The Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research display case on the second floor of the Doe Library now features an exhibit on 2014 prize winner Yessica Porras’s Church of St. John the Baptist at Sutatausa: Indoctrination and Resistance.
The exhibit was curated by Jeffery Loo and designed by Aisha Hamilton.
Church of St. John the Baptist at Sutatausa: Indoctrination and Resistance is an analysis of a mural program discovered in 1994 under layers of plaster in the church of St. John the Baptist in the town of Sutatausa, Colombia. The images juxtapose indoctrinating images with indigenous imagery. The paper argues that besides having a religious message, the murals found in the church have direct visual connections with pre-conquest Muisca petroglyphs located near Sutatausa. Among the indigenous depictions we encounter a prominent indigenous female figure known as the Cacica; she has a textile design similar to the designs found in petroglyphs in the area.
Through this research we can determine that the image of the Cacica served the indigenous leaders as an alternative body that was able to openly display Muisca elements without retribution. The indigenous imagery served as a way to adapt and resist to the Spanish colonial power. It also allowed us to establish the presence of the Muisca population and the existence of the church in the 1600’s. The recovery of the murals brought out evidence of the parallel lives of colonials and indigenous in the area of Sutatausa.
The full paper is available on eScholarship: