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Coca-Colonized Exhibit at MARTE


Exhibition opens: May 5, 2011 at 7pm
The exhibition is on view until July 3,2011

San Salvador, February, 2010: The Art Museum of El Salvador (MARTE) is pleased to
announce the opening of Coca-colonized, curated by South African born, USA-based
curator Claire Breukel. Coca-colonized—a contemporary multimedia exhibition originated
at Brotkunsthalle, Vienna—launches at the MARTE Museum in San Salvador in May
2011. The exhibition features nine artists selected from South- and Central America and
Africa, whose work responds to what it means to live and work in regions ‘beneath‘ their
first world counterparts, specifically North America and Europe. Furthermore, Cocacolonized
looks at the influence of mass media that has, through generations, integrated
with local culture to create a multilayered and empowered new ‘third identity’.

Coca-colonized features a widespread representation of perspectives including Anton
Kannemeyer (South Africa), Peterson Kamwathi Waweru (Kenya), Baudouin Mouanda
(Congo), Cameron Platter (South Africa), Maria José Arjona (Colombia), Simón Vega (El
Salvador), Omar Obdulio (Puerto Rico), Reynier Leyva-Novo (Cuba) and Emilio Chapela
Perez (Mexico). Through site-specific installation, video, painting, design, sculpture and
performance, the exhibition responds to the ideology that the influence of a mass
culture on another, what is termed ‘developing‘ region, implies an absolute relationship
between the influencer and the impressionable. This exhibition questions this
relationship (neither to prove or disprove) in an attempt to provide evidence of how
mass cultural influence has been absorbed, reinterpreted and at times positively
rejuvenated within these regions.

Often out of necessity these artists create work that is outside of formal spaces, bringing
it closer to a public audience and invariably making their work more culturally and
socially interactive.

“I believe that artists are agents of cultural preemption responding to and reflecting
social and cultural truths,” says curator Claire Breukel. “The showing of Coca-colonized
in the museum in El Salvador is especially prolific as it places the exhibition in the
context of a region from where the exhibition concept originated.”

In order to showcase the work of contemporary and emerging artists, the MARTE
Contemporáneo program fosters dialogues between Salvadorian and international
practitioners. It also offers the public the opportunity to appreciate new artistic trends
and aesthetic proposals. This can include exhibitions in one of the halls of the building
and in designated spaces, as well as other activities organized by the Museum and the
MARTE Contemporáneo committee, which supports and develops the schedule and
agenda of the program.

“The exhibition Coca-colonized by Claire Breukel is particularly interesting because it
gathers a group of artists that are linked through their interpretation of a current topic,
specifically the cultural impact of industrialized and hegemonic societies in developing
countries,” says Rafael Alas Programming Director of MARTE. “This dialogue between
selected artists in Africa and Latin America, who share their views and experiences of
the relationship between these societies, highlights the influences and the cultural
“permeability” of groups which share an apparent subordination to these influences,
regardless of distance or geographic location.”

Breukel first visited MARTE Museum in 2008 on a curatorial trip sponsored by Miami
collector Mario Cader-Frech. During her 35 studio visits, Breukel met San Salvadorian
artist Simón Vega who was later invited to create a site-specific installation for the
Vienna exhibition and who will create a new piece for the MARTE museum showing.
Coca-colonized is accompanied by a color catalogue translated into Spanish.

For more information please visit or contact Mélida de Arrieta at


This exhibition is made possible by MARTE Contemporary, Mario Cader-Frech, Galerie Ernst Hilger and Hilger BrotKunsthalle, in collaboration with Michael Stevenson Gallery, South Africa; EDS gallery, Mexico, Anita Beckers gallery, Germany, Whatiftheworld Gallery, South Africa and Afrique in Visu.

*The term coca-colonization is used to describe cases where a country's indigenous culture is
eroded by a corporate mass-culture, usually from a powerful, industrialized country. This is more metaphorical usage as people need not move, to the colonized country; only cultural signals, symbols, forms of entertainment, and values need to move to the colonized country. (Wikipedia)