Ologwagdi and the Art of Protest, Mar. 20-28

Panamanian artist to visit TCU for lecture and weeklong residency

Photo credit: El Kollectivo

Photo credit: El Kollectivo

Armando Díaz Rivera (Ologwagdi) is one of Panama’s leading indigenous artists and a longtime veteran of the country’s labor and social protest movements.  From March 20-28, the artist will be at TCU on a visit made possible by Discovering Global Citizenship, the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan to internationalize TCU.

The events surrounding Ologwagdi’s visit will also introduce participants to the concerns of Latin American social protest movements, including economic injustice, the environment, sovereignty and indigenous rights.

“Ologwagdi’s visit offers students and the community an opportunity to experience the aesthetics of protest art, including its use of absorbing, iconic imagery and its striking appearance in unexpected places,” said history professor Peter Szok, who will also be the artist’s host during his stay in Fort Worth.


Artist Talk & Exhibition
Tuesday, March 24, 5 pm
Brown-Lupton University Union Ballroom
FREE and open to the public

Peter Szok, professor of history, will facilitate a discussion with the artist. Ologwagdi will discuss his work and the landscape of indigenous painting. The event includes samples of the artist’s work and music. Food will be provided.

Film Screening: Héroe Transparente by Orgun Wagua
Wednesday, March 18, 6:30 pm
Sid Richardson Lecture Hall 4
FREE and open to the public

Orgun Wagua is a young Guna filmmaker. His film, Héroe Transparente, explores the life and historical memory of Victoriano Lorenzo, a rural indigenous leader from the nineteenth century who has become a symbol of social protest. Ologwagdi, who has played a major role in developing Victoriano’s image, appears frequently in the film. Filmed with subtitles. View the trailer.

Exhibition of Portrait Banners
March 16-20

Ologwagdi Portrait  Ologwagdi Portrait Ologwagdi Portrait Ologwagdi Portrait

An exhibition of 10 portrait banners of prominent protest figures will be on display on campus. Ologwagdi has produced the portraits specifically for this visit to TCU, including subjects like Rigoberta Menchú, Malala Yousafzai, Victoriano Lorenzo, Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, Chief Joseph, Frida Kahlo, Nelson Mandela, René Pérez Joglar (Residente) and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Print-Making Workshop
For current TCU students only

During his weeklong visit, Ologwagdi will participate in a print-making workshop with TCU students. He will have studio space and use the School of Art facilities, allowing students to witness and assist in his creative process. Ologwagdi will also make a limited edition print with the printmaking students while he is here. Students will collaborate with the artist and assist him by applying the technical skills they are learning in class.

“Students will gain insight into Ologwagdi’s process and have conversations with the artist regarding his ideas, his politics, and the Panamanian political arts scene,” said Rachel Livedalen, assistant professor of art.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to spend time with such an important artist,” said Sara-Jayne Parsons, curator of The Art Galleries at TCU,  “We look forward to learning a great deal about contemporary art practices in Panama from Ologwagdi.”

A Global Experience on Campus
John Singleton, director of International Student Services and an implementation leader for Discovering Global Citizenship, recognizes the great strides TCU has made in providing students with a global experience both on campus and abroad.

“A few years ago it was almost impossible to even think about hosting someone similar to Ologwagdi at the University. The change came in understanding the powerful effect of linking our faculty’s research and classroom activities with a real voice – in this case, Ologwagdi’s.”

“By expanding the boundaries of knowledge and community, we grow our students’ worldview,” he continued. “A TCU education means direct engagement in the real world with all its problems and beauty, and we’re staking our academic reputation that this one day means a smarter, brighter, tougher and more engaged TCU alum.”

About Ologwagdi
Born in 1953, the artist is best known for his stunning murals which adorn the walls of Colón and Panama City and which treat topics as varied as Native American rights, gender equality, national sovereignty, and the environment.  Ologwagdi is a member of the Guna (formerly Kuna) community which boasts a long and impressive history of resisting Western colonization.  For years, he has involved himself in cultural projects in the group’s traditional comarca which encompasses the islands and territories of Panama’s eastern Caribbean coast and which functions as an autonomous region.

Ologwagdi is a founding member of the Movimiento de la Juventud Kuna which was created in the early 1970s and which organized Panama’s Native American youth in a critical period of indigenous mobilization.  In addition, he is responsible for most of the portraits which today hang in the Gunas’ meeting houses.  Ologwagdi’s portraits honor deceased heroes and captivate viewers with their visual power.

Ologwagdi grew up in Colón and Guna Yala and attended Panama’s Escuela de Artes Plásticas.  In contrast to many of his colleagues, he has never concerned himself with producing for galleries, but instead has participated in organizations dedicated to art in public spaces.  His paintings appear on buildings and banners and often emerge in political rallies, elevated in the hands of boisterous protestors.

Ologwagdi was a key member of El Trópico de Cáncer, a pioneering public art group in the 1970s.  More recently, he has been active in El Kolectivo, whose murals focus on historical memory and the decades-long struggle for Panamanian national autonomy.

Ologwagdi is a prolific illustrator of books and has contributed to dozens of publications on Panamanian history, literature, and natural resources.  Since the mid-1970s, he has worked as an illustrator for Panama’s Ministry of Education, specializing in bilingual instruction.

About Discovering Global Citizenship
Discovering Global Citizenship is a Quality Enhancement Plan to internationalize TCU. It features six initiatives designed to engage the TCU community with the world while providing international and comparative experiences for students:

Visiting Scholars, Local Global Leaders, Global Innovators and Virtual Voyage aim to bring the world to TCU.

TCU Abroad and the Global Academy offer new opportunities for TCU students to engage with communities throughout the world.


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