The project “HumboldtHuaca” engages with the controversy surrounding the Humboldt Forum and organises events in Berlin to give a voice to Latin American and indigenous people and communities in Berlin. The actions are accompanied by a video essay and field research in Peru in cooperation with various Latin American and Peruvian cultural initiatives.
The Humboldt Forum, one of the most extensive cultural projects in Europe, will display part of the largest collection of archaeological objects from present-day Peru. Among the plans is the exhibition of two human bodies from the coastal region of Chuquitanta near Lima, packed up into a bundle. They arrived in Germany as a result of the illegal practice of extracting cultural heritage from Huaca temples. In addition, the Humboldt Forum is simultaneously reconstructing the Berlin Palace, a symbol of German colonialism.
In this context, the community art project HumboldtHuaca aims to make visible the connection that still exists between the so-called archaeological objects and the way of life cultivated by this diaspora of migration. A series of community actions and rituals is intended to promote discussion around this topic and encourage the communities to take a stand on the Humboldt Forum. This process, which includes the restitution of the bundle of the dead from Chuquitanta, will be simultaneously recorded in a video documentary. Parallel to the actions in Berlin, field research, interviews and rituals were organised and carried out in the community of Chuquitanta in the district of San Martin de Porres in Lima, Peru. These actions took place in cooperation with the Chuquitanta community in Lima, specifically with the cultural association Kapaq Sumaq Ayllu, citizens and cultural actors, as well as archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and cultural institutions.
HumboldtHuaca is part of the experimental study project “DecolonizeM21”, which is dedicated to the content and contextualisation of the exhibition module 21 at the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, which features archaeological objects from contemporary Peru. The DecolonizeM21 (“Intervention M 21: Am Humboldtstrom – Sammeln im 19. Jahrhundert” /“The Humboldt Current – Collections in the 19th Century”) working group consists of nine predominantly Latin American artists. DecolonizeM21 is a cooperation between the National Museums in Berlin - Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Institute for Art in Context at the Berlin University of the Arts, which is funded by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.