The Global Indigenous Arts Network (GIAN) is a research group dedicated to cultivating links between Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics, contemporary artists, and other cultural agents with the aim of forging long-lasting intercultural and inter-epistemic alliances within, and beyond, the global arts scene. Born of the necessity to address ongoing asymmetries in the distribution of resources and power under neoliberal, neocolonial global capitalism, GIAN aims to provide increased visibility to Indigenous situated knowledges as a means for decolonizing current Western-hegemonic ways of belonging and looking at the world. Echoing Tuscarora scholar Jolene Rickard (2017), GIAN recognizes the urgent need to take into account Indigenous knowledges in global art, art history, and visual culture studies in order to exercise an effective intervention on modernity/coloniality and its framing of Indigenous cultures within a hegemonic metanarrative of the West.
GIAN’s main goal is to contribute to the production and dissemination of decolonial Indigenous knowledges through the consolidation of transversal political and intercultural alliances. Our aim is not simply to incorporate Indigenous philosophies to “the Western ‘post’-humanism that they precede by millennia” (Bignall et al, 2016), but rather to facilitate conceptual, methodological, and political alliances that are needed in order to co-create a robust, critical framework for producing effective decolonial interventions in the global art scene and beyond.
To assert Indigenous worldviews as indispensable countermeasures to the flattening processes of globalization, all the while avoiding falling into the trap of reproducing modern/colonial forms of epistemological, cultural, and aesthetic extractivism.
To understand Indigenous knowledges as perspectival and affective, value-laden and inherently political (Semali & Kincheloe 1999) while recognizing that not all Indigenous knowledges can be lumped together into a homogenous whole. Rather, following Semali and Kincheloe (1999), we understand Indigenous processes of knowledge production in relation to historical setting, cultural situatedness, and the moral needs of the reality their cultural agents confront.
To go beyond the modern/colonial discourse of indigenism or indianness that Byrd (2011) has theorized as producing othered and abjected peoples excluded from the metanarrative of Western modernity. Instead, we champion indigeneity as a form of subjectivity that makes visible the intrinsic and continuing asymmetrical power relations born of historical processes of coloniality. Further, we understand indigeneity as the continuous resistance to the ongoing condition of coloniality. Our goal is to operate on the level of building alliances between indigeneities while avoiding falling into the traps of indigenism.
To visibilize and facilitate Indigenous communities’ fundamental right to represent themselves (Tuhiwai Smith cited in Rickard, 2017). Following Rickard’s theorization of visual sovereignty (2017), we maintain that an intellectual, cultural, artistic, and visual expansion of the concept of sovereignty can facilitate intersectionality across indigeneity, colonization, and decolonization towards an emancipatory cultural policy that can effectively deconstruct the colonial gaze and the colonizing image or text.
To “contribute to a greater appreciation by non-Indigenous society of Indigenous knowledge as a valuable contribution to world knowledge that can lead to productive cross-cultural philosophical alliances” in a bid to construct a shared resistance to the damaging effects of capitalist anthropocentrism (Bignall et al, 2016).
Anna Maria Guasch
Universitat de Barcelona
Anna Maria Guasch is Professor in Contemporary Art History at the University of Barcelona, having also taught at the Universities of Sevilla and Complutense de Madrid. Her current research interests are: archive, memory and autobiography; visual studies; indigenism and contemporary art; and art and globalization. Her work on the archive and memory has been explored in publications such as Autobiografías visuales: entre el archivo y el índice (Siruela, Madrid, 2009) and Arte y archivo. Genealogías, tipologías y discontinuidades (Akal/Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid, 2011), as well as through several keynote presentations in renowned academic conferences. Her research on visual studies is best referenced in her chapter “Doce Reglas para una Nueva Academia: la “Nueva Historia del Arte” y los Estudios Visuales”, in Estudios Visuales. La Epistemología de la Visualidad en la Era de la Globalización (José Luis Brea, ed., Akal, Madrid, 2005). With regards to contemporary art and globalization, she has participated in numerous international conferences and seminars, as well as curating the exhibition La Memoria del Otro en la Era de lo Global shown in Bogotá (2009), Santiago de Chile (2010), and Havanna (2011). Her most recent publications include the books El arte en la era de lo global (1989-2015) (Alianza Forma, Madrid, 2016), The Codes of the Global (Ediciones Universitat de Barcelona, 2018), The Turns of the Global (Ediciones Universitat de Barcelona, 2019), and Derivas. Ensayos críticos sobre arte y pensamiento (Akal/Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid, 2021). She is currently preparing the book Los nuevos “ismos” en el arte del siglo XXI (Alianza, Madrid, 2024) with Julia Ramírez-Blanco.
Nasheli Jiménez del Val
Nasheli Jiménez del Val is a researcher and professor in Visual Studies with a focus on decolonial approaches to theorizing images and visualities. Her main research interests centre on power dynamics and the construction of visuality, authority, and counter-looking in the age of global necropolitics. From 2014 to 2018 she was Associate Researcher in Visual Studies at Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, UNAM. Previously, she was Marie-Curie-Beatriu de Pinós Fellow at the Department of Art History, University of Barcelona (2012-2014), Lecturer in Spanish and Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Stirling (2010-2011), Getty Latin America Guest Researcher at l’Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, INHA (2003-2004), and Research Assistant at Museo Nacional de Arte, MUNAL (2001-2003). She holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from Cardiff University (2010), an MA in Political and Social Studies from UNAM (2005), and a BA in Graphic Communication from UNAM (2002).
Polytechnic University of Valencia;
Universitat de Barcelona
Chiara Sgaramella is an artist and post-doctoral researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain). Her work explores the intersections between collaborative practices and ecology-related art. She has been a visiting scholar at the Center for Creative Ecologies at the University of California Santa Cruz (USA, 2018) and has edited different publications examining recent artistic production focusing on eco-social issues. Parallel to her academic work, she develops artistic, pedagogical and cultural projects related to socio-environmental questions. Her practice arises from the hybridisation of different languages and knowledge systems, proposing a critical reflection on issues related to agriculture, food sovereignty and land use. She recently participated in art residencies such as Atlante Energetico (Spinola Banna Foundation, 2016-17), Bloom Again (Eleusis, Greece 2017), New Curriculum (Inland, 2018), Groundwork for Embedded Arts Practice (UNIDEE, 2021) and COSSOS Subaltern Knowledge Communities (Consorci de Museus de la Comunitat Valenciana, 2022), among others.