The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

How to Read El Pato Pascual

Latin American Artists Combat Disney Appropriation through Provocative Art

The+Fairest
The Fairest

The Fairest

Angela Wilmot/The Luckman Gallery

Angela Wilmot/The Luckman Gallery

The Fairest

Anthony Karambelas, Staff Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Since 1923, The Walt Disney Company has captivated and captured the imaginations of children and adults worldwide. Its whimsical fairytales and goofy characters have never failed to elicit ‘oohs,’ ‘aahs’ and giggles from its vast audience. For many Latin Americans, however, Disney has and continues to provoke a less upbeat reaction.

Beginning with the release of the movie Don Donald in 1937, the Latino community has viewed Disney’s entertainment enterprise as an increasing threat to their cultural stability. The movie depicted Donald Duck in a traditionally hispanic background, the first of many attempts to portray characters in Latin American environments.

Again in 1941, Walt Disney along with a group of 18 artists, musicians and screenwriters traveled to South America for inspiration for the film The Three Caballeros. This was done under the U.S. government’s “Good Neighbor” policy during World War II.

In an effort to resist Disney’s domination, Latino artists have taken it upon themselves to create relevant visual art of their own.

On Sept. 10, the Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State LA opened  “How to Read El Pato Pascual”, an exhibit featuring the vivid emotional response of Latin Americans toward Disney. Curators Ruben Ortiz-Torres and Jesse Lerner, along with assistant curator Fabian Cerejido were responsible for selecting pieces and designing the exhibition’s layout.

The movement against Disney’s appropriation began in 1971 through a text by Chilean scholars Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart entitled “Para leer al Pato Donald.” They argued that Disney comic books were a form of cultural imperialism.

“The curators have used their arguments as a starting point to show that Disney cannot be seen as something simply exported to the rest of the Americas, and passively received,” read the press release for this show.

The exhibit contains original folk art, depicting classic Disney characters through a Latin American folk context. Some of the pieces use characters like Mickey and Sleeping Beauty as haunting reminders of Disney’s cultural imperialism. Others capture feelings of injustice and wrongdoing, highlighting the destructive nature of Disney’s misrepresentation.

Entering the gallery, the first piece viewers will see is a painting of a giant Mickey hand preparing to flick a small Latina girl. The painting, entitled “When Paradise Arrived” by Enrique Chagoya, shows just how the Latino community continues to perceive Disney’s takeover. On Mickey’s finger is written, “English Only.”

Part of the gallery includes a map showing all areas of Latin America where Disney has cited improperly.

But the exhibit doesn’t just protest Disney’s use of Latin American culture. A few watercolor paintings, produced by Sergio Allevato, reveal the incorporation of indigenous plants in Disney movies, like the Oncidium longipes from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The exhibit is part of a joint venture between the Luckman Fine Arts Center and the the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. Another exhibit complementary to the one at Cal State LA is currently being displayed at the Schindler House in West Hollywood. Both exhibits are part of a larger campaign known as Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, led by the Getty, which relies on the collaboration of numerous institutions to promote Latin American and Latino Art.

Luckman’s exhibit opens through Jan. 14, 2018.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • How to Read El Pato Pascual

    Arts

    BODYTRAFFIC

  • How to Read El Pato Pascual

    Arts

    Bidding farewell

  • How to Read El Pato Pascual

    Arts

    Clams and jams

  • How to Read El Pato Pascual

    Arts

    Behind the Scenes with Jaime Camil

  • How to Read El Pato Pascual

    Arts

    Breaking into the Scene

  • How to Read El Pato Pascual

    Arts

    An Artistic Reunion

  • How to Read El Pato Pascual

    Arts

    Be afraid, be very afraid!

  • How to Read El Pato Pascual

    Arts

    Your Guide to the Best Shows Coming this Fall

  • How to Read El Pato Pascual

    Arts

    An Evening With Jaime Camil

  • How to Read El Pato Pascual

    Arts

    In Like Outfest 2017

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles
How to Read El Pato Pascual