Bending History: What We Have to Offer

Nueva Constitucion (New Constitution) by Caiozzama
Placed in the Plaza de la Dignidad, Santiago, Chile, 24 October 2019. Photo by Caiozzama.


The Editorial in Kolaj 31

The front cover of Kolaj 31 is a collage from Gavin Benjamin’s “Heads of State” series. Benjamin collages his heroes, friends, and loved ones as a means of honoring and celebrating them. On the cover, rapper, activist, and entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle wears the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire. The dominos on Hussle’s face speak to a deep love of the game in Benjamin’s family. The collage puts the artist’s history in conversation with popular culture. The crown, a symbol of power and royalty is used here as an expression of respect and admiration. Benjamin replaces the front plate of Jesus with two angels with a photograph of his stepfather and sister, a stitch between the artist’s history and Hussle’s legacy.

The back cover is a photograph of street art by Caiozzama. It was taken by the artist on 24 October 2019 at the Plaza de la Dignidad in Santiago, Chile as the streets of the city erupted with protest over inequality. Caiozzama installed his street art collage Nueva Constitucion (New Constitution) and photographed the work during the largest social uprising since the end of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship. The civil unrest started seventeen days earlier and government response was becoming increasingly violent each day. Caiozzama photographs a lone riot police officer running past his collage as the angel, draped in a banner calling for a new constitution, looks on.

“Both of these art works, and the artists who made them, reach across time and bend history to the present moment,” writes Ric Kasini Kadour in the issue’s editorial. “Collage artists, I believe, have unique skills that are particularly useful in our historical moment. We understand that something beautiful, something meaningful can come from chaos. We understand that destruction is easier than creation, which takes patience, precision, thoughtfulness, and intuition. We know how to bring things together. We know how to work towards harmony. Gavin Benjamin and Caiozzama, each in their own way, bend history with their artwork. How can we bend history with ours?”

This editorial appears in Kolaj #31. To read the full editorial, SUBSCRIBE to Kolaj Magazine or Get a Copy of the Issue.