Emilio Rojas, Santa María Llena Eres de Gracia, 2018 / Collection of DePaul Art Museum, gift of the artist, 2020.10 / Courtesy of the artist
Trade Windings: De-Lineating the American Tropics
May 18 – Aug 25, 2024
Museum of Contemporary Art
Chicago, USA

Trade winds were the currents of air that brought Columbus to the Americas in 1492 – an event that led to the establishment of trade routes across the Atlantic in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Western history has canonized this era as one of “exploration and discovery,” marked by economic, technological, and cultural “progress.” This narrative, however, neglects the realities of mass displacement, enslavement, and extraction that enabled this time of imperial prosperity.

Trade Windings: De-Lineating the American Tropics interrogates the history and legacy of trade routes by mapping them in relation to the economic and migratory realities of today. Working across media and with an expansive range of materials, including colonial products such as coffee, tea, gunpowder, and cotton, the artists in this exhibition expose the structural and material dimensions of coloniality while highlighting the ways it continues to haunt the world today.

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