_Tupac Amaru II
_US$ 100.00 ~
José Gabriel Condorcanqui, known as Tupac Amaru II, was born in Cuzco, Peru in 1742. Tupac was the leader of the first major indigenous uprising in south America. Although unsuccessful, Amaru's legacy served as inspiration to many who fought the Spanish Empire in the American colonies, indigenous activist movements and other political groups. As a matter of fact it still does, even to this day.
A mestizo, raised under Jesuit education, José Gabriel maintained strong bonds with his indigenous background. Between having the status of educated and influent presence in the Spanish colonized Peru and having an indigenous activist life, Tupac Amaru II had access to the backstage of the political landscape, specially because of his titles of Marquis of Oropesa, conceded to him by the Spanish authorities in Peru themselves and for his inherited indian caciqueship.
Influenced by what he had learnt about the age of enlightenment and liberal principles, Condorcanqui started making moves towards improving conditions for his people, ruled by the Spanish. After taking many issues to the political sphere only to fall on deaf ears, José decided to change his strategy. Condorcanqui's political moves became increasingly aggressive and sparked friction with governor Antonio Arriaga, who threatened him with death. Proclaiming to be directly related to the last Inca ruler, Felipe Tupac Amaru, José adopted the name Tupac Amaru II and decided to take militarized action. On November 4th, 1780, started the biggest anti-colonial rebellion in the XVIII century.
The rebellion began when Tupac and a group of allies captured governor Arriaga and forced him to write letters to several Spaniards, this act destabilized Spanish influence in the region while Tupac gathered man power from several indigenous communities from all over Peru. His army grew by the thousands, reaching the impressive figure of over 6,000 men. On their way to Cuzco, the rebels occupied many provinces, looting Spaniard houses and killing their Spanish oppressors.
As Tupac's men proved to be vicious and out of control through displays of extreme brutality culminating in the battle of Sangarara, where they slaughtered the Spaniards without any direct order. Sangarara was a big victory for Tupac's forces, but came with a price, the notion that the leader did not have total control over his group and complete alienation from the Creole class, who were Peruvian but still bore family ties with the Spanish.
A series of defeats preceded Tupac's ultimate fall shortly after his attempt to take Cuzco. In 1781, he was captured and sentenced to death after witnessing the execution of his family, quartered and beheaded at Cuzco's main plaza. During his brief captivity, it is told that Amaru managed to write his last few libertarian words using his own blood on a piece of cloth.
Amaru II is one of six important revolutionary figures that team-up in the first set of the '!Y Que Venga La Revolución! Collectibles Series'. His memory is preserved and remembered in a limited, numbered and signed batch of silkscreen prints.
Manually printed, the artwork shown here is limited to a fifty copies total run, carefully laid layer after layer in a total of 4 different colors. In the use of the silkscreen technique, it is possible to achieve solid and uniform colors, unmatched by any other printing process. That characteristic is clearly noticed in the pieces, and is attained after a series of steps that comprehend art preparation, photolithography engraving, silkscreen photosensitive emulsion transfer, paint preparation, layer registration and the printing itself.
In this series, the original pencil drawings where given a manual vector final artwork treatment, providing extreme control over the quality and thickness of each stroke drawn, for the best read and reproduction using silkscreening. The digital files where then engraved through photographic and chemical processes onto photolithographies, that are basically high resolution + contrast transparencies on which the designs were imprinted in pitch black. This last step allows large size high precision transfers to the silkscreens, with great control over layer registration and so on.
The silkscreens are covered with photo sensitive emulsion, a pasty substance that solidifies after being exposed to light for a period of time. The black artwork on the photolithography blocks the light generated in a vacuum sealed lightbox, that holds the artwork tight against the screen for precise transfer. After a few minutes the screen transfer is done and the silk can be hosed with water as the parts not exposed to the light are easily washed off. The whole idea is that the paint flows through the silk pores and is blocked in the emulsion covered areas, hence replicating the artwork found on the photolithography.
Now an important step in producing high quality final prints is taking care of the color/layer registration, that means matching and fitting the shapes in different colors properly in the final composition. As there is some expansion/contraction of the artwork in between transfer steps, at this point we need to print a registration reference using the main outline artwork. The fill in colors bleed 0.2mm into the strokes, that are placed on top as the last layer applied on the print, in a technique known as 'trapping'.
The paint was mixed and prepared manually as well, customized according to color studies made on the computer. With our paint mixed we finally can pull it through the silkscreen, using a squeegee, dragging it firmly and steady from top to bottom on each pass.