Americas

Minerva Cuevas
America

During her research on primitive currencies and cultural cannibalism, Cuevas came across the Donald Duck comic book issue “The Stone Money Mystery,” where Donald goes on a quest to find missing museum objects. Cuevas’s America (2006) is a wall painting of a comic Donald Duck wallowing in a heap of gold coins, alluding to Mexico’s postrevolutionary mural tradition. The mural’s background is one of the earliest illustrations of flora and fauna in the American continent, juxtaposed with a reference to America as having bountiful natural resources available to be exploited, and the historical use of comics as ideological tools. The piece also recalls the politics of the Mexican muralists Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco filtered through contemporary narratives of identity, otherness, and power. Driven first by multiculturalism in the United States, then by globalization worldwide, this Disney reference also refers to the notorious book How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic, originally published during the Chilean revolution as Para Leer al Pato Donald before it was banned and burned. Writing from exile in 1975, the authors signed the preface to the English edition as follows: “Mr. Disney, we are returning your Duck. Feathers plucked and well-roasted. Look inside, you can see the handwriting on the wall, our hands still writing on the wall: Donald, Go Home!”

Minerva Cuevas’s socially engaged practice encompasses a range of strategies and mediums, including film, installation, performance, and site-specific public intervention. Cuevas aims to provide insight into the complex economic and political structures of the social realm, offering playful possibilities for their subversion. Often manifesting as small but poignant interruptions into the everyday realm, Cuevas’s modest acts infiltrate and disrupt economic and social systems, drawing attention to the aesthetics of popular imagery such as corporate branding, political symbols and slogans, and even comic books.