María María Acha-Kutscher is a feminist visual artist. There is no separating the two terms.
“I am a feminist visual artist because I am part of a broad movement. It means that my work has a political dimension,” said the Peruvian artist. “It contributes, documents and responds to social needs, especially for women, to the feminist movement.”
Acha-Kutscher turns photographs into digital drawings that she prints onto large format tarps for exhibitions in public spaces. The Peruvian artist is influenced by pop culture and political posters from the 1970s. Acha-Kutscher has been particularly influenced by the art of Emory Douglas, the Black Panther Party’s minister of culture from 1967 until the party disbanded in the 1980s. For her, his art epitomizes the power of art as a tool for political agitation, which explains why she makes art – “to contribute to political social transformations."
“I am a witness of my time, from the point of view of women. By transforming photographs into drawings, I immortalize these political actions of women to show that social changes throughout history were made by women and men together,” said Acha-Kutscher.
History, specifically through a feminist lens, is the foundation of her work.
"The oldest marginalized group is womankind,” she said. “All the problems women have today is not just because of capitalism, but because of patriarchy. Capitalism is a result of this system."
Her art seeks to smash patriarchy’s control of history.
"Historically, it's important to show that political actions and social changes were always made by women and men together. Women were always there but weren't always visible,” said Acha-Kutscher.
As a Peruvian who lived in Mexico for several years, as well as Spain, her heritage informs her art.
"As a Latin American woman it's important for me make visible the work of these activists (from this region) because women from Latin America and their struggles are not as visible as others from other parts of the world, or the 'First World,'" she said.
"I believe in art as a powerful tool," said Acha-Kutscher. It is a tool that she uses as a witness to share the stories of women making history.
This International Women's Day she recognizes that while there have been gains that women have made in emancipating themselves and society from the oppressiion of capitalism and patriarchy, there si still work to do.
“We are relegated to say everything we want, but just this one day. On the other hand women fight everyday,” Acha-Kutscher. “When IWD disappears is the day when women and men are equal.”
She has faith this day will come. That's why she makes art.