Debates in Latin American Social Theory

I’m New Here: Black and Indigenous Ecologies

Entry Question

What topics from the sources we have discussed during the second half of the semester would you like to see included in the final? Propose a preliminary question

I’m New Here: Black and Indigenous Media Ecologies is a collective rallying call against colonialism. Seven artists interpret the relationship between Black and Indigenous communities both to each other and to the land.  (181)

The group exhibition brings together communities that span beyond borders, of people who subvert the colonial technology of the camera to create the conditions for intimacy between themselves and the people with whom they create the image. (184)

Aware that the lens can function as the tool of the voyeur, the artists instead choose a closeness and proximity with their subjects, whom they know intimately. The captions and writing about their subjects form the necessary context and consent for the art to have more value beyond aesthetics. The photographs have a texture through which you can almost hear the rustling of the leaves and the crashing of the waves. The viewer becomes immersed in a fluid space of Afro-Indigenous survivance and futurity. (185)

For each artist, the focus on the natural environment does not preclude the human form. As the Jamaican philosopher Sylvia Wynter teaches us, the Enlightenment tradition of Western thought invents a false binary between the human and the nonhuman. Narrating from three nations in the eastern Caribbean—Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines—each photographer frames the visuality of the faces of Black and Indigenous people in order to tell the story of survival despite the cataclysm of European colonialism. (186)

-Tatiana Esh, “Dark Chorus”

Black and Indigenous Media Ecologies-Curators’ Statements

Workshop and Class Presentation


1. In pairs observe, read the statement, and have a conversation about your assigned photographer using these questions as guidance:

What interests and intrigues you about this photo?

What details would you highlight?

What stories and questions emerge from it?

What type of relationship with the ecosystem can you trace?

Do you identify a commentary on colonialism? An alternative to colonial relationships? Explain

How does the photographer invite us to envision Black and Indigenous intimacy and futures?

2. Present your ideas to the class