Bartolina Xixa is an Andean drag queen who was born in the province of Jujuy, northern Argentina, on November 28, 2017. She is a persona created by Coya artist and dancer Maximiliano Mamani (born in 1995, also in Jujuy) out of an impulse to question the colonial origins of subaltern identities in the cultures of the South and the associated imposition of the categories of race and gender. Xixa is a tribute to the Bolivian revolutionary leader Bartolina Sisa Vargas (c.1750–82), an Aymara woman who fought alongside her husband Túpac Katari (c. 1750–81) against the colonial occupation of present-day Peru and Bolivia in the eighteenth century and was eventually executed by Spanish troops. Through Xixa, Mamani evokes Indigenous struggle as a foundation for undoing patriarchal and racist paradigms, while also paying homage to the women of his family and the people of the Quebrada de Humahuaca valley in Jujuy. This region has been persistently subjugated by hegemonic power structures that have denied local Indigenous peoples visibility and access to resources through the imposition of white culture and capitalism.
Ramita Seca, 2019
- ArtistBartolina Xixa
- TitleRamita Seca. La Colonialidad Permanente
- Year of Origin2019
- Technique and DurationHD video, color, sound, 5′07″ Ed. 1/5 + 2 AP
- Erwerbung der StiftungYes
Bartolina Xixa, Ramita Seca, La Colonialidad Permanente, 2019 © courtesy: Bartolina Xixa
The music video Ramita Seca, La Colonialidad Permanente [Dry Twig, The Permanent Coloniality, 2019] shows Xixa dancing in the middle of a dumping ground in a self-created choreography. The music and lyrics are by folk singer Aldana Bello. Dressed in traditional attire amidst worn-out mattresses, garbage bags, and dust, Xixa uses movements that suggest ancestral remedies to colonial extractivist violence. The work functions as a call for the dissident bodies affected by the predatory systems in place in the former colonies to take a political stance and to combat socioeconomic inequalities and structural violence as a means of healing colonial wounds.
Beatriz Lemos (text from 11th Berlin Biennial)