Sol Calero, Amazonas, 2017, Pastel, chalk, blackboard paint on canvas 270 × 200 cm
“Amazonas” is a pastel and chalk drawing on blackboard paint by Sol Calero. First shown at Hamburger Banhof in 2017 for the installation Amazonas Shopping Center, the work displays Calero’s distinguishable tropical motifs which refer to the visual and cultural stereotypes surrounding Latin America as a carnavalized Other. Large in scale and using a blackboard canvas, the work nods to Calero’s vision of popularized education around the subject of Latin American history and culture.
The installation at Hamburger Banhof stemmed from a solo exhibition produced two years prior at Studio Voltaire, London, titled La Escuela del Sur (The School of the South). The exhibition takes its title from Uruguayan artist and art theorist Joaquín Torres García, whose 1935 piece proposed an autonomous art movement inverting the traditional hierarchy of art, placing Latin America at the nexus of art history. García went on to found the Taller Torres García, a progressive educational art community which aimed to develop a distinctive Latin American artistic language based on constructivist theories. Noting the Victorian architectural style of Studio Voltaire, Calero reworked the space based on the visual culture of South America, imagining a school setting where communal learning and gathering could take place.