press release

San Salvador, February, 2010: The Art Museum of El Salvador (MARTE) is pleased to announce the opening of Coca-colonized, curated by South African born, USA-based curator Claire Breukel. Coca-colonized—a contemporary multimedia exhibition originated at Brotkunsthalle, Vienna—launches at the MARTE Museum in San Salvador in May 2011. The exhibition features nine artists selected from South- and Central America and Africa, whose work responds to what it means to live and work in regions ‘beneath‘ their first world counterparts, specifically North America and Europe. Furthermore, Coca-colonized looks at the influence of mass media that has, through generations, integrated with local culture to create a multilayered and empowered new ‘third identity’.

Coca-colonized features a widespread representation of perspectives including Anton Kannemeyer (South Africa), Peterson Kamwathi Waweru (Kenya), Baudouin Mouanda (Congo), Cameron Platter (South Africa), Maria José Arjona (Colombia), Simón Vega (El Salvador), Omar Obdulio (Puerto Rico), Reynier Leyva-Novo (Cuba) and Emilio Chapela Perez (Mexico). Through site-specific installation, video, painting, design, sculpture and performance, the exhibition responds to the ideology that the influence of a mass culture on another, what is termed ‘developing‘ region, implies an absolute relationship between the influencer and the impressionable. This exhibition questions this relationship (neither to prove or disprove) in an attempt to provide evidence of how mass cultural influence has been absorbed, reinterpreted and at times positively rejuvenated within these regions.

Often out of necessity these artists create work that is outside of formal spaces, bringing it closer to a public audience and invariably making their work more culturally and socially interactive.

“I believe that artists are agents of cultural preemption responding to and reflecting social and cultural truths,” says curator Claire Breukel. “The showing ofCoca-colonized in the museum in El Salvador is especially prolific as it places the exhibition in the context of a region from where the exhibition concept originated.”

In order to showcase the work of contemporary and emerging artists, the MARTE Contemporáneo program fosters dialogues between Salvadorian and international practitioners. It also offers the public the opportunity to appreciate new artistic trends and aesthetic proposals. This can include exhibitions in one of the halls of the building and in designated spaces, as well as other activities organized by the Museum and the MARTE Contemporáneo committee, which supports and develops the schedule and agenda of the program.

“The exhibition Coca-colonized by Claire Breukel is particularly interesting because it gathers a group of artists that are linked through their interpretation of a current topic, specifically the cultural impact of industrialized and hegemonic societies in developing countries,” says Rafael Alas Programming Director of MARTE. “This dialogue between selected artists in Africa and Latin America, who share their views and experiences of the relationship between these societies, highlights the influences and the cultural “permeability” of groups which share an apparent subordination to these influences, regardless of distance or geographic location.”

Breukel first visited MARTE Museum in 2008 on a curatorial trip sponsored by Miami collector Mario Cader-Frech. During her 35 studio visits, Breukel met San Salvadorian artist Simón Vega who was later invited to create a site-specific installation for the Vienna exhibition and who will create a new piece for the MARTE museum showing. Coca-colonized is accompanied by a color catalogue translated into Spanish.

For more information please visit or contact Mélida de Arrieta at

This exhibition is made possible by MARTE Contemporary, Mario Cader-Frech, Galerie Ernst Hilger and Hilger BrotKunsthalle, in collaboration with Michael Stevenson Gallery, South Africa; EDS gallery, Mexico, Anita Beckers gallery, Germany, Whatiftheworld Gallery, South Africa and Afrique in Visu.

*The term coca-colonization is used to describe cases where a country's indigenous culture is eroded by a corporate mass-culture, usually from a powerful, industrialized country. This is more metaphorical usage as people need not move, to the colonized country; only cultural signals, symbols, forms of entertainment, and values need to move to the colonized country. (Wikipedia)

only in german

Kurator: Claire Breukel

Künstler: Anton Kannemeyer, Peterson Kamwathi Waweru, Baudouin Mouanda, Cameron Platter, Maria Jose Arjona, Simon Vega, Omar Obdulio, Reynier Leyva-Novo, Emilio Chapela Perez.