C&AL: What have been your primary interests since deciding to create art?
Carmenza Banguera: People see me as a kind of black, feminist activist, although I don’t identify with this characterization. So I started asking myself where this perception came from, especially in relation to how I present my work. In my work, I don’t talk about representing the Afro as such in an ethnic way; rather, my work tries to raise some of my concerns about what it means to be Afro, about what others think it means, and about the things I do not agree with. Obviously, being critical of this is quite exhausting since the subject is very delicate. I have always had an opinion on this which is that I am simply an artist who, due to biographical facts, has these interests. And so the questions about identity, racism, etc., are not gratuitous topics; this is my reality, I am a black woman and my questions arise from this, from my lived experience as such.
C&AL: I love this idea of lived experiences, because I think we should try to think about representations less from an academic approach and more from the question of how we see ourselves and how we are seen by others…
CB: Culturally, in Cali, my hometown, many are proud of its Afro population, but only as a necessary or useful resource. For example, any promotional video of the city will include women selling chontaduro or mango biche in the streets, but there are no laws to protect the welfare of these people! Those images should not be a free commodity; these are working women, often single providers, heads of households, many of whom often do not have access to the health care system, do you know what I mean? If you are enriching yourself in one way or another with those images, you should also concern yourself with other aspects of their lives. If this is important to you, take care of it!