Between March 2019 and June 2020 the Museo Nacional de Arte (MNA) in La Paz found itself in a process of renewing its basic institutional guidelines. This process was based on three fundamental actions: "decolonise, democratise, deeliticise".
But what does it mean to decolonise a museum? Does it mean burning the museum, destroying its colonial architecture, destroying its colonial works?
The experience in the Plurinational State of Bolivia is specific. A desire to decolonise the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, for example, would imply starting from completely different premises than those that would be used to decolonise the Museo Nacional de Arte of La Paz. The process of decolonisation cannot make the same mistake as colonisation, which is to overthrow local habits and structures in order to impose a universal principle disregarding given preconditions. However, there are certain epistemological approaches and certain ethical and political principles that we can propose as indispensable principles, in an effort to intervene in the coloniality of the museum, an institution entirely based on 19th-century Eurocentric logic.
This conversation will also be live-streamed via this link.
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