Liliana Angulo


Negro utópico (Utopian Black)






60 x 50 cm


Color print on paper

Credits: Banco de la República, Colombia

Negro utópico is a series of 9 color photographs in which Colombian artist Liliana Angulo poses in a costume with the same pattern of food tiles as the background of the photographs. With criticism and parody, the artist paints her face black and exaggerates the features of her eyes and mouth with white borders. She also wears a large wig made of kitchen sponges, alluding to the pejorative expression “bombril hair” used to refer to afro hair. In this series, Angulo appropriates the racist tradition of American vaudeville and buffo theatre to question the role historically forced on Afro people. She particularly plays with the presence/absence of the body, which is rendered invisible by the pattern of the wall hanging. In the series, the model performs a series of actions associated with domestic work: ironing, cooking, and cleaning. It is no coincidence that in the photos in which she refers to the action of cooking, the artist has made a banana milkshake. This fruit, long associated with the racialized bodies of plantation workers, plays an important role here. In the three photographs that make up the action, Angulo presents the sequence of cutting the fruit, placing it in the blender, and showing the smoothie to the observer. However, the model never drinks it, reminding us that often the people involved in food production cannot enjoy the fruits of their labor.