Art in Latin America

The details
Art History and Theory
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 06 October 2022
Friday 16 December 2022
14 September 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

The artistic heritage of Latin America is both as vast as its expansive geography and as rich as its complex history.

Interwoven with the social, political, and cultural realities that have shaped the region, art from Latin America is a diverse and fascinating tapestry of pre-Columbian artefacts and colonial art; botanical surveys and post-independence paintings; iconographies of social revolution; avant-garde aesthetics; and contemporary engagements with violence and injustice. Artists from Latin America have long made significant contributions to innovating aesthetic forms by reaching beyond geographical boundaries to pioneer and engage with transnational movements, from Geometric Abstraction and Conceptualism, through to the digital interfaces at the frontiers of technological development.

During this module, we will look closely at select artworks that offer insights into key moments in art making in Latin America. We will study artworks in dialogue with the region's socio-political processes, addressing important historical events such as colonisation, the Mexican Revolution, modernisation, and political conflict. Within this interdisciplinary approach, we will focus mainly on modern and contemporary works of art to examine them in relation to issues such as nature and the landscape, cultural hybridity, modernity, trauma, and identity. We will begin with an introduction to Latin America, then examine core topics over the following weeks, combining readings of key critical and analytical texts with detailed discussions of specific artworks.

We will engage closely with artworks at the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA), a major research and teaching collection at the University of Essex and a unique university and national resource. Representing 350 artists from 19 countries, ESCALA includes more than 750 artworks mostly produced from the 1960s to the present

Module aims

1. To explore key themes and issues related to Latin America through its artistic heritage
2. To encourage interdisciplinary approaches to studying art
3. To study key artistic movements in modern Latin America
4. To familiarise students with the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA)
5. To contextualise artworks in broader political, social and cultural contexts

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module, you should have developed skills that enable you to:

1. Critically describe, analyse and interpret works of art and/or architecture featured in the module, considering their production and circulation
2. Engage in independent research by sourcing for and using primary and secondary texts
3. Participate thoughtfully in class discussions and engage constructively with feedback
4. Write in a sophisticated and informed manner on the relationship between works of art and both primary and secondary sources, and to form an argument relating to various aspects of the topic

Module information

1. Landscape and colonialism
2. Mexican Revolution and Muralism
3. Geometric Abstraction and Modernity
4. Environmental Aesthetics
5. Conflict, Violence and the Body

Learning and teaching methods

There will be a two-hour combined lecture and seminar each week. The lectures will be available on Listen Again. Week 11 is Reading Week.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay 1 - 1500 words   28/11/2022  50% 
Coursework   Essay 2 - 2000 words   19/01/2023  50% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Lisa Blackmore, email:
Dr. Lisa Blackmore



External examiner

Dr Dominic Paterson
University of Glasgow
Senior Lecturer in History of Art / Curator of Contemporary Art
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
Art History and Theory

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