Venezuelan Art Collective Reflects on the Past and Future of Popular Struggles

"Memory and Struggle" is a new exhibition by the Utopix collective.

Artist collective Utopix inaugurated a museum exhibit called “Memory and Struggle” on December 18. The works will be on display in the Carlos Cruz-Diez Print and Design Museum (MEDI) in central Caracas.

With works from guest contributors as well, the exhibit features 30 artists from eight different countries. Utopix describes the initiative as part of its “struggle to build an alternative, counter-hegemonic historical narrative as a key ingredient to build graphic communication at the service of popular struggles.”

The museum display includes three sections: a collection of posters dedicated to different historical episodes, such as the Red Army victory in World War II and the Battle of Carabobo in the Venezuelan independence campaign, a display from the collective’s print/interactive calendar, and the main feature, likewise called “Memory and Struggle.” This section displays a collection of 24 black and white posters recounting emancipatory struggles in Latin America from the beginning of colonization in the late 15th century to the present. The pieces are organized in six axes (indigenous, national liberation, land, women’s and labor struggles, and self-government).

Kael Abello, the exhibit’s curator, told Venezuelanalysis that the display’s “guiding thread” was “the desire to build a visual representation of history that will challenge the official versions.”

“The main exhibition allows visitors to ‘travel’ through the struggles along a given axis, or instead to get an ‘X-ray’ in a specific historical moment,” he explained.

Venezuelan Culture Minister Ernesto Villegas was also present at the opening. He praised the effort and called on artists to get involved in creating graphic work at the service of the Bolivarian Process that will be a counterweight to western hegemonic culture.

“This exhibit is a testament to the creativity and vitality of our youth,” Villegas told media. He went on to laud Utopix members for “setting their sights on historical, emancipatory popular struggles but using contemporary codes.”

Photos by Andrés Rodríguez (@catuch3).