“In a quite constant way, Orientalism depends for its strategy on [a] flexible positional superiority, which puts the Westerner in a whole series of possible relationships with the Orient without ever losing him the relative upper hand. And why should it have been otherwise, especially during the period of extraordinary European ascendancy from the late Renaissance to the present? The scientist, the scholar, the missionary, the trader, or the soldier was in, or thought about, the Orient because he could be there, or could think about it, with very little resistance on the Orient’s part.”
-from Edward Said, Orientalism (7)
The Américas remain as foreign to the Occidental as does the Orient to which Said refers in his landmark work, Orientalism. We white artist-philosophers approach Latin America, as elsewhere, with a supposed dialectical epistemology of identity and difference. And yet, is this even possible? Can I engage in a narrative which is, as has been said, ‘not mine’? Even as someone of white, European descent, the story of colonialism, enslavement, plunder, profiteering, and worse is mine as well. This whole world is the world I inhabit. And as an artist, I attempt to give voice to the constantly changing facets of my experience in this world.