Embroiderers of the Metaverse.When Comics Are Controversial

If one defends the premise of French poet André Suarez, who told us that “art is the place of perfect freedom”, that brings us together; The strongest form of individualism known”. The truth is that humans have been trying to express their worldview and feelings through it since prehistoric times, be it through music, dance, painting or architecture, and in recent years, Street art It’s a great “channel of expression” chosen multiple times to celebrate something. Doodles are used to honor important people, to immortalize a moment, to celebrate a date. Such was the case with a recent mural in the historic center of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, which caused considerable controversy by mixing figures of three indigenous people with the famous cartoon Pikachu. On May 16, a mural painted by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Ecuador’s independence (during the defeat of the Spanish at the Battle of Pichincha) – he named it Embroiderers of the Metaverse (Embroidery has been declared a national cultural heritage of Ecuador) This is a contribution made by the Spanish embassy to “remember” the battle – on behalf of three indigenous ladies. His style is known for his use of colorful geometric patterns depicting animals, skulls, religious iconography and people. Therefore, this work is expected to attract attention.However, the choice of the famous protagonist of the children’s series Pokemon Incorporate a hat from the central character graffiti, which caused a great binary response.The work is located on the Avenue de la Plaza May 24 in the historic center and is part of the CaminoArte project, promoted by the City Hall to restore the city’s heritage through a series of graffiti This will be held throughout the year. On social media, some users were quick to criticize and ridicule the character’s image: “What is Pikachu doing on the 200th anniversary mural?” was the most frequently asked question.Although some resort to sarcasm meme, others sternly opposed the municipality. “Then General Sucre said: ‘Pikachu, I choose you!'” joked one Twitter user. Twitter. “Pikachu, Pichincha’s hero,” he added. “Reality will be different when high public service learns to listen to people’s opinions and common sense, not just their ego. Quito should not be offended like that”, lamented another internet user.

artistic freedom

To the surprise of many, last Friday the artist himself thanked him for everything he had done meme created: “Thanks to all the creatives who created meme Infinite and wonderful! ‘, he wrote in an article postal Instagram comes with some comic graphics. Likewise, he turned to Ecuadorian artisans, who were the main source of inspiration for his geometric and colourful works.”Unlimited love to my embroiderers from the commune of Llano Grande, who have sent so much love and inspiration to me and all the people of Quito and Ecuador,” he thanked, describing indigenous traditions and wisdom as ” The basis of evolution “Humans”. “Live Indigenous Cultures, Live Out Ecuador, Live Out feedback culture,” he celebrated.

According to newspaper reports confidential, the criticism arises mainly because “in Ecuador and throughout Latin America, talking about indigenous peoples is as subtle as talking about African Americans in the United States”. In these 200 years of independence, “the indigenous people are still the ones who benefited the least”, so questions have been raised about the use of cartoons: Did the Spanish embassy know that Pikachu would come in the form of an indigenous woman’s hat? In the face of a wave of public opinion questioning the mural, the Instituto do Património Metropolitano (IMP) issued a statement clarifying that the work was a donation from the Spanish embassy in Ecuador and not using public resources from the city of Quito. “This mural does not represent or be inspired by the Battle of Pichincha, it is a creative tribute to the expression of the intangible heritage symbolized by traditional embroidery,” he stressed. Spanish newspapers, in turn, questioned whether the sketches for the painting were “supervised”, and the Spanish embassy admitted it wasn’t: “This would actually censor your work!”, defending cultural representative Pablo Pérez Guerreira. “We ordered the work of embroiderers and that’s what was produced. Art is transboundary and urban. There is no official assessment because there can be no!” he added. Furthermore, Guerreira “legitimates” the artist’s creation by arguing that “the protagonist is satisfied with the final product”: “I ask you to ask the embroiderers for their opinion! Yesterday they cried several times with excitement because they said they ‘s work is completely invisible, Pikachu represents a window to the world. It’s like a window to modernity!”, he said.

Naira Charan, vice-president of the Ecuadorian National Union of Chichiwa, revealed that the group’s imagination “is not involved in the battle of Pichincha, nor in independence.” In other words, the Indigenous movement “did not criticize the mural because it basically felt left out of this bicentennial celebration”. “This fact does not mean that the movement is insensitive to the work. There is indeed an element in the mural that denigrates Aboriginal women,” she defended, explaining that, for her, the work promoted “cultural hegemony.” “.Regarding the positive reaction of the embroiderers mentioned by Guerreira, Nayra said confidential The other side of the coin: “The need to place your embroidery in a cultural space is also an economic need for its own survival. In my opinion, this is a desperate outlet for what fellows are looking for! I don’t question them, but I see To this desperation welcomes any other form of strategic consideration,” he exclaimed. According to the same publication, for the indigenous world, pop art “It’s more of an extension of a colonial-rooted capitalist culture, and its greatest expression is a postmodern art scene that tries to provoke without criticizing existing reality”. For Nayra, “Okuda’s work in Quito has left a cultural battle in our society”: to avoid “cancel culture” as an excuse, the Spanish embassy in Ecuador and the Quito municipality have the right to serve the artist Provide complete freedom to intervene in public spaces?

In addition to the IMP, the Quito Municipality insisted on issuing a statement stressing that Okuda San Miguel today “is not only a Street art Spain and the Earth, whose works adorn the streets of Spain, Europe and five continents”. Asked if it was a coincidence that the controversial mural was from the Spanish embassy, ​​the indigenous leader replied: “Maybe we are still Spain The colonial feeling is still there”.


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