2019 – 2020
Art of the Spanish Americas

Catalina Ospina, Marilynn Thoma Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Catalina Ospina, a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago, will also receive a $45,000 stipend for her 2019–20 Marilynn Thoma pre-doctoral fellowship to support her study of the native Andean image-making practice of mopa-mopaMopa-mopa, or more commonly barniz de Pasto, is a unique laquer-like resin that comes from the leave buds of the Mopa-mopa tree. Native Andeans boiled and chewed the resin to clean it and mix-in pigments. The resin substance was then stretched by hand into thin sheets, which were cut and pasted to form complex compositions for inlay in wooden objects. Ospina will be the first scholar to analyze the process of making mopa images, relating it to better-know oral traditions of the Andes, such as chewing corn to make chicha or corn beer, or chewing coca leaves to relieve hunger and stimulate mental activity. It is a great asset to have my work validated by the only award that is solely devoted to Spanish colonial art,” Ospina states. 

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