Fed by Any Means Necessary: Omnivorous Negritude and the Transnational Semiotics of Afro-Colombian Blackness in the Work of Liliana Angulo

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2009


Art and Design | Art Practice | Arts and Humanities | Contemporary Art | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Latin American Languages and Societies | Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature


“In a recent interview Afro-Colombian visual artist Liliana Angulo explained that “la identidad negra ha sido negada durante tanto tiempo por las élites [que ahora] se alimenta de lo que aparezca” (black identity has been denied for so long by the elite [that now] it nurtures itself from any available source). The need for this type of omnivorous negritude is tied to a model of Afro-Colombian identity that develops in what anthropologist Santiago Arboleada Quiñónez explains as the intersection of “racismo estructural, la indiferencia del Estado-nación y la limpieza étnica o etnocidio a que han sido sometidos [los afrocolombianos] por la máquina de guerra y las afiladas fauces del capitalismo global, que además de sus recursos naturales exige sus vidas” (structural racism, the indifference of the Nation-State and the ethnic cleansing or genocide that Afro-Colombians have been subjected to by the machinery of our armed conflict and the affiliated outlets of global capitalism, which in addition to their natural resources also demand their lives). In this sense, in recent decades Afro-Colombians have gone from being an ‘invisible’ people to participating as protagonists, witnesses, and victims in the violent political and economic transformations of the country itself. On one hand, the first projects of Afro-Colombian political mobilization in the 1970s and the subsequent constitutional reforms of the 1990s have successfully facilitated current Afro-Colombian human and civil rights campaigns and the recuperation of endangered cultural heritage and lost territorial patrimony, thanks to which Afro-Colombians now play an increasing role in the transformation of political and academic circles of national discourse. On the other hand, the boom of agro-industrial development programs and the dramatic expansion of drug trafficking and armed conflict in regions historically inhabited by Afro-Colombians incorporate these populations into national life with great violence.” –Page 228-229


Part of HIOL volume 4, Human Rights and Latin American Cultural Studies. Editors: Ana Forcinito and Fernandez Ordóñez. Hispanic Issues On Line, Volume 4.1 (2009). 1 online resource (PDF, page 228-246, includes illustrations).