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  • ICAA Record ID
    Saldías Díaz, Fernando, 1934-
    Túpac errado
    Caretas (Lima, Perú). -- No. 432 (Mar., 1971)
    p. 4, 48
    Journal article – Letters
    Saldías Díaz, Fernando. "Túpac errado." Caretas (Lima, Perú), no. 432 (March 1971): 4, 48.

The first competition to create the official portrait of Túpac Amaru II was declared a “desert,” and in support of that declaration, the editor of Caretas magazine selected nine works by participating artists and sharply ridiculed them. Painter Fernando Saldías, who was offering a public response [to that review] with this text, declared that the [aforementioned] published article “discredits and damages [its author] professionally” because one of the works cited was actually attributable to another artist; the work [in question] was reproduced with a small image and (although it received an honorable mention), [the Caretas article] identified it as one of the losing works. [Saldías] further clarifies that he never objected to the jury, but he criticizes the sarcastic tone of the article. The magazine responded in an even more mocking tone, justifying its stance by asserting that “it charitably insists on preventing certain people from pursuing an activity for which they have no talent;” lastly, Caretas [magazine] states it regrets the error in attribution with regard to the work by Saldías because “the other work seemed better to us.”


Painter Fernando Saldías offers this response to an article published in the previous issue of Caretas magazine (Lima) concerning the competition sponsored by the Gobierno Revolucionario de las Fuerzas Armadas [Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces] (first phase, 1968-75) to create the official portrait of the indigenous forefather of the independence movement, Tupac Amaru II.


José Gabriel Condorcanqui, Túpac Amaru II, was an Incan curaca (chieftain) who, in 1780, led the most important Andean rebellion against the Spanish empire. Although he was marginalized to criollo historical studies, he was adopted as an emblem by the Gobierno Revolucionario de las Fuerzas Armadas led by General Juan Velasco Alvarado (1968-1975), which was marked by reforms to nationalize [industries] and a great interest in symbolic representation. The dearth of portraits from the [aforementioned] era led to the creation of an official competition [see in the ICAA digital archive (doc. no. 865422)], which was marked by controversy due to the decision not to recognize any of the ninety-four works assembled with an award. [See in the ICAA digital archive “Declaran desierto el Concurso de Pintura ‘Túpac Amaru II’” by Alfredo Arrisueño Cornejo (doc. no. 865498)]. One of the painters who earned an honorable mention, Milner Cajahuaringa, publicly renounced this recognition. The proposal for a second competition never came to fruition; the jury included officials from nearly all the arts institutions [in Peru].


[As complementary reading on Túpac Amaru II, see these texts in the ICAA digital archive: “¿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”, no author listed (doc. no. 1053438); “Convocan a concurso de pintura para perpetuar la imagen plástica del mártir José Gabriel Condorcanqui”, no author listed (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”, no author listed (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)].

Daniel Contreras Medina / Gustavo Buntinx
Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru
Reproduced with permission of Fernando Saldías Díaz, Lima, Peru