft of Casta, the creative team is incorporating puppetry, expanding music by composer Graham Reynolds and exploring bilingual text. After a week of developing these new elements, audiences are invited to witness the piece in its current form.

For more information, click here.

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The Pleasures of Taxonomy: Casta Paintings, Classification, and Colonialism

Posted in Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2016-08-22 23:59Z by Steven

The Pleasures of Taxonomy: Casta Paintings, Classification, and Colonialism

The William and Mary Quarterly
Volume 73, Number 3, July 2016, 3rd series
pages 427-466

Rebecca Earle, Professor
School of Comparative American Studies
University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom

A new model for thinking about the socioracial categories depicted in casta paintings (remarkable eighteenth-century Spanish American images representing the outcome of “racial mixing”) takes seriously both their fluidity and their genealogical character. Approaching classification, and casta paintings, from this direction clarifies the underlying epistemologies that structured colonial society and helps connect the paintings more explicitly to the debates about human difference that captivated Enlightenment thinkers. Ultimately, however, these paintings were produced and collected in the hundreds not simply because they visualized Atlantic debates about classification and human difference but because these visualizations were interesting and pleasant to contemplate. They agreeably roused the pleasures of the imagination via their taxonomic as well as their narrative power. Linking casta paintings to the importance accorded to pleasure in both the scientific and the colonial imagination helps explain their fascination, which derived from their ability to condense the complex interconnections of classification, colonialism, and sexuality into appealing images.

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Pinturas de Casta: Mexican Caste Paintings, a Foucauldian Reading

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mexico on 2010-11-26 04:04Z by Steven

Pinturas de Casta: Mexican Caste Paintings, a Foucauldian Reading

New Readings
School of Modern Languages, Cardiff University
Volume 10 (July 2009)
page 1-17

Nasheli Jiménez del Val
Cardiff University

This article looks at the genre of casta painting developed in colonial Mexico during the eighteenth century. The genre consists of a series of paintings representing the different racial mixes that characterised New Spain throughout the colonial period and that continue to play an important role in contemporary Mexican society. By referring to several Foucauldian concepts such as disciplinary power, biopower, normalisation, deviance and heterotopia, this essay aims to locate the links between this genre and prevailing discourses on race, with a particular focus on the ensuing institutional and political practices implemented in the colony during this period. Centrally, by focusing on this genre as a representational technology of colonial surveillance, the paper argues that discourses on race in New Spain oscillated between an ideal representation of colonial society, ordered and stabilised through rigid classificatory systems, and a real miscegenated population that demanded a more fluid understanding of the colonial subject’s societal value beyond the limitations of racial determinism.

It is known that neither the Indian nor Negro contends in dignity and esteem with the Spaniard; nor do any of the others envy the lot of the Negro, who is the “most dispirited and despised”. […] It is held as systematic that a Spaniard and an Indian produce a mestizo; a mestizo and a Spaniard, a castizo; and a castizo and a Spaniard, a Spaniard. It is agreed that from a Spaniard and a Negro a mulatto is born; from a mulatto and a Spaniard, a morisco; from a morisco and a Spaniard, a torna atrás; and from a torna atrás and a Spaniard, a tente en el aire. The same thing happens from the union of a Negro and Indian, the descent begins as follows: Negro and Indian produce a lobo; lobo and Indian, a chino; and chino and Indian, an albarazado, all of which incline towards the mulatto. [For more terms, see here.]

—Pedro Alonso O’Crowley, 1774.

Casta painting is a pictorial genre produced by colonial artists between the early 18th century and the early 19th century that consists of a series of paintings representing the different racial mixings that characterised the colony of New Spain. As a pictorial genre, it is constituted by a succession of images that show a male and female subject from different ethnic origins and the offspring that result from this combination. The three racial strands of Spaniard, Indian and Black initiate the series, with the possible combinations that derive from these crossing being depicted in detail, to the degree that even fifth or sixth degrees of derivations are often assigned specific names and traits…

Read the entire article here.

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Casta Paintings: Inventing Race Through Art

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, United States on 2010-11-26 02:47Z by Steven

Casta Paintings: Inventing Race Through Art

The Tavis Smiley Show
National Public Radio

Mexican Art Genre Reveals 18th-Century Attitudes on Racial Mixing

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is hosting the first-ever major exhibition paintings that reflect what many upper-class Spaniards thought about race, class and skin color during the 1700s, when Mexico was a colony of Spain. NPR producer Nova Safo reports on the controversial exhibit.

The genre of art, called casta, reveals more about prejudices in Spain at the time than the reality in Mexico. One portrait of a family, used as the centerpiece of the LACMA exhibit, is typical of the genre: A mother with snow-white skin, a dark-skinned father and a daughter with skin tone in between the two appear as prosperous and well-dressed.

But the title of the portrait is curious: “De Espaniol y Albina, Torna Atras”—literally, “From a Spaniard and Albino, return backwards.” The prevailing theory at the time was that albinos were thought to be part African. So the union of an albino with a Spaniard was actually seen as a step backward, towards African heritage…

Read the entire article here.  Listen to the story (00:05:26) here in Real Media or Windows format.

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