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Reclaiming indigenous queer identities!


ACTION • Memorial Abya Yala


‘Memorial Abya Yala’ was an artistic intervention by Movimiento Maricas Bolivia voor Decolonization Day (día de la descolonisación) on 12 October. it underscored non-hispanic queer identities in Latin America.

indigenous people - performance - queer

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From May to December 2022, Movimiento Maricas Bolivia organized 7 different artistic street interventions to put queer indigenous identities in the spotlight during national holidays of the Catholic and Bolivian Calendar. The poetic interventions denounce homophobia in Bolivia, while at the same time critiquing the mainly white and racist existing LGBTQ+ community. Indigenous queer identities are often obscured in the mainstream struggle for acceptance and political equity. With their actions and art, Movimiento Maricas Bolivia wants to decolonize the mainstream idea of queerness that is a reaction to the heterosexuality imposed by the Spanish invasion. Their art expresses a more local, plural and Indian sexual identity to the public, that is not a reaction to heterosexual normativity but an expression of their indigenousness. ‘Memorial Abya Yala’ was their artistic intervention voor Decolonization Day (día de la descolonisación) on 12th of octobre.


Columbus Day

12 October used to be Columbus day in Bolivia, but since 2011 it has officially been called Decolonisation day (Día de la descolonisación). The Movimiento Maricas Bolivia marked the occasion with a performance next to the statue of Columbus in La Paz to underscore the lost indigenous sexual and gender identities. The performance was called ‘Memorial Abya Yala’, the memorial for the continent widely known as South and Middle America, and was seen by roughly 200 bystanders.

The performer, wrapped in a whipala characteristic for indigenous Bolivian culture, accused the bible and Hispanic colonists of imposing heterosexuality and gender binarism on the continent and wrote the names of the lost indigenous sexualities on a big map of Abya Yala. They also read a poem by Francisco Godoy Vega. Here is a fragment of the poem la violencia naturalizada de santiago y el indio pícaro, accompanied here with an english translation:

¿tiene una erótica evo morales?
¿tiene una erótica la chola o la mapuche?
¿dónde queda la memoria sexual de nuestras culturas ancestrales?
¿qué fue del sexo moche?
nuestros cuerpos son erotizados cuando
al blanco le da la gana
la dictadura colonial sobre el cuerpo indio
sobre el deseo indio
es la afrenta a nuestras comunidades
somos re-expuestxs y exotizadxs
nos follan cuando quieren lxs blancxs
en su poder universal

does Evo Morales have an erotic?
does the Chola or the Mapuche have an erotic?
Where is the sexual memory of our ancestral cultures?
what happened to Moche sex?
our bodies are eroticized when
the white man feels like it
the colonial dictatorship over the Indian body
over Indian desire
is the affront to our communities
we are re-exposed and exoticised
They fuck us when they want to, the whites
in their universal power

See the whole intervention here: