One Cara Grande for each museum in the world:
The role of Borys Malkin in the formation of Lowland South-American indigenous collections (1960-1970)
Borys Malkin (1917-2009) is arguably one of the most important yet least known twentieth-century collector of Indigenous material culture from South America, with especially numerous collecting expeditions to the Amazon region. In fact, his contact with museums worldwide and the systematic way in which he collected and sold his materials can be characterized as a form of wholesale collecting that rested upon the creation of chains of supply and demand typical of a market economy. In this article, we explore the ways in which Malkin engaged with Indigenous peoples, intermediaries, and museums in South America, North America and in Europe in order to create this network of ‘producers’ or ‘suppliers’, on the one hand, and potential buyers on the other. We do so by presenting information about the scope and breadth of his Indigenous collections, and then investigating his modus operandi. We conclude that the successful spreading of his collections in various museums and the constant presence in exhibitions of objects from collections formed by Malkin shaped, in a significant way, the face of Lowland South America in ethnographic museums of the Global North.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Mariana Francozo, Caroline Fernandes Caromano
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