CATALOGUES AND CENSUS
The Argentinian Afrodescendant population, which is a product of transatlantic human trade, has played an important role in the national development.
Slave ships brought millions of African citizens who were treated as goods.
Argentina aimed to develop a civilizing country project: a population whitening process with the purpose of improving the “Argentinian race.” Every reference to blackness will be gradually erased from books and census.
Before that, and specifically after the “80’s generation,” the Argentinian republican conservatism tried by all means to create a country whose inhabitants were mostly white with European origin.
Between mid 19th Century and beginning of 20th Century, there were almost twenty newspapers from the Afrodescendant community. Nowadays, only ‘AFROARGENTINO’ remains.
The first newspapers were ‘Raza africana’ and ‘El Proletario,’ both published in 1858. This last one had 8 printed issues. By 1854 ‘La Igualdad’ was edited, and later, in 1873, appeared again. During the 1850s and 1870s, a number of newspapers were founded: ‘El Porvenir,’ ‘El Unionista,’ ‘La Broma,’ ‘El Aspirante,’ ‘La Juventud,’ ‘La Perla,’ ‘El Candombero’ and ‘La Aurora del Plata’ are some of them.
The systematic invisibility and whitening process towards the black community during the 200 years of Argentinian history are based on the opposition of two concepts: civilization and barbarism. According to D. F. Sarmiento, barbarism is related to a primitive universe (negroes, native peoples, gauchos and colonies) which -he believes, should be surpassed by the progress implied in European ideas.
Whitening processes began with the promotion of the historic negation, the statistic invisibility and the white European migration.
DIAFAR (African Diaspora of Argentina, by its acronym in Spanish) is a group of people organized as a non-profit association and composed of the African Diaspora and citizens committed to improve the understanding of the African legacy and presence in the Argentinian context. Afrodescendants and Afroargentinians are activists who belong to the association, and work for it, for over 10 generations. They are direct descendant from slaves who arrived in Buenos Aires port since the colony period.
This project does not aim to visualize the Afroargentinian movement by exposing the otherness as exotic. On the contrary, it tries to ponder upon the white interpretation of blackness by wondering at the privilege of the white look which proposes it. It begins with the historic revisionism of national construction and shows the systematic processes of Afrodescendants assimilation throughout history. Structural racism and de-construction of the un-existence of blackness in the Argentinian context are some basic ideas thought from a context of class, race and gender privilege.
This project is developed in collaboration with DIAFAR.
Concept, images and texts by Nicolas Janowski.