- 22 January 2021
- 12:00 – 1:00 pm
- Online Event
Inhabited by a number of diverse ethnic groups (Miskitus, Afro-mestizos, Garifunas, Creoles, Ramas, Sumu-Mayangnas, Ulwas) the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua has historically sought to maintain its independence from the rest of country, a separation that began during the colonial period and has endured through to the present. The Miskitu Kingdom was a British protectorate during the eighteenth century, and alliances were maintained until it was incorporated into Nicaragua in 1894. Visual practices in the Caribbean, photography included, were marginalized until the Sandinista Revolution, when they started to be incorporated into cultural discourses through a form of revolutionary mestizo nationalism. Approaching the region as if it were a clean slate, the central Sandinista government neglected claims towards regional autonomy, ignoring the fact that indigenous and afro-descendant cultures already had their own history of identification with resistance and revolution across the Mosquitia and in the Caribbean.
This talk investigates forms of vernacular photography and their impact on politics through participation and identification in the city of Bluefields, capital of the South Caribbean Autonomous Region of Nicaragua. Scant photographic material has survived to document the history of this important regional centre, which was partially destroyed by a hurricane in 1988. Nonetheless, personal photographs from family archives continue to tell important histories about this resilient multi-ethnic community. Although little acknowledged, local photographic practices were long established, with photo-studios active since the mid-nineteenth century. Thus far, scholarship on Nicaraguan photography has focused on centralised practices almost exclusively, due to the prominent role assigned to photography in the aftermath of the Sandinista revolution. Through the example of Bluefields, this paper examines how photography has contributed to the formation of political identities at a local and national level in Nicaragua, and how the visual legacy of emancipatory movements is articulated in present discourses.
Guidelines for users attending Zoom webinars
Before the webinar
● Please download Zoom software in advance.
● Please register to attend the Research Lunch webinar through Eventbrite.
● We will share the link to the Zoom webinar with you in advance by email through Eventbrite.
● If you require closed captioning during this event, please get in touch at least two weeks before the event date.
During the event
● Paul Mellon Centre staff hosting the event will employ the appropriate security features to help ensure that events and meetings operate safely.
● There will be a waiting room feature that allows the host to control when all participants join the meeting.
● You will be automatically muted when you join the webinar and can only communicate verbally if the host unmutes you.
● The talk will last for 30–40 minutes and will be followed by a Q&A where the chair will prompt discussion.
● Use the Q&A box to ask/write your questions after the talk.
● You can also use the virtual raise hand button if you have a question/comment to make by audio.
● Use the chat box to make comments.
● If you are experiencing any technical problems, please notify Ella Fleming (events manager) or Danielle Convey (events assistant) directly using the chat box function. Alternatively you can email them via email@example.com.
● The Paul Mellon Centre will not take photographs of this event and participants are requested likewise not to do so.
● This session will not be recorded.
● Any offensive behaviour will not be tolerated and attendees can be removed from the webinar by the host.
The Paul Mellon Centre is aware of its obligations under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and is committed to processing your data securely and transparently.
For more information on Zoom’s compliance with EU GDPR see: https://zoom.us/gdpr.
Image: Anonymous family photographs, stored in the archives of CIDCA, the Center of Research and Documentation of the Atlantic Coast, in the town of Bluefields, on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. Photograph by Ileana L. Selejan.
About the speaker
Ileana L. Selejan is Research Fellow with the Decolonising Arts Institute and Associate Lecturer at the University of the Arts London. Previously based in the Department of Anthropology at University College London, where she is now Honorary Research Fellow, she participates in the European Research Council (ERC) funded project, Citizens of Photography: The Camera and the Political Imagination. She was the Linda Wyatt Gruber ’66 Curatorial Fellow in Photography at The Davis Museum at Wellesley College where she curated the exhibition Charlotte Brooks at LOOK: 1951–1971. She received her PhD in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and was granted the 2012–13 Joan and Stanford Alexander Award from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, for her research in Nicaragua. As an associate lecturer, she taught in the Photography and Imaging Department at Tisch School of the Arts, and in the Art History Department at New York University, at the Parsons School of Design in New York, and in the Fine Arts Department at West University, Timisoara, Romania. She is a contributing member of the Romanian experimental arts collective kinema ikon.
29 Jan 2021
Accommodating the Picturesque: The Country Houses of James Wyatt, John Nash and Sir John Soane, 1793–1815
05 Feb 2021
Bankside, Britain, Global, Public; the Turbine Hall Series in Tate Modern
19 Feb 2021
Disorienting the Gaze: Ngozi Onwurah’s Early Films
08 Jan 2021
Rewriting the Script: Theatre Playwriting Practice and the Design of an Ecological, Sustainable Theatre