Carnival in Uruguay

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From Montevideo, Capital Iberoamericana del Carnaval (classmark: 2010.11.1880)

Carnival traditions in Latin America are immensely rich. For millions of people, February is linked to heat, music, water fights and a feast of colours. From Oruro’s celebrations in Bolivia to the most internationally renowned parades of Rio de Janeiro, their counterpart in Montevideo (Uruguay) is just as compelling and certainly more enduring, lasting for 40 days. Montevideo’s carnival not only traditionally allows for a general reversal of everyday norms, but also brings together the very diverse pot of cultures that shape Uruguayan society (see: El carnaval de Montevideo: folklore, historia, sociología, classmark: UR.18, at the Seeley Library’s Latin American studies collection; and at the University Library: Identidad y globalización en el carnaval, at 676:85.c.200.83). Continue reading

Goodbye to the Chilean queen

On Friday 23 January the Chilean writer, artist and activist Pedro Lemebel died of cancer. One of the most important and provocative queer voices of Latin America, Lemebel’s anti-establishment writings and performances are landmark works. Diamela Eltit, Visiting Simón Bolívar Professor at the Centre of Latin American Studies, wrote this piece on him (published originally in Spanish in the Chilean magazine “The Clinic”) and has kindly agreed to its posting on our blog. To see a list of works by and on him held at the Library, please click here.

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Pedro Lemebel (second from left) in conversation, 2011 (Image taken from Wikimedia Commons, click to enlarge).

It seems unreal writing about Pedro Lemebel, when only a few days have elapsed since his death. Perhaps it isn’t real, as in the world of the arts the notion of death remains ambiguous. This is precisely because, faced with absence, there remains the presence of an oeuvre that is very much still there – alive, available and ready to inhabit the varied presents of the future.

Las yeguas del apocalípsis (1987) signalled the founding of a collective (Pedro Lemebel and Francisco Casas) that would reveal the transvestite body as both the object and subject of critical intervention. Their performance art, staged in various ways, maintained a relationship with their predecessors, who had portrayed the homosexual body from an aesthetically challenging perspective. Continue reading

European Drama and Performance Studies

European drama and performance image

European Drama and Performance Studies

The Library has recently taken out a subscription to a new peer-reviewed print journal, European drama and performance studies, devoted to the study of the history of the performing arts. Current issues are kept in pigeonhole 384, and back numbers at L415.c.418. Although the journal’s title suggests very general coverage, the first two issues have concentrated exclusively on French drama. However, it is intended that the coverage will eventually include all periods and areas, and interdisciplinary and comparative subjects will feature prominently. Continue reading