HERE AND NOW. Anti-colonial Interventions

Museum Ludwig (DE)


about the golden rhythm 
“Donkey jawbones, such as the three gilded specimens in the work of Pavel Aguilar, have different meanings in various cultures. In some regions of Latin America and the Caribbean, for instance, quijadas are used as musical instruments: sounds are created by moving a wooden stick or plastic tube up and down or across the row of teeth.

Quijadas were also played in Africa and became firmly rooted in Afro-American culture through the colonial slave trade.

By contrast, the jawbone is associated in Christian tradition with Samson, who used the tool to slay 4,000 Philistines and liberate Israel. Cai Guo-Qiang’s installation The Age of Not Believing in God (1999), which is on display close to Aguilar’s work, features ten wooden sculptures that depict beings venerated in Christianity and Taoism, here pierced by 1,500 arrows.

While Cai is referring to the growing instability of religion in society today, Aguilar deals with the misappropriation of cultural objects, which, when displayed in a museum, are not allowed to be touched. A further connection to Christian iconography and colonialism is provided by the gilding of the teeth: one of the aims of colonial powers was to exploit land and people for the purpose of accumulating riches, especially gold, which was also used to decorate and furnish Catholic churches. This exploitation continues to this day.”

Joanne Rodríguez and Víctor Zaiden.

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