Slipped in a red-orange glaze, this is a fragment of a larger work, perhaps a vessel, which over time has been lost or destroyed. Even from this fragment, many elements associated with the Chorrera style are visible. These include the elaborate coiffure or helmet that makes an appearance in Chorrera material culture. The figure also appears to be holding a long object that may represent a weapon, musical instrument, or ritual object. Though at first glance many believe this work represents a male figure likely associated with regeneration and fertility, further analysis indicates that the work may in fact represent an asexual or female figure, as Chorrera artists represented sex and gender in a less binary fashion than many other cultures.
Chorrera material culture has been recovered across the entire coastal lowlands extending into the altiplano, or highlands, leading many scholars to conclude that the Chorrera probably represent the first cultural horizon in Ecuadorian prehistory. This means that the Chorrera were present across the diverse terrain of Ecuador from the Pacific Ocean to the Amazon basin.
Dr. Alvin Friedman-Kien Collection;
Gift to The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection, 1999-2010;
Gift to The Vilcek Foundation, 2010;
Meleko Mokgosi receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts for paintings that rely on intensive research, reflection, and conversation in order to address widespread misrepresentation of Africa and Africans, and to accurately portray the continent’s complex social and political realities.