Milko Delgado


Apuntes conceptuales sobre el extractivismo bananero en Barú






Variable dimensions performance and 7:31’ video-performance


Installation and video-performance

Credits: Private Collection, The artist would like to acknowledge the community of Puerto Armuelles, Manaca, and Barú, MAC Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Panamá , Mente Pública, Adan Vallecillo, and the project collaborators Elliese Judge and Leydiana Pineda

The Panamanian artist Milko Delgado reflects on the trauma of his country’s banana-growing past in his 2021 piece Apuntes conceptuales sobre el extractivismo bananero en Barú, comprising a video and an installation. The video shows three actions – in the first, the artist followed a long path through a banana plantation carrying a heavy bunch of bananas on his shoulder, a symbol of Panama’s difficulty in shaking off the weight of its neocolonial past linked to the banana industry. In the second action, also in the plantation, Delgado covers his head with a blue plastic bag, similar to those which cover the bunches of fruit to protect them from pests and pesticides. The video shows the artist struggling for air until he cannot bear it any longer and he tears the bag open with his hands in order to be able to breathe normally, finally freed from the asphyxiating climate of the banana plantations. In the third and last action Delgado lies on the ground in the ruins of an abandoned boat on the banana plantation. Blinded by the sun, the artist is partially covered by several bananas which, like him, seem to have given up, as though they are waiting to decompose. The installation that accompanies the work consists of a pile of bananas, each with a sticker similar to those of the big banana companies. Some of the stickers show portraits of the fifteen people (including some of the artist’s family members) which Delgado interviewed in Barú during the process of research for the work, including ex-workers from the plantations, activists and community leaders, independent farmers and people with health problems as a result of fumigation with agrochemicals. Other bananas have a black sticker as a symbol of mourning for those who have died due to the pesticides.