Limerick, Ireland
Moisés Barrios, Banana Republic #14, 2002 oil on canvas, 150 x 130 cm

Moisés Barrios

b. 1946, Guatemala

Guatemalan peace treaties were signed in 1996, ending a civil war that lasted thirty years and caused 200,000 deaths. At that time, a reporter in the New York Times wrote: ‘Guatemalans have forgotten how the war started.’ He highlighted how crucial US intervention was to the revolutionary government of Jacobo Arbenz against the interests of the United Fruit Company (UFCO). These comments made me start working with the topic of bananas, so Guatemalans would not forget how the war had begun. This subject has gone through unexpected evolutions in a six-year period. The regular feature has been the idea of anthropophagi, where the icon of the banana invades and superimposes on objects and images of art (and history in general).

At present I am exploring what seems to be a subliminal nostalgia for colonialism, through the famous brand of American clothing, Banana Republic. It makes elegant garments, generally acquired by an elite of ‘beautiful people’ that represent the stereotype of the American beauty, seen and desired at a distance from the ex-colonies. This exhibition is like a trip that goes from Gauguin to Banana Republic.

(Text: on the border of each other catalogue, 2003)

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