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This is the first article on the award bestowed to Álvaro Núñez Rebaza by the Tercer Concurso Nacional, the artist selected to erect a monument to Túpac Amaru II, the indigenous forefather of the independence of Peru, at the Plaza de Armas del Qosqo (Cusco) where he was executed. The previous two contests had been declared void. The article points out that the winner was only 27 years old and son of the famous Peruvian artist and muralist Teodoro Núñez Ureta. It also includes statements by Núñez Rebaza explaining how the project “represents Túpac Amaru II with a faithful and hopeful attitude while at the same time breaking those obstacles that prevented him from reaching his goal.” The concept is shown in a photograph of the model presented.
What was significant about this article was that it was published on the front page of El Comercio, one of the most influential newspapers in the country and often with opposing views to those of the military government. The contest for the monument to Túpac Amaru II was one of the most controversial of the 1970s as the three times it had convened the ensuing results were “nullified”, including this recognition to Álvaro Núñez Rebaza. As a matter of fact, Núñez Rebaza’s proposal never came to fruition due to the resistance against his supposedly abstract insinuations. Although a fourth national competition awarded the academic sculptor Joaquín Ugarte y Ugarte (1917–84) for his equestrian proposal, this as well would never come to fruition at the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. In his case, the art critics judged the proposal incongruous with the colonial environment of the urban setting or for the presented illustration on the agony while being dismembered. The executive decree 18280 creating the contest never came into effect. It was only in 1980 when the monument was finally erected in a square that was specifically built for it. Túpac Amaru II was a curaca or chief of Incan descent who, in 1780, led the most important Andean uprising against the Spanish Empire. Largely ignored by traditional Spanish American historiography, his figure was the emblem of the so-called Gobierno Revolucionario de las Fuerzas Armadas initially headed by General Velasco Alvarado, whose nationalism was characterized by social reform and by an interest in symbolic representation. [For further reading, please refer to the ICAA digital archive for the following texts on Túpac Amaru II: “¿Cómo fue Túpac Amaru?” by General EP Felipe de la Barra (doc. no. 865441); “Convocan a concurso: monumento a Túpac Amaru se levantará en el Cuzco” (without author) (doc. no. 1053438); “Convocan a concurso de pintura para perpetuar la imagen plástica del mártir José Gabriel Condorcanqui” (without author) (doc. no. 865422); “Declaran desierto el Concurso de Pintura ‘Túpac Amaru II’” by Alfredo Arrisueño Cornejo (doc. no. 865498); “En busca de la imagen arquetípica de Túpac Amaru” (without author) (doc. no. 865702); “El retrato de Túpac Amaru” by Daniel Valcárcel (doc. no. 1052165); and “Túpac Amaru: ¿verdadero retrato?” by A. O. Z. (doc. no. 865460)].