The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this essay, Arturo Lindsay documents the confluence of Post-modernism in the U.S. and the mestizaje [racial and cultural intermingling] of Latinos in order to create a “Latino aesthetic”—one that is grounded in syncretic spiritual beliefs. He describes the influence of Afro-Latino religious practices on the art of Ana Mendieta (1948–1985) and Juan Boza (1941–1991). Moreover, Lindsay chronicles the major events of the Chicano Movement such as the United Farm Workers boycotts, and relates how Chicano artists combine Catholic Church images with indigenous iconography to create what he terms a “chicanocentric mestizo aesthetic.” He concludes with an observation that Latino art and aesthetics—by means of its syncretism and mestizaje—will continue to be important sources for scholarly attention and artistic review.
Arturo Lindsay describes himself as an “artist-scholar who conducts ethnographic research on African spiritual and aesthetic retentions in contemporary Latin American cultures.” Originally from Panama, Lindsay is a professor of art and art history in the Department of Art at Spellman College in Atlanta, Georgia. This essay was included in the exhibition catalog Ceremony of Spirit: Nature and Memory in Contemporary Latino Art, which was curated by Amalia Mesa-Bains for the Mexican Museum in San Francisco in 1993. Lindsay created an installation for the exhibition based on the Santeria orishá [spirit] of Obatalá. Thus, the essay is unique in his dual perspective: as a scholar, Lindsay contextualizes the little-known spiritual-based art practice of other artists, while though not directly, this essay also elucidates his artwork as one of the participating artists.